2017: When Old Trends Have Their Heyday

Posted by on December 8, 2016 in General IT

2017 IT predictions

Most tech predictions focus on the next “big thing.” With our appetite for new and different, we tend to overlook the power of ongoing trends. 2017 is a year when existing innovations will settle down, mature, and have their heyday.

Innovations are most powerful when they are taken for granted. Consider smartphones. When Apple released the iPhone in 2007, it was the world’s hottest technology. Over the past 10 years, smartphones have lost hype but gained influence. If at least 2 billion people own smartphones, they are not merely a technology but an institution of human society. Their ubiquity is power.

In 2017, four ongoing trends will make strides towards that honor of being taken for granted:

1. DevOps – We’ll Do It Our Way

In 2016, every tech company seemed to experiment with DevOps. Organizations all want to release software daily or weekly without errors and downtime. Yet no one agrees on the definition of DevOps. Is it a culture? A set of processes and technologies? A philosophy?

DevOps is probably all the above, and the definition is flexible by design. DevOps is not unlike “mindfulness” training, a hot trend from the health world. If you want to be more mindful, should you meditate, keep a journal, go to yoga classes, or do all three? Who knows until you try them out? Ditto with DevOps: the best approach is the one that works for your company.

DevOps is destined for ubiquity. Companies will get beyond their DevOps identity crisis in 2017 by defining and applying the methodology in their own way.

2. Cloud Computing – Let’s Get Our Money’s Worth

In 2016, no one can dispute the cost-efficiency, convenience, agility, and other values of cloud computing. That doesn’t mean companies have saved money by switching to cloud services. Why?

Well, when you start an expensive new sport, like skiing, it’s tempting to overbuy equipment. You might choose the heaviest, warmest coat at the store. A year later, when your skiing improves, the coat becomes unbearably hot and sweaty. You wish you had bought a lighter jacket and some layers for half the price of that wearable furnace.

2017 is the year when companies will downgrade, ditch, or replace the bulky, expensive cloud services they didn’t need in the first place. The cloud will finally save money.

3. Cybersecurity – The Internet of Things (IoT) Battle

On October 21st of this year, a DDoS attack against Dyn, a major DNS host, showed us how vulnerable the Internet of Things (IoT) is. Some of the U.S.’s largest metropolitan areas couldn’t access Twitter, Netflix, Reddit, PayPal, and dozens of other popular web services. As security expert Brian Krebs explains, the attackers hacked Internet-connected digital video recorders (DVRs) and IP cameras and then used them to flood traffic towards Dyn’s servers.

Commentators have raised alarms about the vulnerability of IoT for years. It’s not a new trend. Although the Dyn attack seems ominous now, it will force IoT cybersecurity to mature in 2017. IoT device manufacturers will make cybersecurity a priority rather than an addendum.

4. Help Desk – I’ll Do It Myself

A surprising number of people still email or call help desks directly. They don’t bother consulting the end-user portals, knowledge bases, and other self-service options.

At SysAid, where we provide help desk and IT service management (ITSM) solutions, we’ve learned that Millennials do the opposite: they dread getting on the phone. They troubleshoot independently and then submit digital tickets if that fails. Frankly, they save time and money for help desks.

In 2017, help desks will try to convince Gen Xers and Baby Boomers to use self-service. To that end, help desks will improve the quality of content in knowledge bases so that anyone can follow along. They will also make self-service more social. Historical issues from the community will constitute the bulk of knowledge base content.

Will this work? Not in every case. I’m sure you know somebody who hates e-readers and says, “I just like to hold a physical book.” Likewise, a lot of end users say, “I just want to speak with a real human being.” That cohort of end users (maybe 20 percent) won’t change.

The Mark of Importance

Some forecasters ask you to ponder a hazy future; I ask you consider a more concrete present. In 2017, embrace the innovations that stop making headlines and start defining whole industries. Being taken for granted is an inglorious mark of importance – and power.


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