2017 in Enterprise Technology - a Look Back

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Every year Verizon makes its predictions as to technology trends that are most likely to impact our global enterprise and government customers. As we get to the end of 2017, we wanted to take a moment to look back at what we said at the start of this year. Did we get it right? Let’s take a look.

Our first key prediction was that software defined networks (SDN) would come of age in the enterprise space. We are definitely seeing this across our own customer base – SDN is increasingly being viewed as a natural choice to enable next-generation networks, which enable people to access resources as they need them, and how they want them. We know many organizations are still talking about SDN as theory – for us, we’ve moved right into practice, and it’s a practice that is growing.

Our second prediction was around the importance of user experience, based on the principle that the end user doesn’t care how it happens, but just what technology can do for them. This is definitely something we continue to see – and we think we were right in suggesting that IT teams needed to really understand the business, if they were to be effective. 

Next, we said get compliant. We were certainly right here. The raft of information flying about on GDPR alone shows that organizations are recognizing that compliance is no longer best practice, but law – so they really need to do something about it!

That security would continue to matter was our next prediction, and sadly we were also right in that respect. Data breaches continue to impact brand reputation, and risk customer privacy all around the world. We warned about the insider threat this year, whether deliberate or not. This remains a key concern for organizations everywhere.

Next we talked about deliberate disruption to do things differently and drive innovation. This is one where we don’t think we’ve seen quite as much progress as we would have expected, but not for lack of effort. Doing things differently is hard and getting multiple partners, technologies, implementations and networks to interoperate is challenging. But disruption remains a key component of transformation, and must not be forgotten.

We said that this year, the IoT focus would be on its potential for transformation. IoT has certainly been a hype topic this year, but there has indeed been more of a focus on practical application, rather than theory. And this means that we have seen IoT deployed everywhere from the home to the supply chain.

Our final prediction for 2017 was that real-world thinking would make or break your business. We thought that CIOs would really need to look to prioritize IT spend according to the relative importance of the constituent parts of the business. This is another area where we don’t think there’s been quite as much progress as we would have expected – but certainly the CIO discussion has transformed dramatically from just a few years ago with emphasis on the CIO role as delivering value and innovation to the business vs reacting to outages and implementation issues.

Overall, our view this year was that digital transformation would continue to be the goal for global brands and government agencies, with agility, speed of service, and an outstanding end-user experience the ultimate prize. But we recognized that digital transformation is challenging, and suggested that those organizations that were best able to meet these challenges head on were best placed for success. We still think our seven predictions were pretty good indicators of where they needed to focus their energy.

We’ll be releasing our predictions for 2018 shortly. Watch this space. 

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