Published on the 16/12/2015 | Written by Ross Mason
What is 2016 likely to bring? The answer, as is quite usual for the technology industry, is highly likely to be an intensification of concepts already in the market, writes Ross Mason…
The five key trends which will gather pace next year are:
Internet of Things (and a better mousetrap)
In 2016, IoT use cases will come to life, rather than steps forward in devices themselves. With CES in January, hundreds of new IoT devices will be released, but it won’t be the devices themselves that make waves. It will be the clever use of those devices to generate value. For instance, 90-year old pest control firm Rentokil connects its mousetraps through IoT technology, and has increased operational efficiency through the automatic notifications of a caught animal and its size. Overall, the key theme for 2016 will be identifying the value niches within industries that can benefit from IoT technology rather than trying to change the entire industry. For healthcare, it will likely be connected patients. For retail, it will be around making stronger connections between traditional and digital shopping.
More cloud (more often)
When it comes to the cloud, enterprises are in an awkward tween stage — somewhere between the old world and new. CIOs will continue to adopt cloud applications and seek better ways to connect on-premises systems and the cloud. Hybrid IT is now the reality for many enterprises and many are going through a refresh of their platforms, both business and technology. They are looking for scalable ways to connect and move data to the cloud, on-premises and back again as needed. There is a big emphasis on APIs to unlock data and capabilities in a reusable way, with many companies looking to run their APIs in the cloud and in the data centre. On-premises APIs offer a way to unlock legacy systems and connect them with cloud applications, which is crucial for cloud-first strategies. More businesses will run APIs in the cloud, providing elasticity to cope with spikes in demand and enabling them to adapt and innovate.
Omnichannel strategy (seeing is believing)
More industries will turn to omnichannel strategies to attract and retain customers with improved consumer experiences. In particular, the retail industry will embrace an online-offline approach. E-commerce stores will turn to a complementary brick and mortar store strategy, attempting to bring online shoppers in-store with exclusive offerings and deals, or add value by offering a unique experience beyond the ability to purchase in person. Eyewear retailer Warby Parker offers convenience and choice through a huge online selection, and provides custom fittings or repairs in-store. It’s not just retail either; companies turning to an omnichannel strategy will rely on APIs to create a link between cloud and on-premises systems.
Changing role of the CIO
CIOs are shifting from traditional models to delivering capabilities to their business units which allows them to build their own applications and processes. This decentralisation of IT means IT no longer owns applications but instead governs the data. This contributes to the expanding partnership between business and IT. CIOs are embracing the role of business enabler and are gaining confidence in doing things differently. Successful CIOs will come to the table with a vision that helps put the company on a course of action toward greater digital transformation.
The key step is decentralising IT by opening up APIs to developers and analysts, so they can gain access to reusable data. Additionally, IT will standardise on business and technology platforms to reduce technology footprint.
Rise of the API Economy
More enterprises will adopt an API strategy, with the goal of enabling greater agility and efficiency and driving innovation to compete with emerging startups. Companies like Uber and Slack have achieved major success through open API approaches; now, established businesses will follow a similar strategy. Traditional enterprises will open up APIs internally to break down information silos and unlock data, before opening up those APIs to third parties, creating new revenue channels.
Ross Mason is the founder of MuleSoft.