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Five tech trends to watch in 2016

tech-trendsRapid growth in information volume and complexity is putting data centres under pressure, accentuated by customer behaviour changes driven by mobile and social trends, writes Arron Patterson…

This is forcing businesses to rethink how they store and manage information. At the same time, there’s a need to make better use of data to increase operational efficiency, improve customer experience and power innovation. Here are five trends relating to the data centre that you should be watching in 2016 and beyond:

Clouds are rolling in
Public cloud providers build environments differently to enterprise data centres so they can scale rapidly and provide self-service capability. Having experienced this agility and flexibility, a growing number of organisations want to replicate this inside their own data centre. This means using open source technologies and commodity infrastructure to build systems that automatically scale and provision.

Hyper-converged technologies are collapsing traditional networking, server and storage environments into a single resource pool that emulates the architecture of large, public cloud providers. This will become the default model.

The industry is consolidating
Researchers at IDC are predicting more than 30 percent of today’s technology suppliers will not exist in five years’ time. IDC bases its prediction on the rapid rate of digital innovation driven by cloud computing, mobile devices, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence. This is changing business operations and some vendors will merge. Others will become irrelevant and fail.

The supply chain is also collapsing in response to customer demand. Evaluating individual components to build a data centre creates enormous complexity that increases costs and hurts agility. Increasingly, enterprise technology buyers want to work with a smaller number of strategic suppliers.

New definitions of value
Vendor consolidation has major implications for internal IT departments and the resellers that service them. Installing a few servers, doing the backups, patching, updating and refreshing equipment every few years is a less viable business model. Customers are migrating into cloud environments, crippling traditional revenue streams. More resellers are focusing on becoming trusted advisors in specific vertical markets and recommending tailored solutions suites. Those selling infrastructure and shrink-wrapped boxes are struggling and will eventually go out of business.

There’s a similar shift within IT departments. There’s reduced need for highly specific skills sets in cloud-based delivery models. Instead, IT teams need to build service catalogues, focus on consumption models and manage service level agreements. They’re enabling technology consumption rather than managing devices and applications. Their greatest value lies in driving cultural change around how people consume services.

CIOs move into the boardroom
More of CIOs are attending board meetings and a small percentage are going to all of them. That wasn’t the case two or three years ago, but boards are realising how crucial digital expertise is to business success. This shift is a precursor to CIOs gaining a permanent seat at the boardroom table as the focus of IT moves away from cost reduction to improving customer experience and enabling innovation. For this momentum to continue, CIOs must start delivering new revenue streams instead of just implementing ideas put forward by the business.

Data analytics power this shift
Analytics has historically focused on reporting on the past but there’s much greater value in predicting the future. To enable this level of insight, organisations will pull their data into centralised pools available to anybody. Much greater levels of automation will be needed in this new world of data science where predictive analytics and machine learning become standard. We’ll increasingly go from insight to action without human involvement.


Arron Patterson is CTO of EMC NZ.