Disruption seems almost certain in the realm of enterprise technology. Companies, providers and employees have gotten used to a rapid cycle of innovation, where technology capabilities can increase exponentially over night.
In 2017, enterprises are going to try to change and adapt as they have before, but with more focus on innovation and streamlining business processes. No longer can companies afford to remain complacent in terms of how they use technology.
To represent the New Year and the sharpened focus companies should have on technology, CIO Dive gathered seven trends certain to impact enterprise technology in 2017.
1. Digital transformation isn't going anywhere
Digital transformation is the buzzword that just won't quit. But there's a reason for that. Companies cannot escape the churning need to have a more digital business.
On one hand, there are digital trends that enable digital transformation, such as mobile, social, Big Data and cloud, according to Mike Golz, North America CIO at SAP. There are also different customer, supply and employee expectations that are driving digital transformation.
"I think the biggest item that needs to happen is that there is a realization on the executive level that digital transformation is happening."
North America CIO at SAP
In 2017, companies are going to start taking digital transformation seriously, making it a priority across all lines of business.
"I think the biggest item that needs to happen is that there is a realization on the executive level that digital transformation is happening," said Golz. "The discussion and definition of what role do you want to play in that new world as a company and then basically peeling back the onion and saying, 'okay what needs to happen both internally and externally for us to play the role that we aspire to?' "
The more digital companies become, the more rapidly they will be able to innovate and outpace competition.
2. The tech industry will rethink how it views outsourcing models
In the past, the industry used to think of outsourcing labor as involving foreign tech workers, whether through the use of H-1B visas or the workers staying outside the country for cheaper costs. But now, the outsourcing model has turned on its head. Companies that employ as a Service models are technically outsourcing labor, streamlining internal processes to free employees from day-to-day maintenance work.
Now there is a whole spectrum of outsourcing, according to Eric Pelander, managing director at Waterstone Management Group.
"At the lower end it's a labor arbitrage kind of model, which has been a big driver of productivity, whether that’s onshore or offshore models," he said. But the far more profitable, sustainable and differentiated model is where work is software driven.
The tech industry is starting to rethink outsourcing, allowing for a much less harsh reaction if a service provider is used. There is a changing attitude as companies adopt as a Service models that allow for what they call innovation, streamlined business or digital transformation.
3. Employers will look farther outside of IT for tech talent
The tech industry struggles with its talent pipeline. The number of qualified computer scientists is dwarfed by demand. While this is a good thing for workers who can ask for higher salaries, companies still need positions filled.
"You can teach people technology if they understand the business."
Partner in Deloitte Cyber Risk Management
In 2017, the tech industry will see companies becoming more creative with how they fill positions, particularly in cybersecurity. Enterprises can look farther outside of IT as long as candidates understand core business processes.
"You can teach people technology if they understand the business," said Adnan Amjad, partner in Deloitte Cyber Risk Management. "I think looking outside of IT and finding people who understand the business risk and the business value is huge."
Because technology is trainable, it becomes more valuable for people to understand risk and how threats or the use of systems can impact a company's bottom line.
4. There will be more accountability for who owns security
In 2016, companies saw new breeds of hacks that crippled businesses, from ransomware to botnets. The fever pitch of security threats will continue to ramp up as companies and service providers alike fear becoming the next Dyn.
With the threat of more advanced cyberattacks, companies will work to dictate exactly who is responsible for security. In the current state of vendor-company relationships, each party is looking to the other to handle cybersecurity. This has led to persistent vulnerabilities that threaten system integrity.
But in 2017 there will be more accountability over who owns security and expectations companies have from vendors, particularly when it comes to connected devices.
Companies will start to focus on who really has access to networks and how many products they let vendors have remote access to, according Pelander. Device manufacturers, in turn, will become more credible in terms of how strong they are in terms of security.
5. President Donald Trump will be one of the biggest disrupters this year
The election of Donald Trump sent many industries into a tailspin, with persistent questions about how his ascension to office will impact companies. Trump's presidency is poised to change how companies across all sectors do business.
"There's going to be a lot of shakeup of business as usual, not only in tech, but across basically every dimension of citizenry and government affairs," said Pelander. "I think that regardless of what industry you're in, you've got to be prepared for changing regulations and changing policies [and] practices."
Outside of the siloed tech industry, it is likely governance changes will trickle down and impact tech, causing companies to tweak how they conduct business.
"I think that regardless of what industry you're in, you've got to be prepared for changing regulations and changing policies [and] practices."
Managing Director at Waterstone Management Group
"Tech companies are arguably the most global industry, in terms of R&D, production and so-forth," said Pelander. "Will we get into a protectionist mode that really kind of cuts at the way that tech companies operate?"
6. The rise of data scientists
Big Data will continue to be a hot topic in 2017, as more companies try to understand exactly what customers want. But vast quantities of data allow for little insight without thorough and smart analysis, which often comes from the help of data scientists.
"What organizations are missing are data scientists," Amjad said. "Typically those data scientists have not been a part of core IT. They've either sat in product development or they sat in research or they sat on the business side."
For companies to gain meaningful insight into data, correlating it to other parts of the business, data scientists must become central to the business. Smarter data analysis could help with everything from more efficiently running core business processes to managing cybersecurity threats.
7. More high-end simulations to help cybersecurity build skills
With cybersecurity risks ever-present, companies are going to have to find new ways to train for threat mitigation. Pilots train with flight simulators, so why don't cybersecurity professionals train with attack simulators?
The gamification of cybersecurity training would better prepare professionals to defend against modern-day threats. Rather than defending networks in theory, workers could practice through simulators.
Already some higher end federal agencies and enterprises are practicing gaming solutions, but there has not been a lot of them, according to Amjad.
Simulators could also help build the talent pipeline, immersing workers in the world of cybersecurity.
"You can take people who understand risk or may understand business process and you can immerse them in some of these newer trainings, some of these new gaming techniques, so now they're more ready than they would be," said Amjad.