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Uptime Blog

2015 Virtualization and Cloud Technology Predictions

Troy McAlpin, President and CEO of xMatters, originally wrote this post for VMblog’s 2015 Virtualization and Cloud Technology Prediction Series.

How long have we been on the edge of our seats waiting for CIOs to truly take a strategic role in business? They’ve been too busy keeping the business running! Well, that changes in 2015. Let’s take a look ahead at predictions for the new year.

IT Will Embrace the Cloud to Take On Strategic Business Leadership:
Sometimes it seems IT departments exist primarily to keep the lights on – monitor and maintain systems, protect against data breaches and malware attacks, and repair or replace computers when necessary. With the advent of third-party cloud services, IT has broken the shackles of mundane maintenance tasks and monitoring duties, and in 2015 I predict CIOs will take advantage of cloud-based applications, scalable cloud-based resources and hybrid premise and cloud application development.

Two-way integrations with cloud services can handle many of the activities that used to take up the IT organizations’ typical 16-hour workday. In a 2014 KMPG survey, more than 93% of respondents said the role of IT is changing from an administrator of infrastructure to a driver of enterprise services. Without extra “busy work,” the new CIO will continue to develop their rightful role on the strategic leadership team. I expect 2015 will be the year of CIO-driven business decisions. And, it’s about time.

The Year of BYOA:
That’s not a typo. In 2015, I predict we’ll stop hearing so much about BYOD and start hearing about BYOA, Bring Your Own Applications. In a Stratecast study, commissioned by McAfee, more than 80% surveyed said they had used SaaS applications not approved by IT. CIOs cannot be expected to spend all their time monitoring the cloud applications of employees.

Instead, I predict CIOs will embrace and enable the adoption of Shadow IT applications in 2015, accepting their role in fostering innovation. Where they will draw the line is where personal or business-sensitive data is put at risk. CIOs will handle this problem through access control via single sign-on into the firewall to cut off dangerous activity. The coming year will also mark the beginning of Build Your Own Applications. The availability of the cloud, virtualization, and read/write APIs will enable technology leaders from CRM, Finance, and other departments to create applications to suit their needs.

Connected Systems in the Cloud Create a Need for Wider, Deeper Monitoring:
Cloud services and applications, coupled with a growing number of data centers, have changed business. One person can now touch any number of systems from anywhere in the world – at a single moment. This power creates the need for wider monitoring, capable of keeping watch on disparate systems. But wait, you say, can’t some monitoring tools do that now?

Well, yes, but in 2015 monitoring will get more granular too. So reports will show not just which systems someone touched, but what he/she was doing in those systems. So? So by the end of 2015, I predict monitoring systems will work with the cloud and virtualization to uncover the cause of any service disruption or performance issue. The days of best guesses and using anecdotal evidence will be a thing of the past… at least, until hackers figure out a way to trick the system again.

IT Consolidates and Automates Shadow Business Processes:
Often, different departments use their own business processes, and they’re hidden in emails, texts, shared drives, flash drives, and wikis. In 2015, departments will look to gain greater collaboration and transparency, and they’ll move to the cloud. Already 38% of total IT spend is outside of IT.

By 2017, Gartner predicts it will be more than 50%.

Using more agile cloud applications, companies will pull their business processes out of hiding. Not only will they open collaboration within their departments, they’ll open the opportunity to collaborate across departments and even entire companies. That’s right. Transparency works!

Old School IT and Modern IT Will Have to Co-Exist:
For as long as there has been business, people with different points of emphasis have had conflicts – sales and editorial, sales and marketing, engineering and marketing. Today there is a split within many IT departments between steady and reliable (old school) and fast and creative (modern). IT departments will have to choose between old school, new school, a curious hybrid, or both.

Doing both means running the two modes of IT in a parallel fashion – probably why Gartner coined the phrase “bimodal IT.” I believe 2015 will be the year of adoption for bimodal IT. So people who enjoy process will have to co-exist with idea people. Techies will have to work with creative types. It should be good for business in general, but it won’t last forever. By 2020, each business will decide to go one-way or the other. But not next year.

We’ll all have fun seeing what really happens. Good luck to all!

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