The Internet of Things may be the subject of tremendous hype, however it is beginning to exert tangible impact on the mainstream IT and software development space. Accordingly, it is one of the top IT trends businesses should pay attention to in 2018 and beyond, along with the cloud, budgetary caution, and the coming of GDPR.
The IoT is happening, and it is being driven by the industrial sector. According to IndustryARC, the industrial IoT market is already worth more than $20 billion. It will reach $123.89 billion by 2021. While this may seem far removed from the day-to-day realities of the enterprise and the public sector, the big takeaway is that the IOT is really all about software and data. Yes, billions of sensors will be deployed in equipment, distribution networks and every other conceivable place. But development teams are the ones who will be tasked with building and integrating these new sources of data into organisational systems.
Perhaps the smartest advice, if your business is not directly involved in IoT, is to know about ongoing initiatives and keep abreast of progress in IoT in 2018 and understand how it may affect your organisation in future. Regardless of grand plans for IoT- and AI-enabled infrastructures, our view is that it is up to internal developers and outsourced bespoke software partners to translate such plans into tangible value on a gradual basis that generate tangible return on investment.
Forrester’s Global Tech Market Outlook said to expect caution on the budgetary front due to market and political uncertainties. The report stated that the UK outlook is not positive due to weakened currency. Similarly, the rest of Europe is struggling with deflation and sluggish economic growth. Tech spending will be inhibited by these trends. Yet priority projects will continue relatively unaffected. It is up to IT, therefore, to ensure they are aligned with the strategic direction of the organisation. Software development projects should stick to those that either boost revenue, increase service or reduce costs.
As expected, the cloud remains a continuing force of disruption. While many IT trends come and go, the cloud has evolved into more of a technology paradigm that is gradually changing everything. Despite the fact that the cloud has been with us for more than a decade, it remains an engine for heavy growth. Forrester predicts a 20%-plus jump in cloud development for 2018. This is a big reason for strong growth in software sales (5% to 7%), followed by consulting/bespoke development and systems integration services (3% to 5%) in 2018.
Despite market caution, then, software projects will occupy a central position on the IT project table. For those operating SQL and .NET environments, there are a number of new cloud features that could add immediate value. Those with in-house backup infrastructures reaching end of life, for example, are advised to consider sending SQL Server backups to the Microsoft Azure Blob service or another cloud-based backup option.
Although it is last on the list, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be top of mind in many IT departments. As it comes into effect on 25 May 2018 and applies no matter where in the world you are located, many software projects in the first part of the year will be about implementing GDPR. Complying with the regulation will necessitate significant investments in data handling and data protection for many organisations. In fact, it is likely that outside help will be needed in many organisations to ensure that existing systems are brought into compliance.
Particularly for SQL – whether on-premises, cloud-based, or both – organisations should already be reviewing or modifying their database management and procedures to ensure compliance in order to avoid penalties with an upper limit of €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover – whichever is higher.
With just 5 months remaining to prepare or face penalties that could result in insolvency, it is essential that your organisation and its assets are compliant before the regulation comes into force.
* This blog is not legal advice on GDPR and should be considered educational in nature.
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By Drew Robb, Editorial Contributor
Drew Robb has been a full-time professional writer and editor for more than twenty years, specialising in the Information Technology sector. His articles have featured in publications including Computerworld, Forbes, Data Center Management, Enterprise Applications Today, The Economist and countless others. Born and raised in Scotland, Drew currently resides in the USA where he is Editor-in-Chief of an international engineering magazine.