2015 Predictions: IT Strikes Back

I enjoy looking back on the prior year to see if anything happened remotely resembling our collective foresight at SmartDeploy. Some of the trends and events we predicted did occur: the PC market is stabilizing, SaaS is gaining popularity, and we did indeed see some E.U. policy reform relative to cloud services. Pretty much all good things. Cloud service adoption has grown, but we also saw growth in the number of large-scale, high-profile data breaches, and unfortunately this trend is bound to continue.

Originally posted on VMblog.com

A Louder, Stronger Security Story
On a more favorable note, and as a related initial prediction for 2015, we predict we will see greater and greater emphasis (and marketing noise) on cloud security and encryption. In the “post-Snowden” era in which we now live, we all have a heightened interest in maintaining a level of comfort with the security and visibility of our personal and business information. The U.S. federal government speaking out against encryption helps fuel public sensitivity. But if governments are concerned about encryption blocking their access, this should also give everyone some degree of comfort that properly implemented encryption can protect our information against evil doers. Expect cloud service providers to redouble security efforts and publicize them in 2015.

The Return of the PC
The PC never went away for anyone. Not even my mother-in-law, who is committed to doing everything on an iPad, got rid of her iMac. Microsoft was seduced by the popularity of tablets into creating an OS in Windows 8 that tried to do be both a PC and a tablet. But it would appear it is swinging back with Windows 10. The PC market is strengthening, and short of the tablet suffering the same fate as the netbook (and I would argue a tablet is a netbook without a keyboard, anyway), the tablet market will share a space beside the PC. The tablet is for entertainment, consumption, and quick on-the-go communication; but that favorite of all mobile devices-the laptop computer-for real work.

Rationalization of Tablet and Mobile
What we are seeing, not surprisingly-and due to sheer practicality and economics-is a sustained market for the 6″ and smaller mobile device designed around voice communication: the smart phone. The rationalization of trade-offs between tablets and phones is shown by the buying behavior of consumers. When always with you and getting nearly constant use, phones wear out. The battery life suffers to a point of impracticality. With each new device purchase the device capabilities improve in a continual stream of faster, better equipped, and more stylish devices. Furthermore, facilitated by service contract renewals, you have a very cheap way to get a very powerful $600 pocket computer for $100 every 2 years (common with U.S. carriers). What’s relevant about this arrangement is that it will help sustain the pace of hardware and software innovation. On the other end of the spectrum, we predict that OEMs will slow the release cadence for tablets, which lack a contract attachment to drive demand. We further predict that the notion of the phone or tablet replacing the PC with robust, mobile business applications will normalize into a balanced spectrum of convenience apps on mobile devices with full-featured apps staying on large screens with fast input capability.

EMM Is the New ITLM
Mobile Device Management (MDM), or Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM) as it is often now called in more broad terms, is very important in our increasingly security-sensitive world. But what we’re seeing is convergence of management solutions. And interestingly, the EMM model of management is winning over the old network directory service-based IT management paradigm. So our prediction is that there will be a new wave of solutions that are purpose built to do both mobile and traditional IT management with one standardized approach following the mold of the new mobile management model. You see certain indications of this from major vendors, but because of the legacy of solution silos they can’t quite execute the way a new, authentic solution might. Watch for startups with tools and solutions that start fresh with new architectures to do the old things in new ways.

A 360 of Cloud Services in Orgs
The cloud is here, and it looks different than a lot of people thought. In some ways, it doesn’t look too much different from the way they used to consume software and technology solutions. But other solutions are very different and require some shifts in how services are deployed and consumed. In 2015, we predict that the full spectrum of cloud services will exist in most IT organizations. There will be finished SaaS service subscriptions, pay-for-use IaaS workloads, including hybrid deployments that have some VMs on premises, and new apps being built by the enterprise on PaaS.

In summary, we see 2015 as a year of normalization of new models. Computing is being rationalized among the various screen sizes. And the cloud has largely been demystified; it is maturing, and it is being implemented in a variety of effective ways. All of this is good for IT, for business, and for consumers.