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Six of the Best: The Ultimate List of IT Trends to Watch in 2016 By @RalfPaschen | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps

Read our list of buzzwords and next big things to make sure you’re in the loop for the year ahead

Six of the Best: The Ultimate List of IT Trends to Watch in 2016
By Ralf Paschen

When we look back at the IT world in 2015, we think of high profile hacks and crashes that brought vastly expensive systems to their knees - Ashley Madison, United Airlines, the New York Stock Exchange and so on... With the constant disruption and complexity added to an already convoluted IT landscape, your success in 2016 will center around how well you decipher complexity. Will you fail under the added weight of new technology, or can you weave your way through to rise above it?

Here are Automic's big six IT trends to watch in 2016:

1. Fast data
In 2015, we got all the data. It's big, its sources are everywhere and it's sometimes structured and sometimes not. But what does it all mean? How do we access this insight before our competitors do? And, more importantly, how do we turn it into money? Well, the first step is access. Databases were once the domain of data specialists, which invariably led to bottlenecks. Requests for queries could take weeks to yield results, which widened the gap between IT and the business.

Another problem is that by the time we get round to analyzing data, more of it arrives. The very nature of big data is that a constant stream of high volume needs to be stored and analyzed at pace. Another vital open source tool after Hadoop, Apache Kafka, allows data to be analyzed as it arrives rather than just be stored unsorted in a huge, ever-expanding repository to be looked at later.

The end goal is known as Fast Data - not just making sense of big data eventually, but doing it quickly to boost agility. With many companies now using Hadoop to store data in clusters and analyze it in parallel, the next competitive differentiator is not whether we can turn data into meaningful business insight, but how quickly.

2. IoT Platforms
The Internet of Things is now very real
. Anything from your car to your toothbrush is ready to share data online. However, it seems development has been blinkered. While each ‘thing' speaks to its own app, how does that data fit together to enrich our lives? What is the bigger picture? If the boiler app is used to turn the shower on, why can't this trigger the music system to play in the bathroom? Will grocery shopping apps connect to fitness apps to find connections between fitness and diet?

The next steps that need to be taken in 2016 are a common language for heterogeneous apps to speak to each other, and a tool-agnostic IoT platform from which to control them. 2016 will be a big year for integrating the IoT into our lifestyles. Google's Brillo project uses a language called Weave that allows cross-platform APIs to connect disparate devices from various vendors.

The IoT has parallels to automation, in that many enterprises employ specialized automation tools for certain tasks which result in harmful islands of automation. The Automic platform is an end-to-end automation solution into which heterogeneous tools can be integrated.

3. Security 2.0
With the explosion of innovative apps appearing as we head into 2016, security might not be the sexiest subject. However, it is still top priority for CIOs. Complexity gives hackers as well as DevOps teams new opportunities to be innovative, so security must evolve at the same pace as the technology it seeks to defend. Machine learning provides the means to step defense up to the next level, with Security 2.0 a term to get used to in 2016.

Security 2.0 allows systems to be proactive instead of just reactive, to spot irregular patterns and predict when an attempted breach will take place before it properly begins. Hacking is a crime, of course, and just as with normal policing, reacting when the damage has been done is not enough. Pattern recognition will automatically spot dangerous irregularities, just like the surveillance of suspects by the security forces. We will see a situation in which each app is able to protect itself without relying on the efficiency of the security of the platform it sits on.

In 2015 Splunk acquired Caspida, which uses machine learning to find cyber threats, while big data security analytics company Exabeam raised $25 million just a few months ago. With the worrying amount of high-profile hacks seen last year, 2016 should be the year when the defense finally strikes back.

4. Chief Automation Officer
While we can't control which new technology will be the next major disruptor, we can empower the boardroom to react quickly and exploit disruption before competitors do. For this reason, there is growing belief that a Chief Automation Officer is a necessary addition to the C-suite, and 2016 may well be the year we see the position become standard within forward-thinking digital companies.

Global digital business demands global orchestration of key technologies. A recent PMG study revealed the lack of a holistic approach as the biggest obstacle to a successful automation strategy - 59% agreed that ad hoc automation leads to incompatibility. Your business needs not only to unite disparate automation in silos, but also to coordinate automation strategies between multiple offices worldwide.

It is difficult to align IT to the business when automation, the very technology that allows IT to enable business decisions, is not properly represented in the boardroom. Business automation decisions taking too long to be approved and funded? A CAO can view automation globally and make sure it plays a central part in boardroom discussions. In this way automation can form a part of the strategy itself, and not just be a means to deliver it.

5. DevOps
If you read IT blogs regularly you would think that the world of software engineering is a well-oiled DevOps machine, with everyone having already adopted its practices. The reality is quite different - An EMA survey from October 2015 found that 25% of companies have a team known as ‘DevOps' compared with just 5% in 2014. The study found that 97% of companies had cross-functional teams, compared to 60% in 2014. This is proof that DevOps has finally ‘crossed the chasm' into the mainstream, and 2016 is when we will see the fruits of its labor as a norm.

Those who already do DevOps are seeing outstanding results. This excerpt from the 2015 State of DevOps Report says it all: "High-performing IT organizations deploy 30x more frequently with 200x shorter lead times; they have 60x fewer failures and recover 168x faster."

The most successful DevOps teams complement specialized tools such as Docker, Puppet, Chef, Ansible and HP QC by sitting them on a unified automation platform, creating an efficient, repeatable Deployment Pipeline that makes the holy grail of Continuous Delivery an everyday reality.

6. Information of Everything
The explosion of data sources from the Internet of Things and automated analysis of complex big data gives rise to ‘Information of Everything'. We know not only what action a user takes, but where they are when they make it, what device they are using, what language they speak and so on. Intuitive algorithms then attempt to create an entire user profile based on just a few pieces of information. Did you find it strange when you first saw targeted advertising online? Well in 2016 things are going to get even creepier.

This has obvious implications for security and privacy. The more information we have about somebody, the easier it is to impersonate them and commit fraud. Will individuals have the capability to restrict the sending of contextual data, or to stop companies using it for marketing purposes? Then we also have information collected by drones - the garden fence is no longer enough to maintain privacy, especially for celebrities who can now be stalked by relatively anonymous flying cameras streaming straight onto the web.

New data sources provide disruption for some, but for the innovative amongst us they represent opportunity for differentiation. Automation allows us to manipulate and analyze data at speed to achieve Fast Data, but also to leverage original thinking with a fast and reliable Continuous Delivery process for avant-garde app development.

Have we missed anything? What do you think will be big in 2016?

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Automic, a leader in business automation, helps enterprises drive competitive advantage by automating their IT factory - from on-premise to the Cloud, Big Data and the Internet of Things.

With offices across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, Automic powers over 2,600 customers including Bosch, PSA, BT, Carphone Warehouse, Deutsche Post, Societe Generale, TUI and Swisscom. The company is privately held by EQT. More information can be found at www.automic.com.