As we move into a new year, many IT professionals will be reviewing what’s working well, and what might be the next big thing in IT, in order to best plan and roll out the IT their organisation needs. There are a number of considerations when it comes to the key future trends for business IT, including the ever-changing world of technology trends, fast moving business needs and new budgetary requirements and options.
Technology never sits still for long, and particularly in this era of accelerated technology and business change, IT needs and provisions are evolving faster than ever. Based on our almost 40 years’ experience providing IT services to solutions and public sector organisations, these are our predictions for major IT trends in 2019 and beyond.
Ultimately, we will continue to see the need for efficiencies driving infrastructure. As a result, migration to the cloud will be a continuing trend in 2019 and beyond. Businesses must assess their own individual needs and adopt the best approach for them, and any growing capacity requirements. Azure and Amazon Web Services continue to lead the market in cloud migration and that’s unlikely to change in the near future.
The rise of artificial intelligence both across all facets of life will see AI become more widely accepted and expected in business. The ever-increasing amount of data means organisations will become more dependent on AI technology to manage, process and analyse data in order to gain real value from it. We are seeing AI help improve user experience, whether that’s through chatbot integration or service automation.
Cybersecurity remains a top priority. New research shows up to 94 per cent of customers could fall victim to a major data breech within the next two years, and as more business apps become cloud based, the risk will only increase unless security is taken seriously. With evolving technology and IT set up, businesses must constantly assess their security provision to ensure safety for the business and customers.
The rise of mobile working means mobile device management (MDM) continues to be a major focus. MDM includes the management of a combination of on-device applications and configurations, corporate policies and certificates, and backend infrastructure, for the purpose of simplifying and enhancing the IT management of end user devices. In modern corporate IT environments, the sheer number and diversity of managed devices (and user behaviour) has motivated MDM solutions that allow the management of devices and users in a consistent and scalable way.
The overall role of MDM is to increase device supportability, security, and corporate functionality while maintaining some user flexibility. MDM implementations may be either on-premises or cloud-based (e.g. Microsoft Intune/ VMWare Workspace 1) depending on the requirements of the individual business.
A major trend we are seeing in businesses is the emergence of departmentalised IT, where user departments are taking control and becoming responsible for their own IT services. This is having repercussions on the traditional notion of a centralised IT department in terms of spending, expertise and resourcing while allowing individual departments to cater to their individual needs.
While some departments are becoming more diverse in their IT provision, another major business trend is the rise of unified comms across the business. The demand for better communication from all areas of companies is fulling the adoption of the additional collaboration services such as O365 Teams to facilitate wider and more collaborative working.
Two major continuing trends across business are the need for speed, and effective networks. Connectivity is key and there will continue to be a need for smart and more secure networks in the future. The expectation for information to be quickly and easily available continues to grow, as does the need for optimum performance, so ensuring fast and reliable connection is still a critical consideration.
Cost management has been an ongoing issue for many years when it comes to IT budgeting, and we expect to see no change in this going forward. IT leaders are constantly looking for best value options commensurate with risk so will be considering where they can sweat their current assets compared to where they really need new (and often expensive) solutions. With hardware remaining so cheap it’s possible to make devices work harder for longer, which is not possible to do in the cloud, so we will continue to see spend focused on software rather than hardware.
We are continuing to see a rise in the importance of software over hardware across the board. With lower lifecycle cost, it’s no longer about what devices you have in place, but what systems you are running on them that makes or breaks IT strategy. AI is driving the trend for improving software, which is making accessing information quicker and easier.
When it comes to budgetary planning, we are seeing a rise in organisations looking for contracts with total cost included in a service level agreement. While the market for consumption-based model throughout the IT sector continues to grow, it seems likely that companies will want to be insulated from fluctuations in budget costs and will therefore ask suppliers to share the risk for consumption costs that were inaccurately calculated.
While some IT provision is being integrated into individual departments, we are seeing the role of IT managers evolving into Contracts Managers, with greater responsibility for decision making and supply chain. Service integration and management is becoming an increasing focus for IT departments as we move towards more contract IT services, and there is a move towards IT managers managing expense budgets rather than large capital budgets.
As technology, budgets and business continue to change at a rapid pace, IT provision must ensure it keeps up to speed. Whether this means moving from a traditional centralised IT function to decentralised departmental IT or changing focus to prioritise software over hardware, we are seeing a number of key trends emerging that can help plan and prepare for the future.
Paul Timms, MD, MCSA
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