Updated : December 25, 2013 0:0  ,
By Taj El Khayat, General Manager for MENA at Riverbed Technology

In 2014 enterprise IT teams should seek to harness the power of change

Savvy IT organizations understand that the right technology can positively impact their business. These organizations are responding to the need for change by seeking to harness those technologies that can differentiate their business, provide a better customer experience and ultimately help them gain a competitive edge.

In order to help companies embrace change, deliver a positive user experience and focus on solving business performance challenges, Riverbed has put together a list of the Top 8 Trends that will impact IT organizations in 2014 in the Middle East.

1.    Governments role in innovation increases (globally) – Governments will increasingly become involved in technology, investing in a broad range of applications – from home-grown innovation incubators to local manufacturing sites that create jobs and manage geopolitical risk. In 2014, expect other governments such as the UAE government to follow suite as this trend will drive economic growth and competitive technologies across the globe.

2.    Software defined everything hits production – A software-defined infrastructure is about decoupling the hardware that executes the data transactions from the software layer that orchestrates them. Rather than individual elements (compute, storage, and networking), infrastructure will be treated as a set of resources required for specific workloads. The goal is about using software to create an underlying infrastructure that can be managed holistically as part of the business.  In this world, the application, end-user and the business are king.  In 2014 we will see organizations finally implement software-defined architectures to achieve continued flexibility and control. Expect individual terms like “software defined networking” and “software defined storage” – which are just means to an end – to give way to larger concepts around the software defined data center and software defined branch.

3.    Big data drives public cloud storage – In 2014, Big Data gets even bigger with the additional information being created by the “Internet of Things”. In 2014, companies will have evolved their people, process, and technology enough to yield significant business value from Big Data investments. This rise of big data applications puts unprecedented pressure on storage strategies and technologies. In 2014 expect two things: 1) in house, companies need to find a combination of robust storage hardware and software that allow for quick access to relevant information; and 2) as data storage needs increase, more companies will turn to cheaper and more available public storage cloud services to offset spiraling costs.

4.    Enterprises start monitoring Personal Clouds – Personal cloud allows users to have access to use whatever device they want all while having constant access to the content and services they want to use, whether community (Facebook, news sites, etc), personal (photos, hobbies, music) or professional data (work related applications). In 2014, personal cloud services will outpace the growth of enterprise cloud services due to the continued growth of mobile computing, the growing number of mobile applications, and the growth in number of devices owned and used for personal use (personal cloud can drive an average of up 3 devices per employee.) IT won’t “own” or regulate these clouds, but will start monitoring them in 2014 to ensure sensitive data is not at risk.

5.    Consumerization forces IT to measure customer satisfaction – Consumerization shifts power from the IT organization to the users (whether employees or customers).  As the power of the individual continues to grow, IT organizations must adapt to their users – whether employees or customers.  User expectations are transforming the way IT organizations do business.  In 2014, IT organizations will respond by implementing metrics and measuring the satisfaction of their employee “customers.” Expect tried-and-true concepts like Net Promoter Score to become a mainstay in how IT evaluates its overall effectiveness.

6.    DevOps teams become the norm, not the exception – DevOps started as an offshoot of Agile development, with a focus on achieving continuous delivery, will continue to catalyze change across IT departments in how teams from different IT domains will collaborate, which tools are employed to facilitate friction-less delivery, and the skill-sets that become increasingly desirable. Today, dedicated DevOps teams are found in hardware and software companies, as well as a fraction of progressive enterprise IT departments. In 2014, expect specific DevOps team to sprout up in all large enterprises.

7.    Monolithic cloud strategies fade – Companies are moving towards automating the dynamic shifting of workloads from one cloud service to another for optimum performance, price and availability.  IT will gain experience and confidence in moving a workload out of the path of a mega-storm (like Sandy), or to a lower cost service provider, or to a service provider closer to the end-user so the latency is minimized. In 2014, companies will move beyond the “I have a cloud strategy” to “I have a multi-cloud strategy.”

8.    Industrial Internet gets vertical (sometimes called the Internet of Things) – As more objects become embedded with sensors and gain the ability to communicate, the resulting information networks promise to create new business models, improve business processes and reduce costs and risks.  Many industries are gaining a competitive advantage from “connectedness” – among them:  fleet management (for tracking goods and vehicles), consumer electronics and retail (stock control). Manufacturing, oil and gas, automotive, security, transport and even environmental management (smart cities) are gaining in this area. In 2014, adoption increases as companies continue to search for competitive advantages that also drive cost savings.