The future can be filled with plenty of uncertainty for the IT profession. In an industry where new technologies are the norm, change is always on the horizon. However, 2016 may be a particularly transformative year in IT.
Forrester Research and IDC have both released their own predictions for the IT community in 2016, and if they actually happen, the year will turn into a tumultuous one to say the least. The coming months will be filled with ups and downs, the kind that usually accompany a time of significant growing pains.
So, will 2016 be a time of great prosperity for IT, or is there reason for IT vendors to worry? A quick look at the predictions reveal that it could be a little bit of both.
1. Cloud war casualties
The cloud wars have been the topic of much spirited debate in recent years, as cloud providers compete with each other for the largest market share possible through new features and slashed prices.
2016 looks like it will be the year where casualties really start to mount. Forrester indicates that the biggest providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM will continue to grow and gain new customers.
Smaller providers, however, will find themselves left behind as they’re crowded out of the market. That will leave fewer cloud options to choose from as the market continues to consolidate behind the six to eight largest providers.
2. More big data
Big data remains a heavily hyped phenomenon for good reason. That trend appears set to continue not just into 2016 but for years to come as big data will grow ever larger.
Organizations have caught on to the advantages and insights that big data analytics provides, and they want it for themselves. With a big data database comparison, companies are more positioned to make the right choice for their businesses.
Big data will also grow in all areas and industries, particularly in the mobile world as IDC predicts half of all applications will have analytics embedded within them by 2018. That process will really take off in 2016 along with growth in other big data related technologies like machine learning.
3. Still a data scientist shortage
One of the chief concerns in IT is the big data talent gap, where there aren’t enough data scientists to fill positions within organizations. Though initiatives have been created that will hopefully address this shortage somewhere down the line, we still won’t see the impact from them in 2016.
Businesses will still struggle with filling data scientist roles. As a consequence, many organizations will turn to statistical validation tools as a way to bridge that talent gap. These tools are able to tell the difference between actual patterns within data sets from false alarms. They may not be the same as having a data scientist on hand, but they’re a temporary solution that many companies will leverage.
4. Emphasis on big data ethics
As more companies use big data, more data will need to be collected. That obviously raises concerns over the ethics of data collection, particularly in respect to individual privacy.
While this discussion has been ongoing for several years now, 2016 will kick the debate into high gear. Some experts believe big data programs will establish ethics curriculums as they teach the next generation of data scientists as a way to ensure nothing unseemly happens as they collect data on individuals.
In many ways, this is a necessary step to make sure people become more comfortable with the idea of organizations gathering private information about them.
These are just a few of the predictions that will likely happen in 2016. Consider it a snapshot of the IT community. While new technologies and solutions will likely have a role to play, such as converged infrastructure and software defined storage, much of the focus will be placed on the cloud and big data.
We’re rapidly approaching a time when big data, often processed and stored in the clouds, comes to dominate our lives, even if we don’t notice it. The IT industry will reflect this as that change happens. 2016 will definitely be a transformational year in IT, and the effects will likely be felt for many years to come.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Rick Delgado is a technology commentator and freelance writer. His work can be found on Wired, SmartDataCollective and MakeUseOf. Connect with on Twitter.