I had the great pleasure of meeting with several IT industry analysts last week in Boston. In each meeting, the conversation quickly turned to big data, analytics and the growing gap between what most IT departments can do and what businesses feel they need.
We can assume the analysts are talking to many others in the industry so if we’re having a mind meld on the topic, chances are we’re on to something.
Based on several discussions, here are my very early predictions for the new year:
- Business has a bigger voice. Thanks in part to consumerization and BYOD, business users feel strongly that it can and should have a hand in how things are decided, planned, implemented and maintained.
- In-memory databases and grid computing will be the default setting and batch processing will be the way to do research, not operations. In fact, ‘batch on demand’ may be the way relational databases survive…in the cloud, as IaaS. Hadoop is already so 2011. The concepts behind Hadoop will endure, albeit as in-memory data.
- Platform as a Service is about to be the new SaaS. It is expensive and risky to make heavy investments in infrastructure when so much is in flux. The largest companies will continue as before (mostly), but small and medium businesses will need a low-cost alternative.
- IT is falling behind. The cost of maintaining a creaky infrastructure is killing the IT budget. Any incremental budget is going to the business for SaaS applications. PaaS represents a very attractive ‘Hail Mary’ option for those aware of the predicament. The other option is an enormous investment in infrastructure…but who has that clout?
- There is a shortage of data scientists. But more than that, there is a shortage of people who know the R programming language (used for statistical programming and Big Data analytics). Everyone loves its power as a concept, but few know how to make it sing. Add to the challenge: It isn’t particularly well supported.
- Business process continues to creep forward as streamlined processes (manual and automatic) become the way to gain business, get cheaper and avoid disasters. The IT-business gap is closing with process as the common language.
This is just a preview of what to expect. Stay tuned as the conversation continues.