12 tech trends to affect the IT industry and workforce in 2016

CompTIA has released its IT Industry Outlook 2016 report, which identifies the 12 trends expected to further make their mark on the IT industry in the year ahead.

Produced each year by CompTIA Research, the IT Industry Outlook provides an overview of the size, shape and growth factors influencing the future of the IT industry.

Here are CompTIA’s top 12 tech trends for 2016:

1. Moving Beyond User Interface: User Experience Drives Technology Initiatives
As technology becomes increasingly important to all facets of business, efforts will intensify to provide better and better end-to-end user experiences (UX).

2. Tech Policy Gets a Seat at the Presidential Election Issues Table
As serious policy discussions ramp up, expect tech policy to take a more prominent place at the issues table.

3. Digital Business Encompasses More than the IT Department
The notion of elevating technology discussions to C-suite and boardroom levels of importance has been percolating for some time. With technology-driven business transformation now mission critical for so many organisations, expect ever greater numbers of CEOs and boardrooms to finally embrace their role of ensuring these strategies are fully baked into the DNA of the business.

4. Organisations Strive to Develop More Tech Talent In-house
As companies continue to work to get the right mix of technology to achieve their business objectives, they will also seek to get the right mix of tech talent. While the IT industry itself remains the largest employer of IT workers, industries across the U.S. economy have ramped up their investments in internal software development, IT support, cybersecurity, data analytics, and related skills.

5. Cloud is the New Electricity
As the questions around cloud are answered and the benefits are becoming obvious, businesses are adopting a cloud-first strategy as they plan new technology projects. In time, this will drive “cloud” to the same place as “electricity” or “Internet” – so prevalent that it becomes a standard part of any planning.

6. Companies Go On the Offensive with Security
The mindset around security has been shifting in recent years due to a number of factors, such as the adoption of new technology models and the reliance on digital data. This year, ongoing security breaches across a wide range of industries and companies will add a proactive element to the security approach.

7. The Chase for Analytics Heats Up (Again)
Big Data first came on the scene a few years ago, but there is renewed interest in gaining insights from data and making data-based decisions. The competitive advantage gained from intelligent use of data has separated early adopters from their counterparts, and everyone wants to quickly follow suit.

8. The Software Layer Gets Much More Attention
To build a digital workflow, companies are quickly recognising the need for some level of development to customise or integrate applications. In turn, development efforts are being streamlined through the use of PaaS environments and containers that allow for greater app independence. Integration also hints at the growing demand to virtualise and automate infrastructure. More programming skills are needed as companies pursue software defined data centres (SDDC) or, at the very least, a higher degree of automation.

9. Vendor Partner Programs Strive to Reach Escape Velocity
Vendors need to be thinking differently about partner program compensation models, which run the risk of becoming antiquated if not updated to reflect how partners make money today. Staples such as upfront discounts and back-end rebates are declining in relative importance to channel partners while newer cloud vendors with no heritage in legacy hardware or software are wisely building partner programs that recognise this.

10. So Who’s a Vendor Anyway?
The public cloud is enabling some solution providers today to create their own IP – chiefly SaaS applications, but also less product-centric items such as proprietary methodologies and processes. Consider a recent CompTIA study that found 6 in 10 channel firms expect considerable growth in their own custom application development practices. This is notable in that app dev is a business line not typically in the channel’s wheelhouse and one that carries potential for churning out IP.

11. Skip the Data Centre Build-out – Everyone Else is
Face it, even Verizon and HP are reportedly thinking about throwing in the towel. And if players of their size are considering an exit from the cloud data centre business, it’s a good bet that nobody in the everyday channel is going to fare better against the low compute pricing, scalability and reach of the major public cloud providers.

12. Getting Closer to the Customer
The end customer today often knows quite a bit about the technology they want to buy and possesses a fair amount of leverage in terms of price transparency and deal negotiation. The end customer knows that long-term contracts for managed services don’t follow the more open-ended commitments that cloud-based solutions often entail. As a result, how channel firms interact and appeal to end customers will need to adapt.

You can read about these trends in more detail in CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2016 report.

Main image source: Shutterstock

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