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With 2016 fast approaching, IT decision makers are eyeing several business technology trends that will shape the New Year. While several macro tech trends will continue to be top of mind — mobility, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) — CenturyLink sees several other trends becoming increasingly important as the world adapts to rampant market demands, growing competition, and changing landscapes.
In all these areas, IT infrastructure will play a growing role in how businesses overcome challenges, and more infrastructure will be outsourced and externally managed.
In the coming year, we can expect a further evolution of the data centre, as businesses outsource more and more services, many of which will be hosted in public and private clouds. Hybrid IT ties all of these externally hosted services together. This will increasingly become the norm as companies mix and match their existing internal IT infrastructure with externally managed services to attain the agility needed to be competitive.
CenturyLink expects these six business trends to shape 2016:
- Hybrid IT — The increased outsourcing of IT infrastructure and services is set to dominate the business landscape in the coming year. As such, hybrid IT will rapidly emerge as the architecture of choice to combine these outsourced services with existing infrastructure.
With a hybrid IT provider, organisations can identify and establish the optimal mix of existing infrastructure and outsourced services with which to drive agility, modernise their IT environments and maintain competitiveness without overcommitting resources on capital expenditure.
- Next-generation data centres — External data centres are rapidly becoming one of the most important elements in a modern organisation's technology mix. The flexibility, scalability and resilience offered by externally operated data centres means they are becoming the go-to option for businesses wanting to quickly augment their IT capabilities.
As business needs mature, so will data centres. Expect to see greater use of modular data centres, which effectively couple hyperscale and hyperlocal environments for ultimate flexibility, greater data centre network speeds, better energy efficiency and a greater number of automated procedures involved in the management of data centres.
- Further into the IoT — More and more analogue devices are being hooked up to the Internet, giving rise to the IoT. Everything from refrigerators to home thermostats and vehicles are now connected and producing actionable data. In 2016, this trend is expected to continue along the trajectory set by its already impressive growth.
One of the driving forces behind this trend is the amount of data being produced by connected devices. As the IoT market swells to an estimated 25 billion connected devices by 2020, according to industry research firm Gartner, the amount of data that organisations will have at their fingertips will be enormous. This will help businesses find out valuable details about their customers, their business operations and their market sectors.
- Outsourced big data — The data produced by the explosion of connected devices goes to waste without advanced data analytics. Data analytics is already a major part of business operations for many companies. While many organisations with a web presence, electronic customer communications channels or digital payment gateways are analysing their data to some degree, not all businesses are making as much of the data available to them as they could.
Digital disruptors are quick to seize on all the data they can to measure, evaluate and learn. However, because big data needs a lot of processing power, many organisations will make use of cloud-based, big-data-as-a-service offerings, so they can get the full value of their information, without the associated capital expenditure.
- Security in the cloud — There is an alarming rate of zero-day vulnerability discoveries happening, and cyber criminals are developing a dizzying array of new and complex attack methods, leaving traditional cyber-security solutions struggling to keep pace.
Rather than proactively updating their security software, many companies are increasingly implementing cloud-based security-as-a-service offerings. This is already broadly used in email services such as Gmail. However, security-as-a-service is now being taken on to protect all facets of organisations' IT infrastructure. Now, with so many IT services being outsourced, cloud-based security is likely to explode.
- More mobility — Most companies that to elevate employee productivity and engagement, they need to increase support for the use of mobile devices in the workplace.
Mobility is already a huge part of how many organisations do business. In 2016, mobility will become even more important to the overall business mix, with more business functions, services and processes being performed via mobile devices.