Six Tech Trends That Will Define 2015

In recent years, the pace of digital change has been breathtaking. New tools, technologies and approaches have entered the enterprise, and the intersection of these factors has introduced new and more complex challenges—along with remarkable opportunities. As the calendar flips over to 2015, here are six trends that will shape business and IT in the coming year.

The Internet of things moves into the mainstream.

Hype notwithstanding, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Internet of things (IoT) and connected devices represent enormous potential for enterprises that learn to use these systems effectively. They represent a goldmine of data for business, along with new conveniences and efficiencies for both the enterprise and consumers.

“Although the IoT is still in its nascent stages, it presents opportunities for both the private and public sectors,” says Seeta Hariharan, general manager and group head of the digital software and solutions group at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Driving this trend are better software algorithms, cloud computing, mobility and more robust APIs.

“In 2015, we will see increasing numbers of IoT products and services becoming more widely and commercially available,” adds Craig McNeil, managing director at Accenture Mobility, “including in the connected vehicle and connected home spaces.”

IT becomes more business-line-driven, and shadow IT accelerates.

It’s apparent that IT has undergone radical transformation over the last few years. But what escapes many business and IT leaders is the fundamental shift over who drives purchasing and usage decisions in the enterprise—and beyond.

“We’ve reached a point where critical IT decisions are too important to be left solely to the IT team, and that’s why you get shadow IT,” points out Krishnan Ramanujam, global head of enterprise solutions at TCS. “This can definitely be a problem, with shadow IT creating waste and duplication.”

Not surprisingly, a key to success is breaking down silos and introducing a more coordinated and integrated approach, particularly between the CIO and CMO. Another key factor is developing the nontechnical soft skills that are needed to manage organizational and operational change.

Chris Curran, PwC principal and chief technologist, notes that 35 to 50 percent of IT spending already lies outside the domain of IT, and the numbers are likely to increase. The key to success, he says, is “codifying” the digital operations model and defining roles across the organization.

IT gets agile.

Only a few years ago, IT projects were typically measured in months or years. Today, update and refresh cycles take place in days or weeks. This is leading to rapid and agile development techniques and initiatives such as DevOps. The offshoot of all this is a need to re-evaluate systems and redraw the road map for the future.

“In 2014, CIOs realized IT application redundancy was significantly draining their companies’ resources,” explains Ron Tolido, senior vice president of application services at business and IT consulting firm Capgemini. “While CIOs have always understood the need to align their IT functions with the business objectives, the ever-increasing influence of disruptive technologies such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) solutions are forcing CIOs to identify new ways of optimizing performance and improving the application landscape.”

This translates directly into purging older legacy applications that add minimal business value in order to free resources for more disruptive technologies that deliver greater results and improve the customer experience. PwC’s Curran stresses that a more holistic, cross-functional and scalable approach to IT is critical.