IT Trends: The One that is Often Overlooked

In reviewing the seething mass of marketing BS in the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) industry I see 5 main trend categories:

  • Internet of things: ehealth, connected car, smart networks, sensor networks, mobile / portable devices, home storage, home networks and devices;
  • Internet of services: analytics (aka big data, including predictive analysis), cloud computing / storage / software, managed services, cloud communications / collaboration, web / enterprise services (plus the apps to access them), desktop virtualization;
  • Scale and Consolidation: Bigger is better / cheaper, storage explosion (in the network and in the edge, de-duplication, petabyte storage, adaptive caching, alternative storage), cloud computing, vertical integration / solutions;
  • Consumerization of IT: mobile / portable devices, web / enterprise services (plus the apps to access them), desktop virtualization, green IT; and
  • Software, Service & Process Development: patenting business processes, managed service processes, risk management, predictive monitoring e.g. using behavioral science, ITIL / CMMI, SODA (service-oriented development of applications), SOA / WOA / CEP / EDA, human computer interaction (across video, motion and speech), open source, open innovation, real-time enterprise, social enterprise, enterprise 2.0 (loosely coupled, API-centric, co-opting web 2.0 principles and services), new software languages / methods, cryptography, and economic analysis.

The last trend of “software, service and process development” is often overlooked, but as we see in all the patent wars its becoming a lucrative business.  Even my old employer, BT, has sold some of my quite old patents.  Examining some of the trends within this category:

  • Patenting Business Processes: Accenture, HP and IBM are protecting through patents business processes they create for their clients, especially in sectors such as insurance, banking and increasingly telecoms.  This restricts what competitors can offer.  The managed services business is now starting to build barriers to entry, where once they could be easily copied.
  • SODA (service-oriented development of applications) is an application / service method that when combined with software development methods enables the efficient creation of services that re-use capabilities to speed time to market using off-shore development.
  • SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) is not static, it is developing with concepts such as EDA (Event Driven Architecture), CEP (Complex Event Processing), WOA (Web Oriented Architecture) / loosely coupled applications, distributed SOA, SLA (Service Level Agreement) definitions to achieve desired user experience, fault tolerant SOA and SOA reference cases (pre-integrated solutions for a particular industry / application);
  • Software Research: Suppliers are increasingly dependent on software, services and business processes.  Research around the development of those software, service and process products is essential to future competitiveness.  This is not simply ISO or ITIL compliance, but innovation in the processes of creating new stuff.
  • Open Innovation and Open Source: Collaborative research is increasingly common across all IT suppliers, particularly in the creation of open source software as it generally requires corporate sponsorship and needs adoption by the IT community to be successful. Open Source and Innovation should be a cornerstone of all suppliers.
  • Human Computer Interaction: HCI is an important component of service design.  As solutions become more vertically integrated, suppliers need to build competence in this area to support service design and development.  Creating easy to use services across a range of devices and use cases.
  • Cloud: Cloud computing is evolving fast, covering collaborative research, security, management, fault tolerance (e.g. Amazon Dynamo).  For any supplier to be competitive in this domain they must be active in collaborative research projects.
  • Economics, Analytics, Game Theory, Security: Economic analysis is growing in importance to quantifying and understand the impact of technology / market changes on customers and their business.  Increasingly the analysis is including aspects of behavioral science.  Game theory enables suppliers to explore scenarios to gain a better understanding of the likely impacts in complex markets.  Analytics (big data) is becoming important in the interpretation of customer data to improve service delivery, but data cleanliness remains a challenge leading to GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out).  Security is a common theme, and will remain a critical vulnerability of all IT systems, put simply, suppliers will always be one step behind threats, speed of response is critical to limit the threats spread / impact.