Six Tech Trends That Will Define 2015

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
2015 tech trends

The coming year promises to introduce significant disruption and challenges for business and government. These key trends will reshape IT and the enterprise.

Apps move to the center of IT.

It's no secret that mobility is increasingly at the center of everything. Various industry estimates indicate that mobile Internet access now accounts for 40 to 50 percent of Internet usage, and the numbers continue to trend upward. The upshot? Mobile apps are emerging as the heart and soul of enterprise IT initiatives.

However, success involves more than simply building and deploying apps. It also requires putting data in the hands of users when and where they need it, and, at the same time, simplifying processes. This means tapping into various chips and sensors in the phones and plugging in a growing array of tools.

Satya Ramaswamy, vice president and global head of the Digital Enterprise Unit at TCS, states that only about one in 10 organizations engage in digital reimagination: the ability to weave together digital tools such as big data, analytics, cloud computing, social media, crowdsourcing and the Internet of Things.

Bhaskar Ghosh, group chief executive at Accenture Technology Delivery, says that organizations must adopt a more "liquid" approach, including the ability to rapidly assemble and refresh mobile apps using smaller and more reusable components. These intelligent apps must accommodate a growing volume and velocity of data and "extend company boundaries into new ecosystems," he adds.

Organizations get smarter about big data and analytics.

Today, all IT roads ultimately lead to data and analytics. However, the problem that many organizations face is the need to assemble and arrange all the pieces of the digital puzzle.

"The challenge is figuring out how to best utilize enormous amounts of data," explains Mark Crandall, CIO of Consulate Health. Not only do results spin a tight orbit around identifying the right data points—something that often requires new expertise and skills—but they also connect  machines, databases and other systems in new and inventive ways, particularly as the Internet of things takes hold.

As a result, an enterprise may need to adopt standards such as the Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS)—a common format for sharing data using barcodes, RFID and sensors—but also establish real-time connectivity to POS data, clickstream data and other sources. Crandall says that it ultimately means forming new partnerships and establishing new relationships.

Hariharan at TCS believes a unified view of the customer and products is vital. "Advanced enterprises understand that digital transformation is about more than data," he notes. "It extends to restructuring processes, people and organizational systems in order to further distance themselves from their competition."

Open source is everywhere and everything.

A powerful trend in business and IT is the widespread adoption of open-source methods. Although it's tempting to focus on obvious open-source IT initiatives such as Linux, Hadoop, OpenSSL and Apache, the movement is reaching broader and deeper into organizations. Development tools, data storage methods, virtualization techniques, content management and security are a few of the areas going open source.

Meanwhile, initiatives such as OpenStack, OpenFlow and the Open Compute Project are going mainstream. Surveys show that a high percentage of business and IT executives—80 percent or more in many cases—now view open source as a competitive advantage. One thing that makes open source attractive is that it potentially improves quality, speed and security because multiple people focus on the task and identify and fix flaws as they arise.

Tom Archer, U.S. Technology Industry leader at PwC, says that open initiatives are becoming the rule rather than the exception.

Open source is now both critical and transformative, according to Tom Romanich, business manager at Norsk Lastbaerer Pool (NLP), an Oslo, Norway-based company that manages pallets and totes for manufacturers and retailers in Norway and Sweden. "We could not handle a number of key tasks without open source," he says. "It is central to driving gains."

This article was originally published on 2014-12-30

Samuel Greengard, a contributing writer for Baseline, writes about business, technology and other topics. His forthcoming book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press), will be released in the spring of 2015.

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