kalyankumar[1]Kalyan Kumar, SVP & Chief Technologist, HCL Technologies outlines his predictions for 2015 in which he sees mounting challenges and opportunities for the IT industry.

As we move into 2015, demand for faster and better services that are delivered to consumers and end-users on their own terms is piling on the pressure for IT departments. As such, they can’t rest on their laurels; IT teams must develop new ways of working and implement new systems and tools to keep pace with their employees, customers and competitors. Here are the top five key trends that I expect to see prevailing across enterprises in 2015.

Cloud becomes de-facto

Throughout 2014, enterprises continued to adopt public clouds for certain workloads; generally where the risk to business continuity and data security was low. With major industry players such as Microsoft and VMware focusing more efforts on their cloud offerings, we can expect to see this trend move to the next level in 2015. Public cloud adoption will accelerate even further and will host a significant proportion of enterprise workloads, both in development and production. Indeed, certain Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions are likely to emerge as the standard method of deployment for enterprise IT in areas such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). As cloud adoption becomes increasingly widespread, confidence will grow further, prompting IT teams to investigate additional opportunities to migrate workloads across.

IoT data explodes

There was a lot of buzz around the Internet of Things (IoT) throughout 2014, as enterprises started to consider its potential to drive business growth and efficiency. This will be a growing priority in 2015, as new applications for internet-connected devices continue to emerge. As a result, there will also be a greater need for big data analytics, as the amount of information being generated on enterprise networks expands significantly. Enterprises will be looking to mine this data for insights that fuel efficiency initiatives such as machine learning; which can enable self-healing of resources and automated workloads. However, there is still a shortage of skilled data scientists, which will be needed to make this vision a reality; creating a barrier that must be overcome.

The security nightmare worsens

The cyber-threat landscape became even more complex in 2014; as attacks grew in diversity and sophistication. Trends such as cloud adoption and BYOD added even further to the complexity of dealing with these threats, as the security perimeter became even more blurred. The arrival of newer applications of technology, such as wearables and IoT devices will ramp up the pressure even more, creating a major task for IT security teams. As such, approaches to security will need to evolve in 2015. More enterprises will turn to managed security service providers (MSSPs) to gain access to expertise that may not exist in-house; or appoint a Chief Security Officer (CSO) to take the lead internally. Security will become more widely recognised as being central to a business’ operations and so the CSO will be involved in board-level decisions and discussions.

DevOps and SDDC mature

As consumers and end-users have become ever-more demanding, IT departments have been under growing pressure to speed up development cycles. In 2014, this led to the emergence of DevOps as the new industry buzzword; defining the ways in which IT teams can work more closely together in order to become more agile. However, for the most part, DevOps has been widely misunderstood. In 2015, I expect the concept to begin to mature, as enterprises develop structured approaches and frameworks to support its adoption amongst their IT teams. DevOps will also support the growth in Software Defined Data Centre (SDDC) deployments, as infrastructure and application teams are able to work more closely together. This approach will help IT teams to maintain seamless, centralised management processes and cost control over IT resources by extending the delivery and consumption of data centre resources to the ‘as-a-service” model. We are likely to see early adoption of SDDC accelerate within banking, retail and media industries in particular, but it is also likely to be especially prevalent in product development and engineering groups.

The CIO changes tack

All of these developments are forcing the CIO to rethink their role in order to best serve the needs of the enterprise. For example, employees increasingly want access to newer services faster than the IT department can provision them. This has led to the rise of ‘shadow IT’ as employees circumvent the IT department and use their own devices or provision consumer cloud services in the enterprise. The arrival of wearables and IoT devices will increase this burden even further. As such, CIOs will need a clearly defined strategy and policies to overcome shadow IT before they are consumed by it in 2015. The CIO must also drive innovative new ways of working; such as DevOps across the enterprise and secure buy-in from the broader IT team. This will lead to a natural continuation in the CIO’s role evolving from service provider to service aggregator and Chief Innovation Officer.

Of course, it’s impossible to predict the future with complete accuracy and nobody truly knows what it will hold. However, it is almost certain that these trends will have some impact on the way that enterprises evolve in the coming year and for many to come.

The technology industry will undergo significant changes in the coming year. It’s going to be a very exciting space to watch in 2015.