Last year, I was drafting my predictions for 2017 while reflecting on the developments and innovations that had taken place in cloud during the 20 years since Vuzion’s parent company, Cobweb, was created in 1996.
This year, I’m looking ahead to the key areas to watch in 2018 as I look back on the evolution of IT in the cloud over the past year – and, while these are changes and advancements that have taken place in the space of one year as compared to the 20 I was evaluating in 2016, it’s a year that, nevertheless, has seen major growth and development across many areas.
As for 2018, I believe there are some new and emerging topics that will take centre stage, while there will also be a continuing focus on some of the issues and topics dominant in 2017:
1. Business transformation: last year, I forecast that 2017 would see an increasing move to digital transformation. I’m making a slight change to that for 2018, to say that I believe it will be business transformation enabled by digital solutions that will feature significantly.
2. Cloud adoption: my prediction for 2017 was that cloud adoption would continue to rise – and this is also a forecast for 2018, building on the massive growth that did indeed take place in 2017. Microsoft, for example, now has 120 million users of Office 365 worldwide, representing a $20 billion revenue market.
3. Security: last year I wrote, “Unfortunately, security threats – ransomware, spear phishing, etc. – will continue” to cause disruption throughout 2017. And, regrettably, I was spot on with this, and attacks have indeed caused major problems across the world.
When WannaCry emerged in May, more than 230,000 computers were infected across more than 150 countries within one day, according to reports. Organisations and businesses – regardless of size – were affected, including Spain’s Telefonica, FedEx, and a considerable number of NHS departments here in the UK. And then Petya hit in June – and served to further highlight the need to implement appropriate measures to secure and protect identity, data, apps and devices. It’s important, too, to bear in mind that email remains the starting point for most malware attacks.
4. Artificial intelligence (AI): AI is new on my list for 2018. But, 2017 saw such advancement in the field that I’m convinced major development will carry on through 2018, with AI continuing to have a major impact on business and home life. The emphasis will be on AI helping people do more, rather than replacing them, and in particular, BOTs and the use of machine learning will have significant focus.
5. Voice in the cloud: in 2017, voice in the cloud grew massively, and I predict that this trend will continue in 2018. Cisco has invested heavily in buying VoIP (Voice over IP) provider Broadsoft, for example, and Microsoft Skype for Business has seen such massive take-up globally, it is to become part of Teams, Microsoft’s increasingly adopted collaboration app.
6. Hybrid cloud: I predict that hybrid cloud will see major growth in 2018. Microsoft’s Azure Stack enables businesses to bring the agility and innovation of cloud computing to on-premises environments, and platform as a service is really starting to take off.
7. Last year, I wrote that although GDPR (the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation) is not due to come into effect until 25 May 2018, 2017 would see organisations “recognise they need to at least begin making plans to meet the regulations and putting relevant measures in place.” With now less than six months to go before the regulation comes into force, organisations will be increasingly focusing on preparing for 25 May – and while no one single piece of technology can create compliancy, IT will continue to play a major part in helping businesses meet GDPR’s requirements governing the storage, management, and processing of personal data.
8. Training: and my final prediction is that I foresee training in 2018 taking on an increasingly important focus within organisations across the board, regardless of industry and size. The pace of change in technology means that it’s essential for businesses to invest in relevant training programmes, so that the workforce is able to provide the best possible customer experiences through utilising solutions and services to their full advantage.
We’ll be commenting on developments across these eight areas throughout 2018, along with bringing you other cloud news and reviews.
In the meantime, from us all at Vuzion, we wish you a happy Christmas, and a prosperous and profitable 2018.