5 disruptive technology trends for 2017

Lawrence Jones

Friday 3 February 2017

Now that the sun has set on 2016, we can reflect on a year that, for anyone involved in IT, has been hugely eventful. Security hacks, incredible new technology, the rise of virtual reality (VR) and the increasing adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are changing the way we think about IT.

The rapid progress that took place in the tech industry over the past few years is unlikely to slow down in 2017 – if anything it’s likely to pick up pace.

Interestingly, in a worldwide economy that’s still facing some serious existential threats, what’s driving the industry is innovation that’s tied to efficiency and productivity.

Here are five disruptive tech trends that could define 2017.

1. IT security becomes more sophisticated

It’s been a year of (big) data breaches, as Tesla, WADAYahoo and others struggled to contain the PR fall-out of high-profile hacks.

In 2017 we’re likely to see more sophisticated and coordinated attacks, particularly as the online ‘cold war’ continues. “CEO fraud, phishing and ransomware will continue to pose the biggest threat to the bottom line,” says Lee Munson, security researcher for Comparitech.com.

According to Munson, the reason is: “simply because they are so prevalent and effective”.

At the infrastructure level, Lenovo’s range of System x servers come ready-fitted with the Trusted Program Module (TPM). This innovative bit of tech, installed directly on the server’s motherboard, makes sure that every piece of code is checked to ensure it’s running on the right machine. Combined with up-to-date antivirus software and staff training, this can play a key role for business.

2. The year of the big data specialist

2016 was arguably when big data started to deliver on its promises – a situation unchanged for 2017. Companies of all sizes will increasingly look to their data to generate insights and opportunities.

“The challenge with data is that we have a lot of it, but we do not have nearly enough of an idea of how to apply it,” explains tech professional and neuroscientist Christine Buske, who runs web magazine Bench2Business.com.

Taking a systematic and logical approach to big data is essential, and we are likely to see the emergence of a new range of data scientists and experts to help businesses commercialise these insights.

3. Productivity programmes first

This year will see employers continue to explore and invest in new ways of increasing productivity, including an increased investment in the cloud.

As more and more businesses move to the cloud, IT asset management (ITAM) is increasingly becoming a C-level concern. “It’s now a hot topic in the boardroom,” says Libby Phillipps at ITAM firm License Dashboard.

Across the industry, software vendors are offering increasingly attractive incentives and packages for businesses to shift to the cloud, which means more businesses will take the plunge – but there’s a lot to consider.

“Evidence indicates that these more fluid working conditions improve productivity, and so demand for these services is only likely to increase,” Phillipps says, but it raises some questions for the industry.

“Will the SAM specialist shortage in 2016 grow into 2017, and will we see more managed services than on-premise solutions as a result?”

4. Hybrid tablets will accelerate the move to mobile

While capable of running productivity software suites quickly and efficiently for all but the most demanding office applications, many people find working on a tablet cumbersome, inefficient and frustrating.

The new dual screen Lenovo Yoga turns the market on its head, providing all the benefits of a laptop and a tablet in one beautifully designed, small package.

The next-generation of hybrid tablets are blurring the boundaries between laptop and tablet, and could transform the way we work in 2017 – saving time and money for businesses.

5. CIOs lead the boardroom

IT spending across the world is estimated to increase in 2017, cementing the chief information officer (CIO) as one of the most important members of the boardroom.

In addition, the growth and transformation of processes and procedures enabled by the cloud, the increasing importance of security and the power of big data are all ramping up the significance of this position.