The Big Trends Driving Digital Transformation

IoT Trends

It’s rare to find the business that isn’t grappling with growing business pressures, whether it’s business competitors becoming more effective through the use of emerging technologies, growing global competition, and even the increased effectiveness of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Those organizations that learn how to not only embrace emerging technologies, but master them, are going to be the victors in the immediate years ahead.

Those that don’t learn to master transformative technologies are not going to survive.

In my interviews with CIOs, CTOs, and chief digital officers, there are many who are wrestling with how they are going to leverage transformative technologies so that their enterprises can maintain relevance. Here are the primary technologies, as I see them, driving enterprise transformation today:

The accelerating adoption of cloud technologies:
Saying that cloud is transformative isn’t exactly news. However, the rate of adoption of cloud services among organizations is growing rapidly. The research firm Gartner estimates that by next year, 50 percent of enterprises will have embraced hybrid public/private cloud architectures. When Amazon started publicly breaking out its cloud revenue, we learned that in 2015, Amazon Web Services earned $7.88 billion in cloud sales for 2015, an increase of almost 70% compared to the prior year.

The research firm TBI forecasts the global public cloud market will grow from $80 billion last year to roughly $167 billion by 2020. Interestingly, in a survey that firm found that nearly half of participants believe the public cloud meets or exceeds the security within private clouds.  

This move to cloud is also proving to be the foundation that is going to drive a lot of the innovative capabilities found in agile development, IoT, continuous deployment, citizen developers, and data analytics.

The accelerating adoption of the Internet of Things:
In its most recent Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide, IDC forecasts that U.S. organizations will invest more than $232 billion into IoT hardware, software, services, and connectivity this year. The research firm also expects the U.S. IoT market in revenue will grow 16.1% year over year through 2019, and reach $357 billion that year.

According to Gartner’s forecasts, there will be 8 billion IoT business-networked devices by 2020, up from about 1.6 billion today.

Many enterprise IoT devices coming online will provide a lot of opportunities for enterprises to cut costs through increased efficiencies, improve their supply chains, more rapidly understand customers’ needs, and more intelligently respond to any number of changing market conditions through improved data.

DevOps, Continuous Delivery, and widespread adoption of agile development strategies:
The goal of continuous delivery and continuous integration is to automate away as much of the application development drudgery that can be. When done right, it means developers are getting more applications and new features shipped more readily. The business moves more quickly, as well as (hopefully) more diligently tested, stable, and even secure software.

Through improved agility, not only does quality improve, but through developers able to more quickly respond to business software and feature needs, so does user satisfaction – as users get the capabilities they need.

The rise of the Citizen Developer:
There’s a new type of developer emerging within the enterprise. They probably don’t have a computer science degree, maybe never even took a programing class. They’re known as low-code, or citizen, developers. They’re typically business users, who grow tired of waiting for IT to step in and provide the apps they need, so they look for a way to develop the apps on their own.

This is, in my view, an extension of the Shadow IT movement that has been underway for years, and Gartner expects by the end of this year, a profoundly high 35 percent of IT purchases will be managed outside of traditional IT.

Forrester Research has identified 14 low-code (its term for minimal development coding platforms) platform providers, from AgilePoint, to OutSystems, QuickBase, and Salesforce. Salesforce is estimated to generate about 700 million from its low code platforms Force.com, Community Cloud, and Lightning.

What does this mean for CTOs, CIOs, and chief digital officers? It means they are going to need to be able to identify these apps, cultivate the use cases and apps being respectively demonstrated and built, and when appropriate because of regulated or sensitive intellectual property, bring those apps under the control of IT. The important takeaway here is to cultivate and harness the ideas and energy brought forward by these citizen developers.

Making smarter decisions through data analytics and machine learning
It seems machine learning/artificial intelligence is now powering everything. This month Twitter acquired London-based Magic Pony Technology, a visual processing machine learning company. Most CIOs expect machine learning to help their organizations make better decisions throughout their business.

While all of that is moving forward, data analytics is also being more accessible to more workers than ever before. When stored on cloud systems, these massive data lakes provide the ability to knock down all of the internal silos and provide more workers with access to data analytics so that they can make better, more data-driven decisions. And any organization with more workers and frontline managers making better, more informed, decisions is going to improve itself.

When data analytics are built on cloud, they are available to more workers and IT doesn’t have to worry about infrastructure or surge demand.

What’s the common denominator among all of these trends? Each one is maximized by having the right cloud infrastructure in place to fully maximize benefits.

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About the Author

George Hulme