Much the way the end of a year invites reflection upon what changed over the preceding 12 months, there's nothing like the start of a new one for looking ahead and predicting what's to come. So it is in enterprise IT, where market researchers have been busy studying their proverbial crystal balls for that very purpose.
Late last month, for instance, IDC released not just one but three new prediction-filled reports focusing on three key areas of enterprise technology. Bottom line? Things will look pretty different a year or two from now.
1. More Hybrid Clouds
Much has already been said about the distinct appeal of hybrid clouds for many organizations, and a growing number of those companies are clearly taking heed. In fact, more than 65 percent of enterprise IT organizations will commit to hybrid cloud technologies before 2016, IDC predicts. There will also be an 11 percent shift of IT budget away from traditional in-house IT delivery and towards the cloud as a new delivery model, it says.
"Digitization and transformation to virtualized, on-demand provider-based services are driving very rapid internal IT change," said Robert Mahowald, program vice president for IDC's SaaS and cloud software research practice. "IT buyers are shifting steadily toward cloud-also and cloud-first strategies, and nearly all are reconsidering their IT best practices to embrace hybrid cloud construction and operations, secure data management, end-to-end governance, updated IT skills and improved multivendor sourcing."
On the open source front, a full 20 percent of enterprises are expected to adopt community-driven open source standards and frameworks strategically by 2017. Meanwhile, 35 percent of new applications will use cloud-enabled continuous delivery and DevOps lifecycles for faster rollout of new features and business innovation.
2. DevOps on the Rise
Speaking of DevOps, it's enjoying growing adoption across both development and operations projects, and IDC predicts that it will be embraced by a full 80 percent of Global 1000 organizations by 2019. Little wonder, either, as the practice has been found to deliver benefits not just for the IT department -- that aforementioned faster time to market, for example -- but also for the business, such as increased sales and customer conversions.
"We are likely to see the trend and technology continue to spread to more enterprise verticals and to more mainstream organizations," Jay Lyman, a senior analyst for enterprise software with 451 Research, told Linux.com. "We've already seen DevOps technology and methodology extend beyond Web 2.0 and technology companies, and now we're seeing expansion beyond leading-edge verticals such as financial services, insurance and telecommunications."
This year, in fact, it will be difficult to find an enterprise vertical where DevOps is *not* having an effect, Lyman predicts: "We see continued signs of the trend happening across healthcare and life sciences, research, manufacturing, shipping, transportation, retail, academia, government, military and defense."
Of course, it's going to take some time for DevOps to become truly mainstream, and this year much of what we'll see will be "divisional, departmental, PoC and test and dev deployments," Lyman noted. "After all, the technology and process in question here is basically the stuff that companies large and small run their businesses on, so change will be gradual and will involve a mix of new and old technology and process."
3. Mobile Apps Come Marching In
Last but not least, the rise of mobile enterprise apps is another key trend worth noting. In fact, the number of enterprise applications optimized for mobility will actually quadruple over the course of 2015, IDC predicts. This year, a full 35 percent of large enterprises will leverage mobile application development platforms for apps across their organizations; by 2017, IT organizations will be dedicating at least 25 percent of their software budgets to mobile application development, deployment and management.
And the result of all this activity? Nothing less than a sea change for those involved. "The benefits from efficiencies and business innovation on the back of this app explosion will transform industries and markets," said John Jackson, IDC's program vice president for mobility research.