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Key Technology Trends of 2018 and the Hybrid IT Foundation
Brian Klingbeil, EVP, Technology and Strategy
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A new year is upon us. Yet, most CIOs face the same familiar problems, but with increased severity – namely, driving innovation initiatives while also maintaining high-performing infrastructure, both within increasing budget and time constraints.

This year, CIOs will face increasing pressure to keep up with the latest technology trends. Finding the time and money to adopt new and unproven technologies is difficult in a hyper-competitive world where existing budgets and resources are constantly challenged to become more efficient. Stretching budgets is only one challenge—you have to find talent adept in new technologies, as well as buy-in from committed executives.

We took a look at Gartner’s recently released Smarter with Gartner article, Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018¹ (October 2017) and the June 2017 article The Gartner IT Security Approach for the Digital Age² through the viewpoint of a CIO, identifying roadblocks and possible solutions through hybrid IT. Here’s what we found:

 

AI and Intelligence will be everywhere

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, intelligent apps, intelligent things—the #1 trend in 2018, according to Gartner article, will be “AI Foundation; The ability to use AI to enhance decision making, reinvent business models and ecosystems, and remake the customer experience will drive the payoff for digital initiatives through 2025.”¹ By taking enormous amounts of data and analyzing them, these smart services can recognize problems before they arise, and enabled efficiency and customer satisfaction in a multitude of industries.

But where do these “enormous amounts of data” live? Where do the programs using this data run, especially considering the incredible processing power required?

These are questions that will certainly keep many a CIO up at night in 2018. There’s a solution: the cloud, and for most organizations, the hybrid cloud. 

Major cloud providers have already anticipated the increased demand AI and intelligent things will bring for cloud space. According to Cisco, the amount of storage capacity on the cloud will double this year, to 1.1 zettabytes.

 

Cybersecurity

So, you’ve found room in the cloud for all the data your intelligent apps collect. Now, how are you going to keep all this data safe?

Last year saw several massive, high-profile data breaches, and this year promises to be no different. Organizations of all sizes will need to secure their proprietary data and that of their users.

Gartner states “in 2014, Gartner introduced Adaptive Security Architecture, but organizations now need to evolve past that.”² Now, security experts must apply a new approach: CARTA–continuous adaptive risk and trust assessment.  Gartner suggests, “integrating security into your DevOps efforts to deliver a continuous “DevSecOps” process and exploring deception technologies (e.g., adaptive honeypots) to catch bad guys that have penetrated your network are two of the new techniques that should be explored to make CARTA a reality.”²

Guess what will also help improve cybersecurity in 2018? Machine learning and greater intelligence to help spot unusual user behavior that is indicative of breaches.

 

Edge computing, blockchain, and other trends

According to the Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018, Cloud to the Edge and Blockchain are predicted trends in 2018. The latter, in particular, has already received a great deal of attention in the new year, and CEOs may have already given the directive to explore and implement it—without really understanding what the blockchain is.

With the blockchain, edge computing, or other buzzworthy trends, it’s important to define what it is, where it fits in your organization, and if you truly have the capabilities to implement it effectively and efficiently. If you’re not able to satisfactorily answer those questions yourself, a trusted technology partner can help you do so.

Once the business case for blockchain or edge computing are confirmed for the business, it is important for the IT organization to have a solid infrastructure that is both nimble to accommodate rapidly changing innovation and efficient to manage. A thoughtfully-built hybrid IT infrastructure can minimize many of the risks that such new trends present.

 

Cloud optimization

One trend I know that will be big in 2018 is cloud optimization – however, this trend is pervasive and is likely a silent priority behind most major initiatives. Many organizations have already made the move to the cloud. Now, they need to optimize existing IT infrastructure for increased performance, lower cost, and to help manage the increased data all of the above trends will bring.

Legacy environments are often inefficient, but could be modernized. Even cloud infrastructure is subject to economic sprawl, so it’s important to find a partner that can accelerate the transformation of your environment while keeping risk low and optimizing for your needs.

 

Spend wisely

Many things change from year to year. However, what never changes is a CFO who likes an IT department that actively reduces costs and finds efficiencies—not just within their domain, but for the wider organization. These cost-savings can help self-fund initiatives that open new opportunities for integrating the latest technologies. Even better, they can help mitigate at least one or two headaches in the new year for CIOs whose resources are already stretched thin. 

This is really the year when all major trends point to a strong need for robust hybrid IT foundation. Successful CIOs will be focused on getting this foundation right, by partnering with a managed IT provider with broad capabilities ranging from legacy to managed cloud.

Let’s chat about what’s in store for your digital transformation.

Ready to explore?