As Thanksgiving approaches it's a good time for IT service providers to take a step back and appreciate all the opportunities that come their way. While there is no doubt that being an IT services providers requires its own special brand of courage in the face of all kinds of technical challenges that need to be regularly overcome, for better or, occasionally worse, IT as a whole continues to be the gift that keeps on giving.
With that in mind now is a good time for IT service providers to appreciate new and existing technology trends that will continue to create demand for their services well into the New Year and beyond. They include:
Mobile Computing: While just about everybody is now carrying two or more devices, most organizations are still waking up to the business potential of mobile computing. Initially, all the majority of businesses wanted to be able to do is access email remotely. But now savvier organizations have figured out that mobile applications represent a way to get closer to customers. In fact, at the root of most so-called digital business transformations is a set of new developed mobile applications.
Open Source Software: Regardless of how an IT service provider might feel about the true cost of open source software, more organizations than ever have adopted an “open source first” mantra when it comes to IT. The truth of that matter is, however, the free software costs a lot of money to deploy, manage, and integrate. For IT service providers that specialize in providing those capabilities, free software has come to represent a bonanza of new revenue streams and opportunities.
Hybrid Cloud Computing: Cloud computing itself has now been evolving for the better part of a decade. But as more workloads move into the cloud the next big opportunity for IT service providers is to not only connect all those application workloads in the cloud with software running on premise, but also perhaps more importantly with other applications running in the cloud.
Data Growth: For all the talk of so-called Big Data, not only is the volume of data that needs to be managed increasing, so too is the type of data that need to be managed and the rate at which it needs to processed. That has resulted in major information management opportunities spanning everything from Flash storage used in primary storage systems to cloud-based services to protect that data that show no sign of slackening in 2016.
IT Security: It truly is an ill wind that doesn’t blow some good somewhere. While digital crime is currently the scourge of IT, the sheer number of security breaches has forced IT organizations to finally confront an issue that has long been festering. No one likes having to invest more time and money in IT security. But at least more organizations have come to realize that IT security really is a cost of doing business in a digital age that can no longer be ignored.
Advanced Analytics: There’s no doubt that when it comes to Big Data and analytics there’s a lot of hype at play. But the fact remains that Big Data coupled with machine learning algorithms will soon transform the application experience. The number of organizations that actually have the resources needed to invest in Big Data analytics is, naturally, debatable. But what is for certain is just about every application will soon be infused with Big Data analytics capabilities, which should drive a massive upgrade cycle beginning next year the likes of which may never have been seen before.
The Internet of Things: Interest levels in the Internet of Things (IoT) is obviously massive. The actual ability of most organizations to actually implement an IoT application is fairly limited. For that reason most IoT applications are going to rely on external services rather than IT infrastructure that needs to be acquired, deployed, and managed by an internal IT organization. For that reason alone IoT may wind up being the biggest and best thing to happen to IT services providers in a very long time.
Software-Defined IT: Whether it’s just the network or the entire data center environment, technologies such a network function virtualization (NFV) software are about to transform how IT is managed across the enterprise. The best news of all, however, is that the more IT infrastructure essentially becoming code that can be programmed, the simpler it becomes to remotely manage it.
IT Automation: Given the general shortage of trained IT professionals the single biggest limiting factor when it comes to growing an IT services business these days is people. As such, IT services firms will need to tap into more sophisticated forms of IT automation to deliver services at scale. The good news is that IT automation frameworks are becoming more accessible with each passing day.
Put it all together and it’s clear that that there are a broad number of technology trends that should put more wind at the backs of IT service providers in the months and years ahead. Of course, there’s also a raft of emerging technologies spanning everything from Docker containers to new classes of non-volatile memory that have the potential to turn the IT world as we now know it upside down. While all these technologies will no doubt prove to be disruptive to varying degrees in the years ahead, IT service providers might want to take a minute this week to be grateful for the opportunity they provide.