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IT Trends for Business in 2017

As a CIO or IT leader, at least one of your eyes is always looking into the future.

So what’s in store for you and your organization in 2017? 

Here are the top 5 technology trends you need to jump on for your company or business to have a successful 2017: 

1. The Widespread Adoption of Open Source IoT changing business

According to a June 2016 market survey by Black Duck Software, more than 78% of enterprise companies run on open source software.

Enterprises aren’t the only ones taking the flight from proprietary software. Small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) are right in step. 

One major advantage of open source is that it levels the playing field for companies.

In the days of Unix, only large companies with deep pockets could allocate the budget to continually update and gain access to new technology innovations.

This was due to the nature of closed, proprietary systems and their steep licensing costs. 

With open source and the exponential growth of Linux use in the corporate arena, all IT sources have immediate access to new, cutting-edge developments in software.

In fact, SMBs may even hold the upper hand in innovation, as they are unburdened by corporate red tape and intra-organizational coordination issues. 

Perhaps the biggest advantage of open source is that allows IT organizations of any size to redistribute their budget due to cloud options.

By partnering with a cloud service, IT departments are eliminating many of the costs of owning and maintaining a specialized data center, which include:

  • - Hardware procurement
  • - Data center cooling
  • - Hardware monitoring
  • - Physical machine security

By working with a cloud service, more of the budget can be utilized for data analysis and finding new revenue streams to grow the business. 

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2. Automation throughout the Entire IT Stack 

Call it what you will: provisioning, system configuration management, or IT management.

Nowadays, they all mean the same thing. You are describing the configuration of your infrastructure as a script or set of scripts. You are automating your entire IT stack. 

Software is replacing infrastructure, or rather, infrastructure is now the application, as web services, software and cloud computing are all seamlessly integrated globally across the internet, augmenting or replacing traditional hardware and data centers.

Before, hardware alone was responsible for delivering mobile, social, and web solutions. Today, most companies rely on software through cloud computing. 

By automating your IT stack, any authorized team member can modify scripts while applying good development practices such as automated testing.

For versioning, environments can be replicated in a manner that greatly reduces risks and errors. Automating your infrastructure also means that you can scale it up or down without any additional effort. 

The switch throughout both enterprise companies and SMBs is well underway, and 2017 is the time to become a convert, before you’re left behind. 

[Check out our CIO's Budget Checklist for 2017: Priorities, Concerns and Challenges]

3. The Internet of Things Finally Gaining Traction in Business 

Enterprise IoT Trends

According to Business Insider, there will be 34 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is simply a force no company can ignore. In terms of impact, it has been compared as equal to the Industrial Revolution.

And thanks to the use of sensors, it’s quickly becoming ever-prevalent for businesses who want to succeed. 

Manufacturing plants use sensors and the IoT to monitor work equipment and environmental conditions.

John Deere places sensors on its tractors to provide farmers with information on their crops, such as when watering is needed. The entire structure of smart appliances is built with sensors and the IoT. 

The entire point of IoT is to have a connected world that continually captures data—and that data is proving to be immensely valuable.

Whether your company is monitoring inefficiencies in the workplace or mining data to develop new services for customers, the IoT translates to a healthier bottom line as a result of:

  • - Lowering operating costs
  • - Increasing productivity
  • - Expanding your company’s reach into new markets
  • - Or, most likely, all of the above 

4. The Growth of Business Dashboards 

You can give a lot of credit to IoT for this one.

With the amount of data currently being parsed and analyzed and the incredible trajectory of data growth, Forbes estimates that by 2020, 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created per second.

Business dashboards are an essential tool in presenting this information in a visually appealing, easy to read format. 

Business dashboards are data visualization tools that pull real-time data from multiple sources.

They display current metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), providing critical information at a specific point in time. Users no longer have to log into multiple systems to put together a snapshot of their business. It is now visible on-demand right on your dashboard. 

With this information, business leaders can make informed decisions and take action quickly.

Dashboards are also commonly used to track performance and measure the progress of new policies and processes. This enables companies to quickly adjust an approach when the data shows a need for a change. 

5. User Experience Is the Number One Priority 

It doesn’t matter if a company is building a cutting-edge application or a toaster, user experience should be the number one priority.

That boring toaster may seem like a stretch as an example, but look into the details.

First, how well does it toast? Does it run too hot, burning toast at a lower setting? Does it match your kitchen décor? Does it do a good job catching crumbs, or does it leave a mess all over your counter? If it fails at any one of these things, a new toaster will soon take its place. 

In the IT world, user experience and competition is vastly more cut-throat.

A product not only has to work, but it also has to work easily and quickly, providing a tangible benefit and room for expansion.

It has to meet current demands and those that come up in 2 years’ time. It has to provide relevant information that users didn’t even know they needed when they initially brought the product, much like the John Deere example of their tractors also monitoring soil moisture. 

Look through the graveyard of failed start-ups and social media apps. A wonky user experience and a failure to provide relevant information leads to a fast death. Keeping the user experience number one will help shape the framework of your business in 2017 and beyond. 

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[Download our eBook, A Winning Project Proposal Blueprint for IT Professionals — Click here.]

Written by IBM BP Network