Top six enterprise IT trends to watch in APAC in 2016

With 2016 fast approaching, it’s time to take a look at the trends that are likely to shape enterprise IT in the year ahead.

While we expect more companies to continue to modernise their IT infrastructure to keep up with the ever-faster pace of business and stay secure, many will also do more to plug the skills gaps in emerging fields like data science.

Here’s a look at the top six IT trends to watch out for in the Asia-Pacific region:

Smart companies will build smart cities

Smart cities have been a topic of interest for a long time in Asia Pacific, with many countries in the region rolling out their own initiatives to tackle everything from public safety to improved transportation.

However, Adrian De Luca, chief technology officer of Hitachi Data Systems Asia Pacific, said it has become apparent that few governments have the experience or the financial means to build and run these initiatives on their own.

Instead, they are partnering with major industry players who are investing deeply in the Internet of Things (IoT). By bringing their own intellectual property, assembling ecosystems of technology providers and integrating them together, they can develop the solutions needed to make these cities a reality.

This means that smart companies will act as the catalysts for making smart cities a reality, as governments open the door through initiatives like Smart Dubai, Digital India, Smart Nation Singapore, and Digital China. The business opportunities for companies in the sector are huge, with the annual smart city investment in technology alone set to quadruple to UHKD$11.3 billion by 2023, according to Navigant Research.

The digital enterprise takes centre stage

In 2015, Gartner noted that digital business currently accounts for 18 per cent of overall revenue, and predicted a jump to 43 per cent by 2020. That seems modest given digital natives like Uber and AirBNB continue to disrupt the market.

Still, only five per cent of respondents in BMC’s 2015 survey had fully implemented the necessary digital services and mobile technologies to drive new revenue, open up new markets and deliver new operational efficiencies.

“Our industry has been awash in venture capital and as a result, foolish investments have been made in strategies and technologies that are little more than snake oil.”

–Amit Yoran, president of RSA

“In 2016, we see this number growing significantly across Fortune 500 and traditional businesses, as they accelerate the adoption of digital practices to enter new markets, streamline operations in their current lines of business and strengthen the competitive advantages they have built for years,” said Gavin Selkirk, president of BMC Asia Pacific.

It’s a hybrid cloud world

Going into 2015, many predicted that the adoption of public cloud in the enterprise would slow due to concerns about data security. Instead, public cloud solutions have become more secure, reliable and easier for distributed workforces to use, according to BMC’s Selkirk.

At the same time, private cloud became cheaper and easier for IT to manage, but those advantages have not proven to be enough to replace the convenience of public cloud now that security concerns have been alleviated.

“Our prediction for 2016 is greater adoption of public cloud solutions in the enterprise, as well as hybrid cloud strategies that leverage the best assets of both private and public clouds to drive new revenue streams and open up new markets,” Selkirk said.

Shakeout of the security industry

According to Amit Yoran, president of RSA, 2015 saw threats continuing to evolve faster than most organisations’ ability to detect and respond to them. What was considered an “advanced” threat in the past has become a commodity today with sophisticated malware and exploits available for the price of a movie ticket.

As troublesome as these observations seem, the most impactful evolution goes almost entirely unreported and misunderstood. Today’s pervasive threat actors execute attack campaigns comprised of multiple compromise methods and multiple backdoors to assure persistence. Incomplete incident scoping has become a critical failure point, Yoran said.

“Our industry has been awash in venture capital and as a result, foolish investments have been made in strategies and technologies that are little more than snake oil,” he warned.

“As organisations’ security programs continue to mature, they are learning that claims of being able to prevent advanced threat breaches are nothing more than fantasy. Expect to see a shakeout in the security industry as organisations maturing understanding of advanced threats increasingly drives their security investment decisions.”

The pendulum swings from centralised to distributed

According to John Schroeder, chief executive officer and co-founder of MapR Technologies, tech cycles have swung back and forth from centralised to distributed workloads.

Big data solutions initially focused on centralised data lakes that reduced data duplication, simplified management and supported a variety of applications including customer 360 analysis.

However, in 2016, Schroeder said large organisations will increasingly move to distributed processing for big data to address the challenges of managing multiple devices, multiple data centres, multiple global use cases and changing overseas data security rules.

“The continued growth of IoT, cheap IoT sensors, fast networks, and edge processing will further dictate the deployment of distributed processing frameworks,” he said.

Skills shortage will spark a talent pursuit

Several factors will impact the technology employment market in 2016, forcing many organisations to look at how they will fill the talent deficit to continue to innovate and remain competitive, said Hitachi Data Systems’ De Luca.

Addressing the IT skills shortage will not just be about pumping out more IT graduates with in-demand skills like data science. Appealing to the interests of the best young talent while investing in increasing the productivity of existing employees will be critical to bridging the gap over the long run.

“The working practices of ‘Gen Z’ workers are vastly different from those before them. With this generation expected to work an average of 17 jobs in their lifetime, they will develop a broader variety of skills as well as be exposed to multiple industries during their careers. Companies will need to figure out how to tap into this. They are driven more by their contribution to society than the logo of the company they work for,” said De Luca.

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