It is around this time each year that companies reflect on the events from the past twelve months that have shaped the market as well as their own strategy, both in IT as well as wider business. More importantly still, these companies will also be looking forward to what they expect to see happening in 2019 in order to plan ahead. At Node4 we are no exception, and my role of providing direction for both new and existing customer relationships means that I spend a lot of time listening to the challenges customers are facing both now and ones that they can see coming down the road this year.
Here are my key predictions which include areas where we expect to see the market grow, challenges customers will face and the solutions that will help solve these issues:
1. Software-defined networking – ‘SDN’ will reach a new level of maturity in the marketplace championed by vendors like Cisco, Fortinet, Silver Peak and VMWare. SD-WAN implementations in the UK will increase across the enterprise landscape with customers wanting increased levels of security, enriched features and most importantly a great user experience with the continued push towards SaaS applications such as Office 365, Google GSuite, SalesForce etc.
2. Hybrid cloud – This will continue to be the go-to model for IT workloads driven by security, features, regulation and budget types within the IT department. A best of breed methodology will exist within the enterprise architect’s capability toolkit spanning colocation, private and public cloud deployments. Services offerings such as Node4 Services Gateway can help bridge the gap between all deployment models.
3. Hyper-converged infrastructure – The HCI market will continue to grow exponentially as customers looks to simplify infrastructure deployments and reduce complexity in the data centre. The scale out model will be used by both end users and managed service providers and will move us all one step closer to the software defined data centre.
4. Automation – Infrastructure as code (IaC) will gain significant traction in the coming years as CIOs continue to drive the speed and agility within organisations, picking a suitable partner is key here if the talent doesn’t already exist within the IT department. Considerable benefits are to be obtained at the value end of business application delivery if teams can work together and deliver automated builds, environments and deployment.
5. Security in the cloud – Security products such as SIEM (security information and event management) and CASB (cloud access security brokers) will continue to gain market share as customers realise that applications outside of the traditional data centre firewalls require an elevated security wrap. The CISO roles within organisations will be championing these technologies.
All of the above will form at least part of the complex IT strategies of today’s organisations where agility and pace of delivery are key in such a competitive marketplace. Driving a reduced supplier count at procurement level and leveraging strong technology partners who can deliver on all of the above and drive value will be key for success.