Siddhartha Chatterjee, CTO, Persistent Technologies takes a look at eight digital technology trends that he believes will be game changers for software driven enterprises in 2016 and beyond
#1 Machine Intelligence
From optimizing a driver’s route in real-time to recognizing faces in photographs, software is running complex processes that require “learning” of new information from multiple data sources and past outcomes. With the availability of many proprietary and open-source cloud-hosted machine learning platforms, these techniques are becoming available to every enterprise. We will see major adoption of these algorithms and platforms in driving operational efficiencies, predicting failures, customizing user experience, and discovering new revenue channels. With greater emphasis on unsupervised and reinforcement learning techniques, expect automated intelligent customer service chatbots, as well as advances in cybersecurity, genomics, personalized medicine, and drug discovery.
Blockchain is a distributed, transparent, and auditable ledger that establishes trust, immutability, and integrity through cryptographically powered distributed consensus models. It has been independently recognized for its broader potential beyond powering Bitcoin. 2015 saw some breakout platforms and alliances emerge to take this forward in domains such as finance, IoT, and supply chain – including the group led by the Linux Foundation to build an open-source enterprise-grade blockchain.We expect to see the emerging platforms mature and sign on early adopters, and to unleash significant disruptive innovation, especially in the Financial, Government, and Commerce domains.
A “container” is a packaged runtime environment for an application along with its dependencies and configuration files. Containers enable us to move applications seamlessly from one (cloud) environment to another; allow greater agility between the development and operations teams; and serve as a catalyst for enterprise transformation.The past two years have seen an incredible growth in the container ecosystem, from core technology innovation to rich suites of tools for orchestration, monitoring, and management.
Key enterprise concerns such as security, isolation, trustworthiness of images, audit trails, and persistent data storage have been addressed. Enterprises need to start evaluating and testing containers now, as adopting this technology will require a significant change in skills, operations, and workflows that are historically slow to change.
#4 Adaptive Security and Data Governance
As digital strategies open the enterprise further and drive up customer data collection, security policies will need to be enforced using a dynamic risk-based model. Enterprise security tools will ingest data and signals from endpoint security agents, application logs, external threat feeds, access control systems, and Data Loss Prevention platforms, continually score users and their activities, leverage machine learning algorithms, and adopt security postures needed to suit the complete context rather than isolated events.
Data governance will be a major issue, driven by high-profile data breaches, stringent legislation, and heightened consumer awareness. Enterprises will adopt tools that let them prioritize and designate the governance of their data and resources at the most granular level. Compliance tools that regulate cross-border data exchange will be an integral part of the data-driven digital ecosystem.
#5 Data Lakes
A“data lake” is a platform that can ingest multi-structured data from multiple sources and make it available for applications to consume however they want. Data lakes offer organizations not only a cost-effective way to store a lot of data, but also a way to optimize existing businesses and address new business opportunities. While some organizations have successful data lake implementations, the technology has been immature. We will see the emergence of more out-of-the-box technology options for data ingestion frameworks, data quality, and metadata discovery, along with best practices and guidelines that make it easier for enterprises to implement data lakes, both on-premise as well cloud-based.
#6 Interactive Analytics at Scale
While big data technologies allow analyzing large data sets, they also bring the additional complexity of multiple technologies and different programming paradigms. Enterprise business analysts and decision makers also expect to be able to interactively analyze data. Emerging data platforms will be collaborative by design and will offer a “single stack” interface that allows analysts to focus on the business problem and define their own analytics in a declarative form which the system then translates to a complete processing pipeline. The use of online aggregation techniques will become more mainstream.
#7 Mobile User Experience
We will see a significant focus on user experience as a business strategy, both to grow top-line revenue and to create stickier, long-term user engagement – largely mobile-centric. The app interface itself will fade into the background to make the experience more contextual, intuitive, and action-oriented. Learning the habits and preferences of users to customize the experience and app triggers will be the new normal. Simple and intuitive interfaces will dominate. Maintaining consistent state, interface, and capabilities across multiple devices will be the new normal.Inter-app communication will mature in security capabilities. A significant increase in the offerings and maturity of cross-platform development and testing platforms will move cross-platform apps closer to native apps in experience.
#8 Internet of Things (IoT)
We will see a strong growth of IoT devices in commerce, transportation, infrastructure, and enterprise, growth in deployment of systems that not only sense the world around them but react autonomously, and greater interoperability among devices and platforms. IoT will play in the hacking majors, with at least one major security incident that will be real and with severe consequences. While smart device and sensor manufacturers will benefit from the IoT boom, the true business value lies in the analysis of the sensor data and the business actions that can be taken. Intelligent systems that learn from user behavior, environmental data, and inputs received from other devices will be the biggest winners.
Every enterprise, regardless of scale or domain, should look at leveraging one or more of these technologies to power its digital transformation. We recommend starting from the end-user perspective and creating the ideal digital user experience. Innovate in small increments, get feedback from users, and iterate.
We wish you bon voyage on your enterprise digital transformation journey in 2016 and beyond.