by Chris Stone

Top 3 trends for CIOs in 2018

Jan 02, 2018
IT Leadership

Industry leaders will need more than flexible IT and a strong dev team, but a fresh way of thinking about what their company builds, buys and prioritizes.

cloud trends 2017
Credit: Thinkstock

With the new year upon us, tech leaders and key decision makers need to be prepared for a few curveballs. As expected, the most successful companies will need to be agile, hire top talent and embrace emerging technologies, but the expectations won’t stop there.

Industry leaders will need more than flexible IT and a strong dev team, but a fresh way of thinking about what their company builds, buys and prioritizes. To give your company a head start, let’s take a closer look at the three trends that will be game-changers in 2018:

1. Scaling in the cloud

Over the past few years, migrating to the cloud has become standard practice. The value in its flexibility and industry leading services is a no brainer, but the shift hasn’t been smooth sailing for all. For example, many companies like NASDAQ recently made the decision to shift to the cloud, but originally invested in building applications on premise. To avoid tossing these investments out the window, companies that built internal apps using Node.js (JavaScript frameworks) and other popular languages like Python, C++ and PHP, have to scale their solutions in the cloud—which is easier said than done. 

This process requires companies to consolidate and refactor internal applications built in traditional environments, and migrate them to a public cloud. Organizations need to account for this in the planning phase of 2018 and allocate time and resources appropriately. Additionally, they need to pay close attention to governance and security as a key component of their cloud architecture. Otherwise, the burden could weigh heavily on your IT team and make it difficult to stay on track.

2. Establishing machine learning ROI

For better or worse, machine learning is finding its way into every corner of the enterprise. But at the moment, many companies seem to adopt machine learning capabilities just because they can, not because it makes a substantial impact on their bottom line. For example, it seems like every website now has a “chat here” button for customers to talk in real time with automated customer service bots. But does this feature really have a substantial ROI in the near term? Additionally, AWS’s Polly, the customizable text-to-speech engine, has made it easy for companies to dip their toe into machine learning, but has yet to prove an outstanding financial benefit.

As we look to 2018, all of this will start to change. It won’t be long until machine learning features will become tables stakes for working with content and data. As the technology progresses, we’ll see AI systems consistently solve complex problems and deliver meaningful outputs; virtual assistants and chatbots will become truly conversational, and in turn, more valuable. With advancements in the space happening quickly, 2018 will be the year we see a real ROI for machine learning in the enterprise.

3. Rethinking security

In light of the dozens of cyber security hacks over the past few years, there’s been a pendulum swing towards an over-regulated, third-party-driven security market that’s often unproductive for enterprise organizations.

At the moment, there are three major components of the cloud security landscape: software and hardware intrusion detection services designed to keep hackers out; compliance audits to ensure your information security practices meet agreed upon standards; and government-backed data privacy regulations like GDPR established to protect citizens’ data. These components may sound good at first, but these third-party regulations are forcing companies to shape their security practices around standards that don’t necessarily make sense for their business.

As drawbacks to this approach become clear, we’re bound for the pendulum to swing back in 2018— this time, with a renewed focus on developing internal expertise and best practices. Rather than lean on third parties to protect customer data, enterprises will look to build their own internal intrusion detection, threat detection, and key management capabilities to stop cyberattacks before they happen.

Let the new year begin

Adapting to these trends will require a reshuffling of priorities and a fresh mindset about what exactly is needed to be successful. These trends are emerging fast, but if they’re taken into consideration in the early stages of 2018, you’ll be in a strategic position to hit the ground running in the new year.