Disclaimer: These are my predictions, not those of my employer. And yeah, I might be a bit late to the 2014 predictions, still wanted to share though.
During 2013, a lot changed on the playing field of IT. Software-Defined Everything started popping up everywhere, and Software-Defined Networking was all of a sudden in two camps with VMware and Cisco on each side. Seeing as they are great partners to each other I believe they will support each others strategy in the long run and continue to develop their own infrastructure (software/hardware) and partner flora. Choice and open competition usually means a better product for the end-user, and I think this is the case here as well.
So in 2014 we’ll see these strategies take more form than before, but I don’t think it’ll stop there. I also saw 2013 as the year-before-the-boom of automation. Everyone talks about it, many have products for it, and they’re now ready for the mass market. No longer needing to rely on old handwritten scripts to do new application deployments and maintenance on the one’s you already have, we’ll see a workforce in IT delivering an even better service to their organisation. With automation, we can lower the human error percentage (there will still be a percentage) and make things faster and more consistent. And go home at 5PM, spend time with our families and friends, maybe have a glass of your preferred beverage at the local pub. All in all a win-win for everyone, IMHO.
While this is happening, and IT departments are changing in the ways of Software-Defined infrastructure and automation, I see this as one of their first steps towards a long-term partnership with service providers. As IT departments are realising that their own infrastructure isn’t that far from an SPs, and technologies for connectivity have advanced beyond just a regular VPN, there can be massive savings to be had. Instead of maintaining their own infrastructure, cooling systems, reserve power, diesel generators, datacenter facilities etc, I think many IT departments will move portions of their current flora of applications out to an SP. And then spend the savings on educating their personell to be even more efficient and responsive to the real business needs. Once again, a win-win.
And while they’re at it, I hope they look into other alternatives for their applications as well, making sure that they don’t maintain a legacy app just because none knows of any other options. There are many great options for a lot of legacy software that can be easily used, both on-prem and online at Software-as-a-Service vendors. And those vendors are experts at that specific software, not needing you to be an expert in setting it up, configuring it, securing it etc, meaning parts of the internal IT department can become something else than SharePoint Workflow experts (for example) which will benefit both the IT organisation and the business. Win-win.
So yes, I am predicting general broad strokes in where the industry is headed. Technology-wise we all know there will be marvellous inventions and solutions, and I can’t wait to get my hands on them and try them out, but I am not the right person to predict those. Perhaps you are? Do you agree or disagree with my predictions? Please leave a comment.