Where is IT - and derived technologies - headed in 2016 and beyond?

posted Jan 28, 2016, 5:03 AM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Jan 28, 2016, 5:34 AM ]
On Tuesday Safepark was privileged to participated in the 30th IDC Directions event in Copenhagen. IDC Directions has since 1986 been an event, at which leading IT people in Denmark gathered to hear the latest predictions about the developments in IT in the coming year and beyond. Predictions, which has always been based on the latest surveys done by IDC analyst both globally and in the Nordic area. This years event was at the IDA Meeting Center on the Copenhagen Harbourfront. Naturally there was a 30th Anniversary cake during the coffee break.

After a welcome by IDC associate vice president Charlotte Poulsen did IDC senior vice president & chief analyst Frank Gems talk on 'The 3rd Platform is the building base for "Innovation Accelerators"' based on input from 1100 analyst worldwide he talked about 8 of the 10 identified mayor areas of interest in the coming year and the next 2,3 or 5 years. The largest of these trends is the CEO-led digital transformation will drive what is done in and with IT in the coming years. Already next year 2/3 of companies survey will have a corporate strategy as part of digital transformation. Such a strategy was recently announced by the CEO of the Danish pump company Grundfos. IDC has together with a major player developed a 5 step digital transformation maturity model against which companies can benchmark themselves and decide where they want to be. Frank Gems also stated, that by 2018 45% of IT budgets will be controlled by line of business executive - thus signaling a major change for the place of IT within companies.

The second trend was spending on the so-called 3rd Platform, which will grow to 50% of all IT-spending. Spending on the 3rd Platform appear to increase by 13% year over year, while spending on legacy systems decline by 4% year over year. Not surprisingly IDC predicts increasing focus on the Cloud as a core platform, with 65% of enterprise infrastructure and storage spending being cloud based in 2018. A result of this will be increased need for people with skills in monitoring and managing hybrid clouds.

A fourth trend was not surprisingly Internet of Things, or what IDC calls the intelligent edge. Already by 2018 they expect 22 billion connected devices rising to 30 billion already in 4 years time. All these devices will mean the creation of more than 200000 unique new apps within the next three years form apps monitoring how we brush our teeth to apps which allow our doctors access to infomation about our activity record including regular measurements of blood oxygen content and other paramters using wireless sensor technology. Essential tools to make this happen is found within Artificial Intelligence (AI), also called machine learning or cognitive everything. Most of this - about 60% - will be powered by four major players: Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft. Again people with skills in cognitive areas will be in high demand. We will also see an increase in the development of industry cloud platforms with industry specific app stores. This will also lead to new types of collaboration among companies earlier seen as competitors. Finally there will be increased focus on customer experience.

This talk was followed by IDC chief analyst Anders Elbak on "Marketing potential in the digital transformation in the Noridcs". He stated that 4 of 10 CEO's have digital transformation on the agenda, however the number one focus area in the Nordics is productivity and effectivety, This is - according to Anders Elbak - properly because DX is viewed as a tool. Anders Elbak also mentioned, that homeless people in Copenhagen selling "Hus forbi" - magazine published by the homeless - now accept mobile pay. Anders Elbak finished by stating, that DX is not a goal, but a means to achieving a goal.

The participants at IDC Directions was also offered an opportunity to developed a concept for one of the 200000 apps mentioned above. Each of six tables were giving a topic and 15 minutes to discuss the idea, before presenting it to the other participants in 30 seconds. It was interesting to see the creativity spoored by this exercise. I think such exercises, which only take about 30 minutes, should be part of more future events.This will help generally increase creativity.

The trend mentioned here will also impact process safety and process security specifically, but in general also the process industry. On example of this is the new pilot plant at Texas A&M University which use wireless sensors and controllers, and hence avoid a large amount of wiring. This kind of technology also make it much easier to reconfigure the control structure.

At the end of the half day event 13 predictions for 2016 were presented. We will know how that went at the start of 2017. The 3 best prediction from last years event each received a bottle of 30 year old rum.