1. The year of the mobile cloud
Firstly, demand for mobile working and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) will continue to increase, so businesses must get faster at equipping new employees with the right mobile tools – whether this is hardware or applications. Research VMware conducted last year showed that only 12% of IT departments believe they have all the mobile management capabilities to support staff’s mobile needs. Concerns over trust, ownership and delivery capability have held some businesses back from taking advantage of the mobile cloud era and they must now get a grip of this sooner rather than later.
2. The consumerisation of enterprise apps
Consumer apps continue to reinvent our personal lives – providing us with a fast and intuitive user experiences that can leverage massive amounts of data in the cloud to produce valuable insights, such as adjusting times on Google maps to avoid traffic. IT departments have now begun to apply these technologies to business processes, and this year, we’re going to see increased investments to combine big data analytics meshed with existing enterprise data. From the operating room to the board room, new enterprise apps will combine big data analytics with mission critical application data such as CRM, ERP and healthcare data to provide new insights to any user device.
3. Security will lead the agenda this year
BYOD shows no signs of slowing down, so the security of end-user devices will still be top of the agenda next year. Users should be able to access all of their data and applications on any device of their choice, but IT should be able to manage this in a secure and seamless way. Deploying mobile cloud architecture is arguably the best approach – with data physically stored in the mobile cloud, users can have the same experience across different mobile devices, but data is automatically backed up – and access controlled – through a central location.
Data center security also surfaced as a huge issue this year; high profile security breaches have resulted in the firing of C-suite members – and not just the CIO. As we move further into 2015, new levels of security will need to be in place both for data and brand reputation.
4. Network virtualisation will be key
We have already had more than 250 customers purchase NSX for deployment and we see this expanding rapidly this year, mainly because there is more understanding around the benefits it can bring from both a management and security level. The micro-segmentation piece in particular is what we think will appeal to both IT and the board; realising that you can put a firewall per machine in the virtual data centre, plus easily managed policies around traffic flows on every single guest in the entire centre, will be massively appealing as data centre security continues to rises up the agenda.
5. Cloud will be hybrid and critical
Organisations need to be able to respond more quickly to be more competitive, especially as smaller, agile companies start to complete in their space. More businesses will therefore be deploying hybrid cloud so that they can switch between public and private environments swiftly and cost effectively to increase the speed – whilst reducing the cost – of developing new products and services.
Mission critical applications in the data center – email, file, customer and business data services that support users in getting business done – will also move more to the cloud. Because enterprises can maintain their business processes and security in the cloud, we will see increased opportunities to transition to the cloud for even the most important applications for end users.
6. Technology will increasingly move out of the hands of the IT department
As employees become increasingly technology savvy and IT continues to become embedded in every business process, technology decisions will increasingly be made outside of the IT department. We’ll see as many CMOs as CIOs buying cloud technology to support new business services and applications; the only way for IT to gain better visibility and control over this spending is to increase the speed at which it can provide IT.
7. IT will become increasingly software-defined
Firstly, software will become increasingly independent from hardware. Mission critical applications will no longer be hardware centric enabling businesses to access anything everywhere. Currently many businesses have to run Windows on end point devices whilst also making sure applications run on that operating system. In a virtual environment, organisations can still run a Windows desktop if absolutely necessary, but can also migrate applications to the cloud via a browser rather than on a local copy of Windows which is highly application dependant.
>See also: The race for complete digitisation
Secondly, the data centre itself will become software-defined. With data volumes growing exponentially, these problems are only getting worse with traditional data centers too rigid to cope with rapid change and complexity. The virtualisation principals used to transform the compute layer now needs to be extended to all data center domains and completely automated by software – or a software-defined data centre, the ideal foundation blocks for building those aforementioned hybrid clouds which will be in unquestionable demand. The benefits are dramatic improvements in agility, control and choice for CIOs and CEOs alike, with app provisioning, availability, security and compliance all managed by policy based automation.
8. The digital agenda will drive organisations’ strategy
Being able to make use of digital data – whether this is through social channels, CRM systems, suppliers, or your own internal systems, is going to be a vital part in the overall success of organisations this year and beyond. The emerging role of the chief digital officer is therefore becoming increasingly vital, as they will be able to provide insight on how this data is used to drive positive business outcomes.
Perhaps most importantly, they will provide a vital connection between IT and other key areas of the business such as marketing, HR and R&D; all of which greatly benefit from data insights, but may lack the knowledge or resource to manipulate this data at present.