The increasing role of data analysis
Data, data and more data. They are the foundation of any new technology and key to optimal company processes. Some experts even go so far as to predict data soon to be the biggest value for businesses. At least half of global value creation will be digitalised by 2021. But how can one make profit with data? Apart from process optimisation, it plays a fundamental role for businesses in product development, marketing or further development of entire business models.
However, due to the flood of data it is almost impossible for team of analysts, no matter how large, to filter essential information from data streams even of smaller companies. Therefore, digital processing, as in Process Mining or Deep Learning, increases in importance. Deep Learning basically describes the ability of machines to learn from examples, for instance with the aid of pictures, text or acoustic material. This form of machine learning is the foundation for voice control and allows for example driverless cars to differentiate a person from a street lamp. Process Mining on the other hand, also known as Automated Business Process Discovery (ABPD), records digital tracks of business processes, visualises and evaluates them dynamically. In this way, processes can be understood comprehensively and their effectiveness can be maximised. Such digital tracks occur with each process step in business systems (for example customer enquiry, availability check of a product, invoicing, customer correspondence etc.) and are recorded in a workflow system. Bernhard Kube, head of Business Unit Technology Consulting and Quality Assurance at Lufthansa Industry Solutions, is certain that machine learning will arrive widespread in the market place and already notices today a strong increase in demand for Process Mining.
Growing structuring in the handling of cloud services
“2017 was the year in which cloud technology made great strides into the strategies of traditional IT departments. This trend will continue in 2018“, Bernhard Kube predicts. A very prominent business example for comprehensive usage of the cloud is streaming provider Netflix – whether distributed data bases, processing and analysis of big data for recommendations tailored to the individual user – Netflix relies on the cloud for each of these functions. Without it, the necessary scalability would have not been possible according to the streaming service.
More and more companies recognise the benefits of the cloud, in turn, due to increasing demand, the number of cloud providers and services is also growing. Many cloud providers enter partnerships and therefore consolidate their product portfolio to meet the needs of users. Companies benefit from great flexibility and agility, which the vast portfolio of cloud services offers, as well as from invoicing of services based on usage and the almost infinite computing power.
The extremely large range of services requires Orchestration, i.e. the establishment and administration of cloud resources. The management of cloud resources and integration of resources using multiple cloud platforms will be vital for the performance of an IT organisation – according to forecasts, around 90% of companies will use such services and platforms by 2021. During orchestration, internal and external services are optimally combined in order to make IT infrastructure as agile as possible. It allows the provision of cloud infrastructure in a reproduceable, consistent way. Orchestration ensures interaction of application data and data sets, whereas their infrastructure manages the content, context and control information of the business processes. The execution of web services can also be defined: whether sequential, parallel or time-dependent. In particular XaaS models, such as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) require a cloud orchestration across several components for provisioning. User experience and maximum agility of IT infrastructure is always at the centre. In addition, operating costs of the businesses are reduced.
Another trend in cloud usage is the transition from private and public cloud to hybrid cloud structures. “Businesses will increasingly rely on a hybrid cloud to be agile. This means, it will become standard to obtain services from multiple clouds – including your own“ explains Johannes Wagmüller, Director Systems Engineering at NetApp. The shift towards hybrid cloud structures has already been noticeable in the increased expenditure for IaaS and PaaS: in 2017 companies worldwide spent around 34.7 billion US dollars for these service, in 2020 it will already be an estimated 83.2 billion US dollars.
In particular the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will take effect in May 2018, will bring data management and its auditability even more to the fore. Therefore, many companies count on a reliable cloud provider to comply with the strict guidelines, rather than hold on to a private cloud.
The slow burner amongst IT trends: security
Cyber security will remain the problem child of many companies in forthcoming years. The emergence of new technologies and widespread implementation of cloud services provide more vulnerable areas for cyber attacks than ever before. Market research company Gartner estimates that in coming years security vulnerabilities in the Internet of Things and in Connected Devices will increasingly emerge, whereby companies have to invest more in IT security. According to Lynn Kristin Thorenz, Director Research and Consulting at IDC Germany, around 75 percent of CIOs will realign their cyber security around authentication and trust by 2019 in order to better protect their risk management. Relatively open systems, which enable collaboration of partners, suppliers and customers require permanent monitoring as well as analysis of activities and ultimately, if required, a quick response. While blackmailer software caused damages of around 325 million dollars in 2015, this already increased to 5 billion US dollars by 2017. Consequently, expenditure for IT security should soon increase immensely: according to Fidelis Cybersecurity from currently 85 billion dollars worldwide to 102 billion dollars by 2020.