One of the biggest changes in recent years in the IT market has been the use of platforms to deliver solutions. Software development may have moved on from the old waterfall style developments to agile delivery models, but many projects still required analysts to design solutions, developers to build them, and engineers to then deliver the product.
Consider just these three types of platform and the change becomes obvious:
1. Cloud; the ability to use a system remotely without local hardware or storage requirements and usually charged on a pay-as-you-use basis.
2. App Store; developing systems for Android or iOS and releasing them to the App Store allows software to be globally distributed instantly.
3. Social and mobile; the success of games such as Farmville or Mafia Wars has largely been because they were designed to be social – play is integrated into social networks such as Facebook so friends can actively engage with your game or compete with you.
These are all major changes to the way that software is designed and released. Not least, one of the biggest changes because of these platform adjustments is that business line heads – rather than the CIO – will make decisions on new IT systems. If the IT tools can be delivered without affecting the infrastructure of the client company then this is much more likely.
In particular, the cloud is changing how enterprise systems are delivered. Business users can pay for systems on a subscription basis without the need to plan for infrastructure and this is radically transforming how many companies see their use of IT and supportive software systems, such as ERP or CRM.
But even the cloud is undergoing rapid change. Many developers are now suggesting that there are some key trends to look for in the cloud market in 2019, such as:
1. Multicloud; AWS, Google, and Microsoft are the cloud giants and all have their strengths, but many companies are now exploring how to reduce their reliance on a single cloud supplier – for security, resilience, and to gain advantages from the strengths of each one.
2. Migration; it will be more common to migrate across different clouds to take advantage of deals or strengths from specific suppliers. New tools will make this much easier.
3. Governance; many companies still have fairly weak rules governing their cloud use and this will get stronger in 2019.
These are interesting points and worth noting. It has never been a good strategy to get locked into a single IT supplier and now we are seeing the same caution with cloud suppliers. 2019 will not only be a year of opportunity for various platforms, it will be a year where we start auditing how these platforms are being used.