IT decision makers need to 'mind the gap' this year

1. Generation Z is over, but the “Founders’’ Generation will save us

According to music channel MTV, Generation ‘Z’ has passed, and we are now living in the Founders’ generation, characterised as risk averse and hungry for success. The ‘Founders’ know that we need a new way of thinking to approach the modern world and technology is the key to tapping into new markets.

Uber, Airbnb and Metro Bank are all products of their generation. Their ‘plugged-in’ approach has left long-established companies struggling in their wake.

To the Founders, humans are inefficient by their very nature. Machines and automation can over-come their shortcomings. Public safety is at the heart of much of their thinking; a human train operator may pass a red signal one time in a thousand, perhaps less if we are lucky; a robot never will…

Machines can also be strengthened by the power of analytics. We can now predict the failure point for a plane engine before it has happened, for instance, meaning we can plan maintenance to prevent many problems ever happening. Expect more of the Founders in 2016. They will break new barriers by improving apps, building new innovations and adapting technology to save lives.

They will explore the power that hybrid cloud platforms can provide for them, knowing that harnessing the potential will allow them to build even more wonderful things next year.

2. In 2016, your shopping will arrive before you order it.

For those who hated algorithms at school, look away. How many of you said ‘we’re never going to use this stuff in the real world?’

Well, 2016 is going to be the year your math teacher proved you wrong. It will be the year of the algorithm. Companies with masses of Big Data will be entirely dependent on the quality of their algorithms.

As Gartner observed, next year ‘almost 90 per cent of companies believe that customer experience will be the primary basis for competition’. Providing superior customer experience will rely largely on whether you’re able to leverage data analytics and algorithms.

Smart retailers such as Amazon are already able to track buying habits based on the data patterns customers have created. Retailers can track and predict buying habits, to the point that they can send shoppers items before they even know they want them. Many others will follow suit this year.

Shops will start sending items to shoppers based on their predicted habits and only charge for the item if it is not returned to them. In time, shoppers won’t even have to log in to order an item – because it will already be on its way.

It sounds scary but it’s plausible. Companies need to control and understand Big Data and they can only do this by reaching for the computing power when they need it, using hybrid IT resources.

Now, who wishes they listened to Mr. Smith just a little harder when he was going through the fundamentals of algorithmic theory?

3. Tackling the ‘resource gap’ in 2016

In 2016, IT managers will face a whole new set of demands – they will be expected to lead business transformation. IT will step out of the shadows to lead the charge towards a more innovative, agile business and improve the way the company interacts with its customers.

But at the same time, IT managers are facing an increasing challenge: a ‘resource gap’. We don’t expect IT budgets to increase by more than two per cent this year, one of the lowest rises in the past few years.

How can IT managers do a lot more with the same resources they had in 2015? In many ways, businesses are already demanding far more than the IT department can deliver.

There is a massive increase in unstructured data coming from all sorts of devices – wearables, the Internet of Things (IoT), etc. How does an IT manager make sense of that and create value for the good of the business?

There is no longer a place for legacy infrastructures. Companies need to look to the cloud – and hybrid IT in particular – to make the savings they need to adapt to the new expectations.

In short: ‘mind the gap’ in 2016!

Jonathan Barrett, Vice President Sales, EMEA, CenturyLink

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Chones