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Top IT trends in 2018: hybrid cloud

The following hybrid cloud trends are insightful predictions provided by Dan Greengarten, SVP, Sales, Cloud Services, and Alliances.

Trend 1: Transforming customer experiences and targeted business outcomes with the Internet of Things (IoT)

For IoT to deliver real business value, I believe it’s critical that organisations stop thinking about it as simply a collection of connected sensors and devices.

Companies focused on the business outcomes from the start of the project see real value as a result of their efforts. Organisations trying to solve many disparate business problems find that their lack of focus is less likely to lead to success.

Focus on business objectives at the outset

A key example of how the focus on key business objectives delivers real value is our work with Tour de France organisers, Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.). From the outset, A.S.O. focused on bringing the race into the digital era. Their objective was to embrace the benefits of digital technologies and leverage it to protect broadcasting rights and open up new revenue streams.

The core of the solution is IoT: attaching GPS devices to every bike in the race peloton and relaying the location data back to a central location. However, the business value isn’t achieved from the devices alone. The value to A.S.O. derives is from services that turn raw data into information that the fans can use to better understand the challenges, tactics, and race strategy.


Trend 2: Hybrid cloud cost containment is a pervasive issue

Three to four years ago, many organisations made the decision to move a significant portion of their infrastructure, and anything new, into the public cloud. They assumed that this would enable them to drive out costs and reduce both operational complexity and headcount.

Today, many businesses have realised that few or none of these objectives have been met.

Cost containment strategy

In the next 12 months, we’ll see businesses carefully assessing the return on investment delivered by ‘generation 1’ cloud projects. They’ll also reduce and / or review their consumption-based opex budgets in favour of what could be developed in-house, this time using more intelligent tools. Rather than continuing to consume public cloud, many organisations will consider building private clouds.

Trend 3: Increasing understanding of the platform economy

Digital marketplaces are changing the face of business. Organisations will recognise the true potential of the platform economy, and begin to realise its impact on their operating models.

As more businesses shift to a ‘digital front end’, revenue-generating digital assets demand fundamental changes in organisational operating models. Running a digital business with platform-based services differs from traditional operating models.

A new risk paradigm

In the platform economy, the risk shifts from the consumer to the provider.

Businesses that operate platforms need to make significant upfront investments to build their platforms – before they receive any revenue. They need to change their commercial and pricing models to factor in new risks.

In the platform economy, sales cycles can be longer and generate less upfront fees. Organisations therefore need to think about how they manage cash flow fluctuations and how they remunerate their sales force.

Trend 4: Hybrid cloud solutions are becoming verticalised

Throughout 2018, we’ll see more vertical cloud solutions on the market. Smaller cloud providers are looking for ways to differentiate from the hyperscalers. They’ve realised that they need to find new ways to drive scale and grow market share via a deep vertical focus.

In the year ahead we can expect to see these smaller players investing significantly in industry-specific compliance regimes for different verticals to build credibility with their target market.

Comprehensive solutions for the entire XaaS stack

The result will be hybrid cloud offerings that span the entire spectrum of the XaaS stack and deliver a comprehensive solution for specific verticals.

These solutions will cover everything from the infrastructure layer, to platform tools that customers’ development teams can use to build new services without the fear of any compliance breaches, to applications delivering the service.

Trend 5: The rise of hybrid cloud management solutions

Businesses will continue to commit to multi-cloud architectures, both public and private, and from several different providers. While there are significant benefits to this approach, it can result in greater management complexity.

As a result, businesses are recognising the importance of having a defined set of management tools to run operations, and we can expect to see an increase in demand for hybrid cloud management solutions.

Standardising services

Specifically, organisations will invest in hybrid cloud management solutions allowing standard services to be created.

Businesses use cloud to deliver services to their internal users and/or their external customer base. If they’re operating a platform they need to standardise various components to deliver a particular offer. Hybrid cloud management tools allow this.

Trend 6: Industry skills and talent pool continue to shrink

The talent pool of people available to help organisations architect, implement, and operate hybrid cloud solutions will continue to shrink.

This shortage of skills will generate new opportunities for managed services providers that can deliver highly automated services. Why is automation so critical? The more a service provider can automate elements of a client’s IT environment, the lower the costs to deliver the service and the subsequent cost to go to market.

This also benefits the client. By delivering services to customers in a more automated manner, the costs of providing it is also reduced and it can be offered at a lower price-point.

Software development becomes the new ‘trade’

Software engineering will become the essential trade of the 2020s.

In 2018, we’ll start to see this manifesting in a war for talent. There’ll be a significant spike in demand for software development talent graduating from tertiary institutions, as organisations seek the skills required to build digital front-ends.

Trend 7: Expectation for service providers to deliver a unified, embedded cybersecurity posture ─ across all platforms and services

Organisations that appoint service providers to take on the management of their hybrid, multiple, dispersed, and potentially unrelated IT platforms, will expect them to enable a security posture that spans the entire platform.

Built in, not bolted on

Organisations will expect their service providers to offer robust security measures that cover on-premise and cloud-based assets, the network, and applications ─ all built into an intelligent security core.

In evaluating service providers, businesses should consider their capability to provide a holistic approach to cybersecurity and to identify threats and risks across multi-faceted, distributed architectures, including on-premise, cloud, and hybrid environments.

Providers should demonstrate an understanding of how digital infrastructure, digital workplaces, and cloud environments expose new risks.

Watch how we gave world leaders secure communications at the G20 Summit with a cloud desktop for just as long as they needed.

Find out how we enabled Hirsch’s, a traditional family business, to thrive in a digital world.

Read more about Dimension Data's 2018 predictions below:

Comments/What do you think?


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