What are the major business IT trends forecast for 2016?

Joe Svetlik

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Looking into our crystal ball, and going on current trends, we predict what will be the hot topics in IT and business next year.

Business Mobility

Business mobility is already a hot topic in the IT world, but it’s about to become ever hotter. According to the VMWare 2015 Business Mobility Report, two thirds of IT leaders will prioritise business mobility in 2016. Indeed, mobility consistently ranks among the highest priorities of business and IT leaders. Though there’s still a long way to go. Most organisations only have basic productivity apps for individuals, like calendars and email. But fewer have team productivity solutions for employees to collaborate with. And, wary of the threat of Shadow IT, they don’t want them using generally available cloud services like Google Docs. Expect a big focus on team productivity solutions in 2016.

The Device Mesh

Analysts firm Gartner predicts this will be one of the top strategic technology trends of next year. It refers to an expanding set of endpoints people use to access applications and information or to interact with people, social communities, governments and businesses. This includes mobile devices, wearables and environmental devices like the sensors found in the Internet of Things (IoT). In a separate report, Gartner have predicted that there will be 6.4 billion ‘things’ connected to the IoT in 2016, which is a 30 per cent increase on 2015. Which leads us on to…

Information of Everything

All these endpoints means a huge amount of data swirling about – each endpoint produces, uses and transmits information, and not just text, video and audio but sensory and contextual info too. Information of Everything is like an indexing mechanism for the Internet of Things, bringing together strategies and technologies to link all this data from all these different sources. Information will no longer exist in isolation, but will be given meaning and context through advances in semantic tools like graph databases. All of which, if done right, should empower both employers and employees.

Advanced Machine Learning

Machine learning is also known as artificial intelligence, or AI for short. It’s what powers the Google Now, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana personal assistants, but it also has far-reaching consequences for IT and businesses. That’s because the algorithms are now becoming so advanced that they can do humans’ jobs better than humans can. Advanced Machine Learning involves deep neural networks (DNNs) going a stage further and autonomously learning to perceive the world on their own. Machines can learn for themselves, and while they won’t start taking anyone’s jobs next year, companies will be watching the technology to see how it evolves and how they can use it to their competitive advantage.

Adaptive Security Architecture

Sony, TalkTalk, T-Mobile, Scottrade… the list of companies that have been hacked recently gets longer and longer. So firms will surely want to focus on security in 2016. According to one report, Sony didn’t have “basic safeguards” in place, which led in 2014 to one of the biggest cyber attacks in corporate history. No other company will want to make the same mistake. As firms increasingly use cloud-based services and open APIs, it’s up to IT leaders to detect, block and respond to threats. Expect application self-protection, along with user and entity behaviour analytics, to play a big part in keeping companies safe.

Wearables

Wearable technology is surging in popularity at the moment, and that will only continue in 2016. As millenials and those from generation Z enter the workplace, wearables will become a bigger part of our working lives. According to one study, 71 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds want to use wearable tech. Indeed, the sector is expected to grow by 35 per cent over the next few years. Some employers already use wearables to track the health, activity and productivity of their employees. Expect this to become more widely accepted in 2016.

Hybrid IT

Increasingly, companies are outsourcing IT infrastructure and services as the need arises, while keeping some of their own existing internal processes. This mixing and matching as they see fit allows them to stay nimble and agile – and hence competitive – in the business environment  without overcommitting their resources.

Next-generation Data centres

The increasing need for bigger and better data centres goes hand in glove with the rise of hybrid IT. Externally operated data centres give companies greater flexibility, scalability and resilience, and let companies augment their IT capabilities like never before. Next year is forecasted to see a rise of modular data centres, meaning faster speeds and greater energy efficiency.

All in all, 2016 looks set to be a year where the major trends in IT continue to provide plenty of opportunity for dynamic change.

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