2020 Information Technology (IT) more of same or 2020 vision required now

The year 2020 has a nice ring to it.

2020 sounds like the type of year discussed in science fiction Hollywood movies as a transformational year far away in the future. But it’s not that far away, it’s five years’ time and IT services and solutions is definitely not Hollywood.  Is 2020 too far away to plan for or so near it shouldn’t be feared – in my opinion it’s a resounding NO to both.  2020 and the impact of information technology on future business outcomes should be top of mind for every IT professional. If IT decisions are being made now that will deliver the technology platform for growth and change not just for today but equally over the next 5 years and beyond, 2020 vision is essential today.

At this point it may be easy to reply, “but surely not much will change in five years’ – to that statement, I can’t agree. In my opinion we will see “right size, right use” IT deliver levels of such resounding change & value over the next five years that today’s IT architectural perspective must shift and shift now. Starting with networks, in five years’ time the SDN euphoria may subside as many of today’s networks will be well on the way to a degree of fabric aligned convergence underpinned by optimised hardware that leverages automation and orchestration seamlessly. As a starter for ten all of the benefits of an intelligent programmable network dont just make cloud computing work, its fundamental to a successful cloud future. This healthy amalgam of hardware and software will deliver a friction free, dynamic application transport fabric still benefiting from the intelligence and inputs of highly competent network architects, but enhanced by software and automation. And why am I so confident of this state – “because the tangible benefits realised will be immense and too compelling to ignore”. The potential and business benefit of a network capable of changing personality (to a degree) on the fly, calibrated by real time application or user requirements will lead to the most optimum network performance level delivered “in that moment”. Surely that must be a real world business benefit that delivers material and repeatable value to any user or business.

But it doesn’t end there, 2020 must see a different security look, feel and outcome delivered by IT products, services and solutions. If organisations currently fear the in situ advanced persistent threat often in play as we speak but undetected within even the best protected enterprises across the world, by 2020 the mental acumen required to launch such an attack will be greatly reduced. Whether the attack is out tasked to a “hacker for hire”, occurs via an even more proficient malicious insider, or as a result of a seemingly harmless mistake (a laptop left on a train), the ramifications of breach or data loss will be colossal. If many believe we are on a journey starting now to digitise the enterprise, by 2020 many organisations may be exploiting their digital DNA to its full potential (often via enhanced the use of accessible data analytics platforms like Hadoop or Splunk), with the result a security breach or attack could halt an organisation short term or even permanently almost like a digital cardiac arrest. And lets not add the unknown benefits and effect of a growing internet of connected things (IOT) often unseen but very easy to access and manipulate. To that end security transformation plans today without 2020 vision top of mind may be destined to fail.

But in the midst of this 2020 chronicle of interest (networking), must do (security) there is a story of real excitement (UC) as we end this overview. UC will allow 2020 users to engage with greater productivity  with 2020 users – let’s call it REAL collaboration. Unified Communications has struggled to date within the enterprise due to circa fifteen years of potential and promise but with the result for many no more than a digital dial tone. But with 2020 in mind all of that is set to change with user pervasive UC a “must have” element within any “good to great” enterprise. The social network user persona is no longer the template of the teenage smartphone user, it’s the norm for preschool children, babies (with digital tablets and intelligent toys), the digital savvy Y & Z generation, the “baby boomers” for everything from shopping to collaboration with friends abroad and retirees who just want to stay in touch. And how do they achieve this, via a smart phone capable of communicating via different communications channels (video, voice, IM, social, browser) unified together by the network unified on a single device. In short if UC is starting to work now, driven by the growth of social ideals, the smartphone and tablets within modern enterprises by 2020 as they reach critical mass, enterprise UC will be the communications glue that keeps organisations, their users and their customers – “communicating”.

This ends my short roundup on 2020 and the potential our 2020 future holds. But 2020 isn’t far away and business decisions that drive IT change (or IT change that enables business innovation) happening now without 2020 vision in mind may be built with failure by design through the core. Now is the time not just to plan, but to do – no one wants to be the victim of a digital heart attack.

Until next time.

Colin W

Twitter: @colinwccuk

Chief Technologist:  Networking, Security & Communications.

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About Colin Williams

Colin is Computacenter's Practice Leader for Networking, Visual Collaboration & Security @colinwccuk

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