Over the past 12 months we’ve seen artificial intelligence (AI) continue its growth and reach throughout society, data continuing to be the heart of intelligent businesses (albeit within a stricter regulatory environment), and the rise of technology-driven partnerships in support of digital transformation.
It’s clear that technology will continue to transform businesses. As planning and forecasting starts to shift towards 2019, we share a snapshot of views and expectations for the year ahead from some of our experts across Node4’s key focus areas.
Cloud“The drive towards AI will become much more of a focus for businesses next year, particularly as companies begin to realise the huge benefits in efficiency when it comes to building and deploying applications in the cloud. Take Microsoft, for example; increasingly its customers are using Azure AI to build apps that are smarter, more intuitive and responsive in order to free up people power, and we will see more of this in 2019. Businesses utilising the cloud will do well to leverage the mantra that ‘knowledge is power’, and applying predictive analytics to data that helps drive AI can mean companies can act on it and get ahead of the game. Working with a tech partner that has the technical capability to gather this data as well as provide consultancy of how it is used will be highly influential in helping organisations drive the benefit of AI in their businesses.” - Gregg Mearing, Head of Managed Services, Node4
“Hybrid cloud 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.” - Matt Hollis, Head of Technical Client Services, Node4
Security"Prompted by continued DDoS attacks and ransomware as the joint leading threat facing businesses, as highlighted by the UK’s National Crime Agency earlier in April, security spending in this area will likely continue to be a big priority next year. However, for continued protection and overall resilience through 2019, a combination of initiatives will be necessary; working with a strategic IT partner can help organisations of any size conduct comprehensive testing and analysis of vulnerabilities to ensure the best levels of prevention against potential threats.” - John Williams, Product Manager, Node4
“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.
- Matt Hollis, Head of Technical Client Services, Node4
“The advent of cloud computing has had a profound impact on how the channel operates, which will continue beyond 2019. The continued move away from the sale of traditional, physical infrastructures and systems towards bespoke software and services, supported by exceptional end-to-end service, remains the most fundamental change. As hardware margins continue to decline, the channel will strive to add more value around the customer and their journey to cloud, supporting the migration from legacy systems and facilitating access to a broader, more connected portfolio.”- Andy Wilson, Director of Channel Sales, Node4
Networks and Infrastructure“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.” - Matt Hollis, Head of Technical Client Services, Node4
As organisations continue to strive to be high-performing, a goal that depends on IT transformation, these predictions are likely to 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. Leveraging strong technology partners who can deliver on all of the above and drive value will be key for success.