Cloud confidence, vendor ecosystems and less drudgery: 5 tech trends for 2020

This time of year sees a deluge of articles from thought leaders and futurists predicting the big tech trends set to emerge over the next 12 months. We don’t have a crystal ball; instead we’ve listened to what our clients have told us about their biggest concerns, challenges, opportunities and priorities. Based on what we’ve heard, here’s what we think will change the game in 2020.

1. CONFIDENCE WILL GROW IN THE BENEFITS OF CLOUD

Analyst group 451 Research expects that around one-third of enterprise IT spending will be on hosting and cloud services this year, indicating “a growing reliance on external sources of infrastructure, application, management and security services”. We’re certainly seeing evidence of a shift from ‘doing it all’ towards managed services. More organisations have overcome their initial fears about the security and reliability of cloud, and are asking about moving from colocation solutions to a private cloud deployment. This indicates a growing level of comfort with cloud, with more businesses feeling ready to take advantage of the benefits of outsourcing, including reduced cost and workload.

2. SMALLER IT VENDORS WILL BUILD ECOSYSTEMS TO PROVIDE A MORE COHESIVE OFFERING

Businesses expect ever-higher levels of service. Rather than striving to deliver everything clients demand, smaller providers will stick to their core specialism and look to collaborate with a range of other specialist partners who can fill the gaps. This will create an ecosystem that offers clients a flexible set of solutions and tailored services which takes the best from each vendor.

Building these partnerships will require a mindset change. Vendors will have to be open and realistic about their skillsets and strengths, and decisive about what they do, and – as importantly – what they don’t do.

3. MORE ROUTINE ELEMENTS OF MANAGING IT WILL BE AUTOMATED

Our clients tell us they’re keen to reduce complexity in how they run their services, and they don’t want the burden of understanding the detail and managing the tech. Service providers will increasingly implement software platforms that automate more of the routine tasks involved in process and system management, such as resetting passwords, amending networking settings or changing access rights.

This simplification will improve the user experience, and eliminate the need to upskill people: the client can just consume the resource. Process automation also brings significant cost efficiencies.

4. GREATER INVESTMENT IN HYBRID SOLUTIONS

More businesses are recognising the benefits of operating a mixed hosting environment, in particular to spread risk and retain flexibility. Many are seeking solutions that not only mix private cloud and public cloud, but which also incorporate colocation. Having an infrastructure that blends all these options enables the organisation to decide on the most appropriate environment for each dataset or application, and easily shift it if requirements change.

Vendors need to be able to manage and support a hybrid customer’s infrastructure holistically, with an understanding of all the different resources and the ability to connect them together into a single system.

5. CYBERSECURITY WILL BECOME AN EVEN GREATER PRIORITY

According to recent research*, 55% of UK firms experienced a cyber-attack in 2019, up 15% on the previous year. As the cyber threat grows, and mobile and remote working practices become the norm, risk will rise. Businesses must review and overhaul their cybersecurity strategies to protect data when it’s at rest and on the move, while embracing more productive ways of working. Encryption is one effective approach. We’re also seeing more clients protecting their websites with web application firewalls (WAF), which monitor, filter and block traffic to and from web servers, which need to remain ‘open’.

*Softcat 2019

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