From cloud, to AI, to trust issues, eight industry experts give their insight into what topics and tech will dominate 2019.
James Henigan, cloud and managed services director, Six Degrees
Multi-cloud is one of the most pervasive trends in technology today. Historically, this started in some cases by accident rather than through strategic direction, and many companies encountered the pain of dealing with multiple suppliers, technologies, commercial, contractual and support models that only enterprises could truly deal with the management overheads for.
By piecing together the right services from the right suppliers, multi-cloud services are often likely to be the best technical solution for a company. However, multi-cloud often requires a middle service management tier to help remove the pain of the contractual, commercial and support model variations.
Managed service providers and the management tool marketplace are continuing to evolve at pace to support this demand and deliver simplicity, making multi-cloud solutions accessible to SME and SMB organisations. In 2019, I expect organisations of all sizes and industry verticals to take steps to leverage the benefits of multi-cloud architectures to drive their digital transformation strategies.
Alan Conboy, office of the CTO, Scale Computing
In 2019 Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will nearly reach its full potential by connecting and processing data faster over a global distribution of edge computing platforms. AI and ML insights have always been available, but possibly leveraged a bit slower than needed over cloud platforms or traditional data centres.
Now we can move the compute and storage capabilities closer to where data is retrieved and processed, enabling companies, organisations and government agencies to make wiser and faster decisions.
We’re already seeing this in the way airlines build and service airplanes, government defence agencies respond to hackers and how personal assistants make recommendations for future online purchases. This year, thanks to AI and ML, someone will finally know if that special someone really wants a fruitcake or power washer.
Gregg Mearing, head of managed services at Node4
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.
Gary Watson, CTO of StorCentric and founder of Nexsan
This year we have seen people gravitate towards high capacity storage, which is being fuelled by the growing volume and complexity of data. 2018 was full of the challenges that having a massive media library comes with, but with the upcoming implementation of high density and scalable storage in 2019, these challenges will be significantly reduced.
One of the main struggles we have seen is the difficulty of storing data in different locations, but with automation tools improving and becoming more accessible, users will be able to make decisions about where their data is stored and for how long.
In 2019, we are most likely to see organisations taking advantage of this in a hybrid cloud model, creating the perfect IT balance.
Jon Toor, CMO at Cloudian
More enterprises will adopt a multi-cloud strategy to avoid vendor lock-in and enhance their business flexibility. However, a multi-cloud approach raises new management challenges that users will need to address to ensure a positive experience.
Jake Madders, director at Hyve Managed Hosting
A lot of industry talk is focused around the biggest cloud players – Google, AWS, Azure – and their next moves. But it’s important to take notice of the wider cloud and hosting industry, which offers a huge range of highly competitive and innovative solutions, particularly in key areas such as hybrid cloud technology, managed services and security.
The UK cloud industry, in particular, is a vibrant and ambitious sector, and 2019 will see more great examples of domestic and international growth. Some UK cloud businesses are taking their ambition directly to the home markets of the biggest global players by expanding to the US.
And, whatever the uncertainties around Brexit, the domestic cloud and hosting markets will continue to show strong levels on innovation, and those providers who can excel at customer service will be in the best position to succeed.
Nigel Tozer, solutions marketing director at Commvault
In 2019, trust is going to be at a premium. People are fed up of data breaches – no-one likes to think of their personal data in the hands of cyber-criminals, let alone financial details such as payment card information.
Businesses really need to win trust on two fronts with their customers; they need to feel reassured that their data is available when they need it but still kept securely, and they also need to trust companies not to abuse their data. Achieving this will require organisations to take a hard look at how they manage and protect their customer’s data, and ensure they have the right policies and processes in place to earn and maintain this trust.
Neil Barton, CTO at WhereScape
Cloud-first is the new norm. In 2019, large enterprises will fully embrace this stance and will expend considerable resources on creating and maintaining hybrid cloud environments. Alongside this, as businesses modernise their data infrastructure, we’ll also see a move to being automation-first – making automation of data ingestion and processing a standard part of any cloud migration effort.
New environments bring fresh challenges, and companies making this transition will not only be evolving how they work to best leverage the cloud, they will also be navigating working within an infrastructure where they data resides both on-premises and on different cloud environments.
Companies will need to become more agile in how they execute a multi-cloud strategy, so we will see increasingly rapidly adoption and development of new cloud environments, powered by automation.