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An annual (brief) respite in IT and the dawn of the new year provides an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned and to prognosticate on the year ahead, and certainly 2018 was one for the books. We finally saw progress in the growth of software-actuated infrastructures, suffered new data breaches and security vulnerabilities, and traditional enterprises accelerated experimentation with more cloud-hosted technologies, from microservices to serverless (Functions-as-a-Service). The majority of these changes were driven by a movement to modernize existing applications in earnest.
We learned (sometimes in good cases, sometimes in bad) that harnessing data is powerful—after all, it can make or break a business. But while evidence suggested “automation anxiety” might dwindle in 2018, evidence shows that despite its transformative potential, automation is still often perceived as a significant threat to technology professionals’ careers.
With all that in mind, what’s in store for 2019? Below are some top tech trends our team predicts will drive IT industry developments in 2019.
Battle for the Cloud: The Scramble to Engage Enterprise Customers
As public cloud adoption becomes more mainstream, cloud providers such as AWS®, Azure®, and Google® will likely find themselves in a “mad scramble” to gain enterprise/on-premises customers. Enterprises are now getting into the “meat” of migrating applications into new technology stacks, both in the cloud and on-premises. With this trend, tools that help facilitate app migration and detangling will be a focus in 2019. Some providers, such as AWS and Azure, have already begun leading the charge, offering their own proprietary software to handle and automatically monitor app migration.
In 2019, public cloud providers will begin implementing new strategies and tactics to gain enterprise customers, reintroducing cloud and the tech it offers as integrated solutions to pursue enterprise markets.
The Year of DataOps, and the Rise of Data-Driven, Data-First Organizations
All DevOps strategies have universal goals: agility, faster deployment, increased end-user experience, and “smart” operational decision-making. With DevOps tools transitioning from a hype to a standard practice in agile IT departments, technology and operations professionals striving to add value to their businesses should consider the next step in enhancing their departments: DataOps.
In today’s increasingly digital world, data cannot be excluded from the agile decision-making process. In fact, we predict that 2019 will be the year that data is recognized as a key business driver. “Data Culture” will become increasingly implemented into tech environments, and organizations will become data-driven and data-first. This shift will also give rise to DataOps, as traditional admins start to understand that their days of tuning indexes are ending, one page at a time. Operations teams must adopt a “data mindset” to discern the type of data that exceeds their department and can be polished into something that adds value to the business overall. With DataOps, organizations can begin to transition their IT team into a data science team, as they adopt a data-first frame of mind.
DataOps can help the C-suite operate their businesses more effectively by extracting and analyzing the most pertinent pieces of data and distilling and crafting them into a compelling and “business-digestible” narrative that can be easily understood across the organization. Companies will begin to actuate on this data, not just report and track in Excel—they will start using valuable data to make more informed decisions. The ability to share this actionable, business-digestible narrative may even earn tech pros a seat at the strategy table.
A Programmer’s Paradise
Despite its transformative potential, automation is still too often perceived as a significant threat to technology professionals’ careers. However, in 2019, we expect that tech pros will realize that contrary to widespread “automation anxiety,” they can automate themselves into a job rather than out of a job. As a result, we will see a dramatic acceleration of programming culture at organizations that have not experimented in this space before.
Many technology professionals working within a hybrid environment are already on the cusp of this transition, as the ability to use a GUI, CLI, or an API to manage cloud workloads is driving greater competency in automation and advanced scripting skills. As admins support ever more cloud workloads, we’ll see a greater number of tech pros become successful at adopting new APIs over GUIs and CLIs to define networks, storage, and services. Further, they’ll automate management of new processes, such as managing vendor-specific services, like container and change delivery pipelines. At the same time, automation technology can also deliver significant benefits to tech pros who are focused on the systems side of the house, who must begin to think more in terms of command-line actions and transition to automation and orchestration-led IT.
Ultimately, as tech professionals—especially those working at small-to medium-sized businesses (SMBs)—become more confident in the transformative potential of automation tools, we expect they will accelerate previously impossible automation for a variety of processes. The growth of conferences like DevNet at Cisco Live!— which may dominate over half of next year’s Cisco Live! event space—is proof positive that 2019 will be a programmer’s paradise, actively encouraged by the most trusted vendors in IT.
We look forward to watching these trends and products evolve and drive real service delivery improvement in 2019, and watching technology professionals gain new skills to wield these new technologies with authority and success.