Forecast 2016: 5 disruptors to keep on your radar

Beth Stackpole


You've honed your list of hot technologies to focus on in 2016, but you also need to make longer-term plans and prepare for changes that are fast approaching by keeping an eye on developments just now taking shape.

What should be on your radar screen as we head into the new year? The 182 IT professionals who participated in the Computerworld Forecast 2016 survey singled out these five potentially disruptive technologies and trends: the rise of DevOps, virtualization 2.0, carbon-reducing technologies, the evolution of the IT-marketing alignment, and a sharpening of IT's focus on the customer experience.

Here's a look at what our survey revealed about each of those emerging areas.

1. DevOps

As IT retools to become more responsive to rapidly changing business requirements, approaches like DevOps are gaining solid footing as ways to support agile IT service delivery.

Considered more of a culture shift than a full-blown development methodology, DevOps emphasizes a greater level of collaboration earlier on in the process between the operations and development teams, aided by a set of automation tools. Enterprise IT, under continued pressure to accelerate systems delivery, is rapidly adopting the DevOps philosophy. In the Computerworld Forecast 2016 survey, 44% of respondents said they plan to embrace DevOps this year, up from 37% in 2015.

Research firm Gartner also sees an uptick in DevOps adoption as IT organizations look for ways to improve time to production, enhance business value and save money.

"Agility is the driver," says Gartner analyst Ronni Colville. "In the old days, if you pushed out a new function and it didn't work, you started over. In the DevOps style of agile development, new applications are developed in a fast-fail manner. They break, but they're never broken."

A sign that DevOps is maturing is the expansion of automation in areas like testing and monitoring. That said, a successful DevOps strategy has less to do with technology than it does with people, Colville says. "People and culture are always the challenge because people have to work together in ways they didn't before," she explains.

2. Virtualization 2.0

Recognizing that virtualization can reduce costs and wring more performance out of the desktop, IT is now eager to embrace next-generation virtualization technology, which provides similar benefits for other types of systems, not just desktop computing.

Computerworld Tech Forecast 2016: Budget Booms and Busts
Click on image to enlarge.

Tech professionals participating in Computerworld's Forecast 2016 survey said that they expect to see more money budgeted for virtualization projects over the next 12 months. Thirty-five percent of those polled said they were increasing spending on virtualization efforts, while a combined 64% said they were beta-testing or piloting some kind of virtualization -- be it desktop, server, storage, mobile or network.

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