Investment in data technology continues its steady climb at enterprises throughout the world, although this does not necessarily represent the rapid integration of next-generation capabilities into IT environments. Rather, it seems to indicate that organizations are expanding on what they know rather than venturing into an uncertain future.
According to Gartner, global IT spending will hit $3.7 trillion in 2018, a 4.3 percent increase over the current estimate for 2017. This growth is being led by software, which is on pace to surge 8.5 percent this year, followed by 9.4 percent in 2018. Meanwhile, areas like IT and communications services are showing strong gains as well, as is the device segment, which has been somewhat of a laggard over the past two years. Going forward, Gartner says key technology segments like IaaS, iPaas and cPaaS will see increasing demand, along with items related to the digital workplace, such as workstream collaboration, workforce analytics and video messaging.
If you want to see what the enterprise is investing in now, don’t bother with today’s hyped technologies, says ZDnet’s Mark Samuels. Instead, look back a few years and see what was being hyped at that time. At the beginning of the decade, the buzz was around Big Data and the cloud while the enterprise was only just starting to figure out basic virtualization. Now that digital transformation is under way, Big Data and the cloud are hitting mainstream adoption while technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality are just starting to gain notice. The rule of thumb is that the IT technology marketplace is always several years ahead of the CIO’s operational reality.
This can be seen most clearly in the data center equipment market. Synergy Research issued a report last month that showed a dramatic drop in traditional systems – 18 percent over the past two years – even as both public and private cloud solutions saw double-digit gains. As enterprises find it easier to implement advanced data environments in the cloud, reliance on legacy infrastructure is likely to diminish. And in a somewhat ironic twist, this will likely speed up the lag between a technology’s hype period and its entry into the mainstream because cloud providers have a greater incentive than internal IT shops to deploy cutting-edge capabilities and make them readily available for their clients.
Going forward then, it appears that the enterprise’s perennial struggle to deploy the right technology will diminish but will be replaced by more strategic concerns regarding deploying the right set of services for a given business objective. Ascension IT CEO Dimuth Samaranayaka notes that this leads to a number of challenges when devising a working hybrid cloud strategy, not the least of which are determining where to send legacy applications and how to maintain them, as well as what to do with the increased data loads that this highly efficient infrastructure will produce. A key factor in making this determination will be cost, but as many organizations are finding out, the public cloud is not always the least expensive option.
With each new generation of cutting-edge technology, there comes a period where images of new paradigms and vastly superior ways of accomplishing tasks take hold in the public consciousness. But the reality is that change is hard, and radical change is even harder.
Those who want to sell new technology always try to foster a vision of what could be tomorrow, but those who buy it simply want to solve the problems of today – at least, if they’re smart. So while enterprise IT makes its inexorable way into the future, it helps to realize that it continues to build on the past.
Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.