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December 19, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:42am

Top 6 trends that will shape enterprise IT in 2015

Sungard's Keith Tilley discusses how enterprise IT will navigate the IT minefield in 2015.

By Ellie Burns

The IT landscape is becoming even more complex. It seems every year businesses are confronted with even more issues and potential pitfalls that they need to navigate around – not only to remain competitive, but to avoid the loss of reputation and customer trust.

Upcoming legislation like the EU Data Protection directive will mean even more pressure to secure mission critical data, and CIOs need to ensure they are doing everything in their power to protect customer information. The story is the same in the public sector: with ministers under increased scrutiny thanks to the 2015 election, mistakes and data losses will simply not be tolerated.

Alongside increased pressure on governance and compliance, organisations are also expecting the IT department to make a greater contribution in achieving their business objectives – a difficult task when so much of the CIOs time and resource is tied up in simply keeping the lights on. Within this environment we will see an increased demand for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) that can help businesses through what is set to be an IT minefield of a year.

1. Increased value in services

The cost of raw infrastructure is already plummeting thanks to price-wars between the biggest providers – including AWS, Microsoft and Google. As a result the bottom is falling out of the market and customers now look beyond raw infrastructure for value

And with many IT departments moving away from the traditional maintenance model and looking to demonstrate business value through innovation and a focus on the application-layer, organisations no longer have the expertise, or the need to deal with raw infrastructure.

In the next year we’ll see a rise in the number of businesses turning to MSPs[1] – with IT priorities shifting from reducing costs to helping create an agile and flexible work environment, businesses will look to their technology partners to do the dull maintenance work. Thanks to MSPs the CIO can now pour his or her department’s resources in to developing an IT environment which can be shaped and customised by individual departments – trusting that the heavy lifting and availability demands will be dealt with elsewhere.

2. Investing in orchestration

As I’ve already mentioned, the traditional role of the CIO is shifting, with more attention being paid to the innovation. Again, this means a move away from tried and tested methods of managing infrastructure. Over the next year we will start to see CIOs throw out the outdated ‘command and control’ model of infrastructure governance. Instead IT leaders will begin to embrace data centre orchestration technologies that can offer seamless infrastructure performance, with data moving freely across hybrid IT infrastructures.

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The move will allow CIOs to continue to pull away from the ‘dirty’ infrastructure work, retaining their focus on demonstrating real value to the business and delivering a competitive edge.

3. Increased pressure on data compliance

We’re starting to see a number of companies coming under increasing scrutiny for their data protection and compliance policies, and this scrutiny is only going to increase with the new laws coming in 2017 from the EU Commission concerning data regulation. This will significantly increase a business’ responsibility for critical data, and have the power to impose large sanctions for mishandling, or failing to take every step possible to protect it. This ruling will greatly impact any business model based on the use/management of data such as cloud, Bring-Your-Own-Device and datacentre storage.

We will start to see more debates around who will have to take responsibility for this. MSPs should also prepare for a huge influx of queries from customers about their data, so a thorough understanding of the new regulation itself will be crucial in order to deal with all of the inbound requests. 2017 might seem like a long time away but the radical changes in law will require organisations to work hard over the next two years to have a chance of complying and avoiding substantial fines in the future.


4. The general election

With politicians already limbering up for next year’s election, IT service providers need to ready themselves for the imminent debate. Austerity will continue, with the government looking to reduce its spend dramatically – whilst the need to demonstrate value to the public will not go away.

And thanks to the sensitive nature of government data, any vendor will need to jump through a number of hoops regarding infrastructure considerations and information security classifications. For smaller Independent Software Vendors this could be a problem, and it’s one we’ll see solved through high profile partnerships with MSPs that can provide not only the technology, but also the accreditations needed (and the help to attain them!) to bid successfully for government contracts.

5. The rise of Desktop as a Service

2015 will create an even bigger demand for Desktop as a Service (DaaS). The expectations of employees are changing, and with more and more ‘Generation Y’ workers entering the workforce, IT departments are finding it increasingly challenging to keep up the pace with today’s technology demands[2]. For some millennials, the tech package combined with flexible working practices can be a major factor when considering potential employers. This trend is only set to get bigger, especially with further adoption of flexible working laws.

Whether ‘digital natives’ or ‘digital migrants’, employees now expect to access mission critical data and key applications from any location or device and if companies wish to keep up with modern working practices they need to ensure that they make headway in 2015 into providing this type of service.

6. Coping with Cloud complexity

Cloud has most certainly hit the mainstream, and in 2014 over three quarters of UK organisations formally adopted at least one cloud-based service. However, not everything is rosy – while the cloud initially promised to cut IT complexity, many CIOs have found themselves with a new set of challenges. With so many early cloud adopters rushing in and only looking at the immediate, short-term benefits of the cloud many have found themselves caught up in the intricate network of vendors, none of which have integrated clouds.

The cloud myth is well and truly over. In the next year we’ll see businesses looking to extricate themselves from their multiple IT environments – streamlining their estate as they understand that cloud computing is not a technical achievement, but a tool to deliver a specific, individual business outcome.

Forward looking CIOs – or perhaps just wise ones! – will see that the key to successful cloud deployments that do deliver, are based upon responsibly consuming cloud alongside the other physical and virtual environments the business has. Hybrid IT will precede truly integrated Hybrid Cloud, and may indeed be essential to it.


By Keith Tilley, Executive Vice President, Global Sales & Customer Services, Sungard Availability Services

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