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Tech Data’s Advanced Solutions: 2019 channel predictions

Miriam Murphy, Senior Vice President EMEA , Advanced & Specialist Solutions at Tech Data shares some thoughts about what next year will hold

Tech Data’s Advanced Solutions team has revealed its channel predictions for 2019 and beyond. In today’s digital age, technological advancement can be very subtle. It isn’t always about the development of a completely new technology, but instead comes from the gradual evolution of existing technologies and the way they are combined and applied to solve business challenges in new and innovative ways. For the channel, this creates new opportunities to stand out above the competition and deliver new forms of value to customers. For 2019, here are some of the highlights that Tech Data feel will be important:

Augmented analytics

Augmented analytics uses machine learning to automate data insight and enable data sharing. These automated insights, taken from augmented analytics, can be utilised in order to improve the day-to-day decision making and the actions of all employees, customers and suppliers. In 2019, businesses should expect augmented analytics capabilities to vastly improve as the technology becomes more mature and better understood. Augmented analytics is more effective when you have access to large data sets unrestricted by legal ownership or geographical boundaries. However, in reality, we choose to restrict data access for privacy or commercial reasons. If this technology is to reach its potential, we will need to see a rise in data platforms that can anonymise data for use in machine learning and big data applications. We may even see permission-based central platforms, where users decide exactly what applications can see what data, for what purpose and for when.

Empowered edge

For the past decade, cloud computing has been one of the most influential technological trends, but, as more businesses plan for large-scale IoT deployments, edge (or “fog”) computing threatens to improve and replace it.  Edge computing has been bolstered by the popularity of cloud computing in the first place and, although the two can be said to have a symbiotic relationship, edge computing will shift much of the critical processing away from cloud data centres and, instead, over to the devices connected to them.

As the number of IoT (Internet of Things) rollouts increases month-on-month, so too does the need to process data close to the endpoint instead of on a centralised cloud server. That, of course, is why the number of businesses implementing edge computing has soared in the last year. Consequently, in 2019, businesses can expect to see edge-focused infrastructure empowered further still, through the use of AI, greater storage and processing power, and, most significantly, a symbiotic relationship with cloud computing that will mean businesses no longer need to create an entirely new infrastructure to implement edge computing. When 5G comes along, we are going to see this trend exponentially ramp up. It will drive up the volume of data at the edge even further. The faster you can move greater volumes of data from point A to point B, the more processing power you’ll need at the edge in order to avoid latency issues.

Digital ethics and privacy

Digital innovation is having a profound effect on the way we live our lives. However, as a society, we have reached a point where to move forward we need an open and frank debate about how our data is used. On one hand, innovation is often data driven, meaning the more we want to innovate the more we need to be prepared to share our data. On the other hand, we’ve witnessed a strong and compelling need to protect our digital privacy.

With the introduction of GDPR in 2018, and data misuse scandals increasingly making headlines, consumers are more aware than ever about their privacy rights and the need to protect their digital identities. So too, therefore, are policy makers more acutely aware of the dangers of digital misuse and the opportunities available for those who use data effectively and safely.

After all, no one should have their data compromised and used without their explicit consent. And yet consumers need educating on where it is safe to give that consent and to understand the exact extent of how the data is going to be used. The technology industry needs to be actively involved in the conversations about the moral, political and social implications technology will have on our existence. We need to show how to balance data privacy with accelerating innovation around next-generation technologies. Perhaps we will even start exploring the idea of a deep personalised data platform where we choose what data goes into the platform and who can use it for what purposes.

Consumption-based models for IT

The ‘transformation culture’ sweeping the industry at the moment has proved to be more difficult than first anticipated, with concerns around skills and resources hampering the redefining of businesses.

The manner in which we consume our IT has changed profoundly in the past 12 months, with as-a-service models now commonplace across the industry and, as such, the manner in which we finance these deals must change too. Instead of paying back the credit on an IT asset whose value is in constant depreciation, models that allow for the lease or rent of an IT solution for a fixed price allow customers to take advantage of the latest technologies whilst paying less.

While consumption-based IT models certainly won’t be “new” by the time 2019 rolls around, more businesses will adopt the model (and much more quickly) than ever before. 2019 will see the channel switch to smarter ways of financing IT projects in order to help customers achieve their digital transformation goals.

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