IT Leaders Cite Cloud Computing as Top Priority for 2017

IT leaders survey

To gauge the technology directions its readers plan to take in 2017, IBM Systems Magazine conducted an online poll last fall. Respondents answered six multiple-choice questions about their companies’ industry, location, IBM platform of choice, technologies they plan to implement in 2017, biggest IT-related challenge and their personal job roles.

Twenty-three people responded to the questionnaire, and their insight aligned with what analysts report. Kat Lind, analyst and chief systems engineer, Solitaire Interglobal (SIL), validated the magazine’s findings against data from 16,230 organizations in the SIL database.

“The drive for better service differentiation in the marketplace will force competitive organizations to create customer-facing cloud environments.”
—Kat Lind, analyst and chief systems engineer, Solitaire Interglobal

For example, half of the magazine poll respondents plan to implement a hybrid cloud-computing environment. According to the SIL database, nearly 63 percent of organizations plan to implement hybrid cloud environments in 2017, which supports an SIL report prediction from 2011 that 50 percent of companies would implement new hybrid cloud deployments by 2016.

The 2011 SIL report was based on data gathered from C-level executives who may have less experience with cloud deployments than employees at the mid-tier or programmer level. Nearly 40 percent of the magazine’s poll respondents indicated they were system administrators, and 17 percent were C-level executives.

Cloud Deployment Ranks High

Lind says organizations will continue to deploy cloud in a variety of ways. “The drive for better service differentiation in the marketplace will force competitive organizations to create customer-facing cloud environments,” she explains. “The biggest question will be what type of platform organizations choose to deploy to answer that need.” They’re increasingly demanding cloud services, which will affect the consulting service market—skills necessary for cloud deployment (e.g., application positioning and partitioning, multitransitional databases, wide-scale performance assurance, cloud security) will be essential. “In many cases,” Lind notes, “the particular need [for these services] will not have a long latency but will instead require bursts of knowledgeable consulting services.” SIL modeling indicates that this scenario will disrupt traditional service charges and staffing profiles.

To address this growing demand, organizations will offer geographically distributed cloud models. This means they’ll consider dual cloud models, which consist of customer and inward-facing clouds with bifurcated needs. While Lind sees this as a current trend, she’s uncertain about the trends that will result from emerging technology. “The combination of emerging technologies and cognitive maturity in the cloud environment translate into new disruptors,” she explains.

Laura DiDio, principal analyst, Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, advises organizations implementing a new cloud environment to confirm their infrastructure is flexible and can automate the deployment of applications. Automating these processes will help ensure interoperability between legacy applications and the newly introduced applications. Communication between the data center IT manager and his or her counterpart at the cloud provider is essential to maintaining a secure cloud environment.

What’s Less Relevant

Middleware was at the bottom of the list of technologies respondents are likely to implement in 2017. Less than 14 percent of respondents chose it—unsurprising to both Lind and DiDio.

Lind explains that middleware is no longer new and trendy, and it fills a key infrastructure niche that’s not as relevant for most organizations. The complexity of infrastructure assembly has increased so much in the last decade that decision-makers at organizations are buried in information and must choose what to leave behind to keep an effective IT environment. Middleware simply does not make the cut.

Caroline Vitse is a freelance writer based in Rochester, Minnesota.

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