This ain’t no predictions BLOG

Last week I was fortunate to be asked to appear on one of my favourite podcasts, Arrow Bandwidth. I was joined by a group of my technology peers and was asked to do the thing that people like to do this time of year and make some predictions for 2017.

I’m not much of a predictions person and not licenced to drive a crystal ball, so thought it would be better to, rather than try to predict things that were going to take us by surprise in 2017, focus more on things from 2016 that will potentially grow more rapidly in 2017.

I’m not going to steal the thunder of my co-conspirators on the episode, you can check out the entire episode at the bottom of this post, but I did think it would be worth sharing those handful of topics that I expect we will see a lot more of this year;

Overall Theme – Data

Pretty sure no shocks here, how we store, secure, protect and get
the best from our data is going to continue to be a very significant part of IT focus in 2017 and will drive many of the key trends that I think we’ll see develop and dominate the tech landscape this year.

Governance and Control

This really accelerated last year and I can’t see any slowdown in 2017, hot topics like GDPR will ensure that control and security of data is high on the list of many a tech leader.

(Wondering why should you care about data privacy? Check out my chat with Sheila Fitzpatrick here to find out more)

It will be imperative to know the

  • What
  • Where
  • Who
  • When
  • Why

of our data. Not knowing who is accessing it, where it is, what it contains and why it is accessed will become increasingly unacceptable for leaders of an organisation. If it isn’t, you may want to ask the question why isn’t it?

I’d expect to see the continued growth of tools that provide behavioural analytics as the only realistic way of managing this problem, it’s no good working with tools that are based on knowns, they have to be things that can understand what is the norm and when that norm is deviated from.

Getting the most from your data

I think this is a truly fascinating area and fits with my belief that the most successful businesses will be the ones who know how to gain valuable insight from their d

The more and more data we gather, the more value can be gained from it if we know what is in it and have the tools to understand it. What excites me about this, is how the big cloud providers have truly democratised the ability to do this. The likes of Microsoft, Amazon, data-analyticsGoogle and IBM means that any organisation with a need for data analytics can access these services easily and cost effectively.

Increasingly these tools are getting easier for us to exploit, take something like Microsoft’s PowerBI plugged into familiar applications like Excel, allowing us to use powerful analytics from the comfort of our own desktop.

A word of warning though, to truly gain value from data you do need to know what you are doing, I read this great article in Forbes recently on this very subject. But even with that in mind, I have no doubt this will continue to be a fascinating area of growth..

End User Data Analytics

This took off at a real pace last year. Modern IT has to focus on delivering an effective experience to users, but for many of us, we realise how difficult dealing with a call that goes something like “my machine is running a bit slow” is. The problem is  many of our current IT monitoring tools only ever look at our core infrastructure, networks, servers, storage and often we’ll see these things with lots of green lights thinking all is well.

However, last year saw a rise in tools that started to look at IT performance from a user perspective, quickly identifying things like performance dips and configuration changes allowing us to spot poor performing software and badly written apps.

Spotting odd client device behaviour also has another benefit. Odd device behaviour is often the sign of a compromised machine, performance dips, machines connecting to sites they shouldn’t, or attempting to hit services they shouldn’t are all valuable warnings of a potential wider threat.

Our friend behavioural analytics again plays an important part, only technology that understands and learns the difference between normal and abnormal behaviour will be effective.

Make it Easier

Something I hope to see more of, is a drive toward simplification of our end user experience. Technology users today want to be able to focus on their work and not be lost and delayed by overly complex application delivery.

As those who deliver technology into our organisations we should understand IT cannot be seen as an impediment to doing business, we need to be able to react quickly to change, understand our business needs and how technology can help us meet them and not be the department that always says no, because if we are then our business will go around us, or maybe replace us with people who can be more agile and reactive.

DevOps isn’t just a buzzword but a way of working that we need to embrace and simplification of how we deliver our services, with better process and increased automation is a key part of this.

So in 2017, what am I expecting to see? A need for more understanding of our environments, of our data’s value, investment in data security and of course grasping the nettle of simplification.

It will continue to be a  fast moving and challenging world for technology pro’s but it’s an exciting one and a great opportunity to grasp.

So go grasp it and have a great 2017.

I hope you enjoyed this post, if you did, why not try out my tech interviews podcast at or you can find the back catalogue and notes on the Techstringy Interviews section of this site.

Check out the Arrow Bandwidth Podcast right here;

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