Stepan Popov - Fotolia
IT provider Insight’s CIO Michael Guggemos shares his opinions on the trends most likely to make an effect on the channel in the coming year, including microservices, artificial intelligence (AI), and IT within the business.
With the skills shortage continuing, the race for IT talent continues, with those skilled in microservices set to be in higher demand. Trends such as AI reflect those seen in 2018, but with a shift in focus on how they can be used to a company’s advantage. Meanwhile, friction between IT and business is set to increase as many IT executives believe they are expected to innovate.
The rise of unbundled microservices: 2019 will see the beginning of the next big shift in enterprise computing, from conventional cloud computing to microservices.
Currently, most cloud services come in the form of purchasing access to bundled apps, such as Microsoft Office 365. But for many organisations, this involves paying for access to tools they don’t use.
The next logical step is to only pay for the individual services consumed. This makes things very easy and efficient for users, who can use the best tool for the job rather than being confined to a bundle.
But it does bring complexity for software providers and IT. The former need to pull apart their bundles into individual service layers without undermining the integrity of each tool. The latter will need to manage a wider volume and variety of providers.
The race for multi-skilled IT talent intensifies: The rise of unbundled microservices will put a premium on IT talent. The deployment of multiple microservices will make security and architecture into key issues. Critical data will move between multiple providers, with varied architectures, and disparate security agreements – moreover, it will add complexity to cost structures as unbundling creates the potential for overall costs to go up.
Demand for IT talent with technical skills, broad business expertise, and processes knowledge to manage portfolios of tools and applications will continue to increase, as will salaries.
AI fear subsides: 2018 was the year of peak AI hype and anxiety. In 2019, we will move into the next stage of the hype cycle – nascent yet broad enterprise adoption.
We’ll see an acceleration of real-world applications of AI and the technology will seep into the fabric of businesses and offices everywhere, changing business operations without most even noticing.
AI services are becoming available to organisations from providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft as reference architectures, which will emerge into (not as easy as it sounds) plug-and-play standard services.
As AI becomes part of everyday business life, widespread and much hyped fears of a job losses will subside as people realise that it mainly assists rather than replaces humans.
Organisations push employees to feed the AI machine: AI has huge potential to transform everyday business operations, from reducing a senior executives meeting schedules to optimising datasheets to reconfiguring traffic flows without human intervention.
But, as with all application technology, AI runs entirely off data and the quantity and quality of data determines its effectiveness. In 2019, we’ll see a renewed push across all business functions - not just IT and Marketing- to use as many digitalised and AI-driven services as possible and all will need to be fed additional data streams.
IT within the business
Innovation creates friction in business: Friction between IT and other business functions will build-up, as IT is stretched between innovation and maintenance.
Despite the fact that digital transformation has been an established priority for businesses for several years now, 2019 will see tension continue to build up between IT and other business functions.
More than half of IT decision makers believe they are now expected to maintain their traditional role of managing core systems as well as innovate. However, this will lead to even greater tension between IT and other functions as 80% of IT leaders say the are already lacking resources.
Some organisations will redefine IT as a profit centre: One of the sources of tension between IT and other business functions is a matter of definition.
Traditionally, IT has been viewed as a required cost centre for maintaining core business technology, yet this does not align with IT’s emerging role of driving innovation.
Research indicates that more than 1/5 of IT departments find themselves owning both roles without the resources required for success. As a result, 2019 will see organisations begin to redefine IT from a cost to a profit centre, having a positive impact on IT budget planning and resource allocation. This is a natural cycle which should accelerate over the coming years.