The world of technological change is accelerating. Yet according to a recent study by analyst Forester, 41% of organisations are struggling to manage the rate of technological change. This problem is very real. I’d go as far as saying I suspect the actual figure is even higher than 41% in reality.

In order rise to this challenge (along with an effective Hybrid IT strategy, of course) understanding some of the wider trends shaping the sector is an effective first step.

Here are a few other thoughts from me on what trends will shape things in the next 12 months and beyond:

1) Event thinking: A growing style led by the Internet of Things (IoT), but the next evolution of efficiency and agility. This is about building services as a process.

2) Intelligent contracts: Blockchain is still maturing but I expect to see the first enterprise blockchain-backed smart contracts to hit in 2018.

3) Intelligent edge: Real-time services with increasing complexity and levels of artificial intelligence (AI) introduce the drive for deploying compute next to the target.

4) Intelligent security: Exposure of cloud services will grow in focus – it’s too easy to introduce risk, you need an automated change guardian!

5) Mixed reality: An increase in more immersive experiences than augmented reality to date will push forward business uptake of IoT, but ultimately this will be driven by efficiency.

6) Cloud is just infrastructure: Will 2018 be the year the cloud stops being called “the cloud”? Instead the industry should talk about it as the norm for business infrastructure, I hope so…

7) Immersive user interfaces: Voice and audio will be combined with conversational systems to replace traditional hands on interfaces.

8) Continuity in the cloud: Enterprises now use 1,000+ cloud systems. Business continuity, protecting data and how we manage complexity will become a focus.

9) Re-focus on maturity: Service processes in a bi-modal IT world are often left behind in the digital business. Early pilot and PoC will shift to industrialisation for back-end service.

10) Moments: Marketing will build on the concept of moments capturing and promoting great experiences; these will apply to internal IT and the business alike.

On top of this, it would be remiss of me not to mention some of the other big issues on the minds of business leaders in 2018.

Security must be managed at the core of your data to enable compliance in the cloud (with the GDPR deadline looming in May). You have to be very careful in what services you are letting your organisation adopt.

Remember, data is gold, embrace it, monetise it but be careful you don’t lose it – the penalties in financial terms and reputation are huge.

Elsewhere, AI, machine learning, IoT, and blockchain will likely exist in some form across your organisations before long. These will require APIs to effectively communicate across your existing systems and cloud native platforms – they are the lifeblood any digital service.

Building these, along with the use of microservices to deliver new offerings at speed and scale will reap benefits for those who do next year.

My view is that technology should not be seen as a barrier to success. As I said at last year’s Fujitsu Forum, it should be one of – but not the only – pillar for designing your digital business.

It is all about the idea, having people with creativity and an organisation with a collaboration culture, shaped to deliver actions at pace. Couple this by defining an amazing experience both for the organisation and the customer.

All this together will put you on the road to success for 2018!

Brad Mallard

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An innovative and influential leader with over 20 years in a wide variety of technology roles working with and for some of the largest organisations in the UK, Brad is currently CTO End User Services, Digital Workplace, Cloud & Hybrid IT, Fujitsu EMEIA.

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