Out with the old, bring in the new: three trends for enterprise IT in 2015

Stephen Pritchard

Inside the Enterprise: The only thing anyone can safely say about New Year predictions, is that it's highly likely that most, if not all of them, will be wrong.

That doesn't stop industry figures, analysts, and of course journalists from trying to guess the future. Predictions for the coming year have been landing in my inbox, and those of the IT Pro team, now for some weeks.

Many of these are just marketing missives dressed as a glimpse into the future. But there are a few ideas that stand out as having potential to influence the course of business technology over the next 12 months, and beyond.

Big data and data analytics look set to continue to grow in importance. Businesses have been increasing their investments in analytics technology for a good few years now, trying to capture the value in the information they hold and gather.

The real challenge for now is not capturing the data, or even putting in the infrastructure to analyse it. It is turning that analysis into business insights. Expect people who can interpret the information coming out of business intelligence and big data projects to be in strong demand in 2015.

The Internet of Things will start to change the way we use technology. IoT is not new, but in 2015 it should start to move beyond the heavy-industrial applications for machine to machine communications, and headline-grabbing consumer plays (connected fridges, anyone?) to systems that businesses can use.

A lot of the hard work will be in unglamorous areas, such as building management, transportation, and logistics. But as with the growth of big data, the growth of IoT, and the instrumented business, will be constrained by a lack of people who know what to do with the information thrown up by smart devices and sensors. Programmers will look to automate the monitoring of systems that monitor the physical environment, and tie the results to back-end IT such as CRM and ERP.

Privacy and security will become a real challenge for boards, and governments. We've already seen some significant data breaches and privacy failures in 2014, and we've seen growing evidence that nation states are treating cyberspace as a strategic theatre of operations.

Vulnerabilities such as Heartbleed and Shellshock have played their part in making boards or at least, boards that were not already worried about IT security sit up and take notice.

And the public, too, is becoming increasingly aware of security and privacy issues.

Whether that is the result of the leaking of risqu celebrity photos, the ongoing saga of large-scale data breaches affecting retailers and other organisations handling payment card information and personal data, or issues such as the Sony Pictures hack and the postponement of the release of the movie, The Interview (still unresolved at the time of writing), you would have had to have been lurking very deep in the data room to avoid cyber security news.

Expect more in 2015 but also expect business leaders to start to ask IT for security and privacy advice, rather than waiting for a breach.