How IT will transform business in 2014

Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of predictions. I’ve never met anyone with a crystal ball that doesn’t work near a boardwalk or a table ensconced in velvet. In other words, it’s usually a two-bit show that leaves you scratching your head or saying “anyone could have predicted that.” I won’t disillusion you into thinking that I can do a better job seeing the future, but I certainly won’t leave you scratching your head either. What I will say is that when it comes to enterprise IT, 2014 is going to be anything but dull.

So let me get right to it, here are five predictions for 2014, hopefully some of them will surprise you:

1. Businesses will invest in deeper analytics to identify threats and streamline costs
As enterprises increasingly become “data first” in 2014, expect them to seek clarity through deeper analytics. Organizations will bring in new technologies to pore through data in order to solve myriad business challenges. One challenge is understanding the threats, risks, and opportunities in cloud services the business is increasingly using. Specifically IT and business decision-makers want to know how users are accessing cloud apps and accessing, uploading, downloading, sharing, and editing sensitive corporate data residing in the cloud.

Beyond security risks and potential threats, they are interested in finding opportunities for cost savings through better cloud usage and contract visibility, which enables them to streamline and consolidate services. This new intelligence will bolster and enhance the value of investments organizations have already made in security information and data leakage solutions.

2. Cloud applications will be recognized as being business critical
In 2014, IT and business leaders will agree that cloud apps are here to stay. Now representing more than 30 percent of IT spend, cloud services have reached a tipping point across nearly every business function in organizations of all sizes. Many of these cloud apps have graduated beyond the “must have vs. nice to have” debate.

3. Cloud app security and policy creation will become a high priority
Once businesses realize that they can’t say no to cloud app use, they will look for solutions to make sure apps can be used in a safer and more compliant way. By understanding the implications of threats to/from/within cloud app usage, companies can implement technology to identify and protect unknown apps, data and assets. They’ll also look to create granular policies that shape cloud app usage, which will enable them to confidently deploy and use cloud apps.

4. Incumbent technologies will face increased scrutiny due to lack of security features
Legacy, non-cloud or non-mobile solutions face a number of challenges in 2014. With shrinking margins, they are losing their strategic foothold among IT. Additionally, with the proliferation of cloud and mobile tools, businesses will be examining existing investments from a security perspective to assess their scope of coverage.

5. IT leaders’ who fail to embrace key trends will face more tangible consequences
In 2014, IT leaders who haven’t proactively worked to accept the changing tides resulting from consumerization, BYOD, mobile and cloud will struggle to remain relevant in their respective organizations. Businesses that have failed to embrace these trends will be forced to change their position to retain talent and grow.

That’s it, my five predictions for 2014. Scratching your head? Hopefully not. Any surprises? I’d like to think so. Hopefully you agree that it’s going to be an exciting year for the business and enterprise IT. If I had to pull one theme from all of these it would be that cloud and SaaS apps are just as disruptive as they’ve ever been and that we’ll continue to see efforts to adapt to consumer/employee demand for these tools and services. It’s invigorating, transformative and there’s no place I’d rather be than working to address these new challenges. Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment here or reach out to me on Twitter @sanjberi. I’d love to hear what you think 2014 will bring.