As I look ahead at where market and technology is headed for 2017 and beyond, I am excited about several trends. The key theme across them is one of interconnection. These are not ten independent trends, but instead ten interwoven and increasingly sophisticated forces coming together with great momentum.
- Mobility Plus
- Cloud Plus
- Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers
- Uberization of IT
- IT-Driven Innovation and Superior Customer Experiences
- Shadow IT = Business IT
- Manufacturing Returns to the U.S.
- Open Source
1. Mobility Plus
It is time to go beyond MDM, calendaring, and basic enterprise apps. Now is the time for enterprise mobility to break through with creativity, context, and the use of AI (artificial intelligence). Think apps that treat employees like consumers, on campus, incorporating the latest in consumer technology for business use.
2. Cloud Plus
How many clouds does your team work on? 1, 2, 3? How about 8. Yes, that’s the average per a VMware study earlier this year from the Economist Intelligence Unit. The coming era is one of multiple clouds—that leads to a hybrid cloud environment. The magic bullet will be to manage, network, orchestrate, and secure across several public clouds and your own private cloud.
The Internet of Things wave will go from quaint and neat to gaining powerful capabilities via machine learning and AI. It will unfortunately also become a big headache for IT due to the rise in security incidents and breaches. The wise will build security into their IoT architecture from the start. (And please, let’s change our device passwords from “admin”). Nonetheless, IoT’s momentum is unstoppable and will only accelerate.
4. Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers
Blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions shared among a distributed network of computers with trust hard-coded into the platform. This technology is gaining traction because of the potential to transform key parts of our economy through new fraud-proof, crowd-sourced, and open trusted mechanisms. Financial institutions will break away from other industries as they welcome blockchains into their systems. This technology also holds potential to secure IoT systems in the future.
5. Uberization of IT
The gig economy will spread to IT, resulting in the “Uberization” of IT. This will take hold with an increasing number of IT professionals, even those with full-time employment handling project-based work, moonlighting on the side, like some police officers do these days.
6. IT-Driven Innovation and Superior Customer Experiences
In 2017, the “I” in IT will stand for Innovation in more ways than ever before. Across enterprises, IT is innovating in core areas and its impact on digital business re-design will accelerate. IT is often the first customer for these innovations, so they are best positioned to optimize the customer experience. To date, the progress was incremental, but I expect it will become much more significant from 2017 onward as the low-hanging fruit has been consumed. Time to up our game.
7. Shadow IT = Business IT
Related to # 6 above, the shame of “shadow” IT will give way not just to acceptance but to the encouragement of business-driven IT initiatives. Companies will do well to wholeheartedly embrace and incubate them. These initiatives and the people behind them are the stars of tomorrow.
8. Manufacturing Returns to the US
Technological innovation will continue to see the return of manufacturing to the United States. Factors such as the rising cost of manufacturing overseas coupled with a desire to produce goods near potential consumers are the drivers. This new wave of manufacturing will offer highly skilled jobs, which may not replace the jobs lost in earlier outsourcing cycles. They will be geared toward knowledge workers and will require critical thinking, math, and technical skills.
Reasons for the move will be low cost (yes!), access to knowledge and innovation, and the attractiveness of automation and government policy. Areas that are leading the way are electric car manufacturing—where there are already more than 30 companies producing in the United States in 2016—and IoT manufacturing, which will ramp up next year.
The career path in IT, from operators to CIO and beyond, will become more formally defined and established. IT practitioners who aspire to become future CIOs will have a clearer career growth path, including mentorship, certifications, and accomplishments. Furthermore, we will start to see more CIOs viewed as competitive candidates for CEO roles, especially in technology companies or those companies ready to be digitally transformed.
10. Open Source
The importance of Open Source will continue to rise as it becomes a significant component of mainstream enterprise business models. Combine this with the rising power of developers and the application economy, and you get an irreversible trend and unstoppable force. Open source is a driver of innovation and very much in tune with today’s enterprise needs for the latest features, interoperability, agility, and accelerated time to market. It is also aligned with societal trends around sharing and crowdsourcing. Its time has come. Already a key element of developer toolsets, operating systems, and databases, Open Source will continue its expansion to the cloud.
Read more from VMware executives on what’s to come for technology innovation in 2017 and beyond.