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IT as Business’ Secret Sauce and Other 2015 Predictions

From continued growth of IT resources dedicated to business operations to rapid adoption of solutions aimed at helping IT become a strategic weapon, here are a few 2015 predictions from John Matthews of ExtraHop.

Industry Perspectives

January 5, 2015

4 Min Read
IT as Business’ Secret Sauce and Other 2015 Predictions

John Matthews is the CIO of ExtraHop, the global leader in real-time wire data analytics for IT intelligence and business operations.

Technology now infiltrates every aspect of business operations. Whether it’s managing human resources, analyzing marketing efforts, enabling a multichannel retail strategy, or delivering instant access to patient records and medical resources, organizations are deeply reliant on technology resources.

As a CIO, I’ve spent my 20-year career watching information technology inexorably expand its reach across organizations, and while I know how powerful these technologies can be in advancing business objectives, poor management of IT operations and resources can also be a tremendous hindrance.

In 2015, expect to see not only continued growth of IT resources dedicated to business operations, but rapid adoption of solutions aimed at helping IT itself become a strategic weapon to help the business do business better. Here are a few of my 2015 predictions.

IT Gets Smart About Operations with Multisource Data Analytics

Agent data has long been one of the key sources of insight for IT operations teams looking to ensure performance and availability of business critical applications. Likewise, network performance monitoring (NPM) solutions that monitor NetFlow and sFlow provide a similar solution at the network layer. But these solutions have long had their challenges. Servers throw out a deluge of alerts, and sifting through that data for any meaningful insight requires that you be either very smart or very lucky. Trying to sift through it in real time? That’s an even bigger hurdle.

In 2015, expect to see real investment by enterprise IT in analytics technologies for a broader array of IT data sets, including machine data and wire data. The reality is that there is no one single lens that is going to provide IT with the insight it needs to turn itself into a well-oiled machine. You need multiple data sets that provide not only different points of view, but context and correlation for each other as well.

Integration Mission Critical for Enterprise IT

The Internet of Things (IoT) and the move toward a digital business model are changing enterprise IT architectures. This means application integration, data integration, and the integration of both applications and data are quickly becoming top priorities for enterprises.

The need to have applications that seamlessly interact with other applications and data that can be leveraged across multiple platforms is going to dominate buying decisions and budget priorities in 2015. Expect to see IT stakeholders focusing on vendors that embrace this shift with solutions that streamline and enable broad integration with other applications and datasets.

Big Data Gets Much-Needed Definition

Just a few short years ago, the term “cloud” meant any number of things depending on the person using it. As the market matured, segmentation brought greater clarity, partitioning cloud into broad IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS categories. Big data is on the precipice of a similar segmentation. Right now, the term is used so broadly and applied to so many things that it has become unwieldy. In 2015, expect to see greater clarity emerge around big data as it increasingly becomes an umbrella term encompassing a few well-defined segments.

M&M Security Model Gets Data Boost

Unless your head was firmly embedded in the sand in 2014, you know that security has become a big problem for both IT and business. As if Heartbleed and Shellshock weren’t heart attack and shock-inducing enough, significant hacks of major businesses should have put every IT operations and security professional on notice: what you’re doing probably isn’t enough. If 2015 is the year when IT truly has its coming out party as the secret sauce of the business, security will have to be a major component of newer, more robust IT operations architectures.

The old “M&M” model of security – a hard exterior protecting the soft interior – is clearly insufficient. Even adding an extra “M” to that equation – in this case, for machine data (log files) – won’t be enough. Perimeter defenses are being breached, and system self-reporting can too easily be compromised.

In 2015, expect to see greater demand among enterprise IT and security teams for pervasive monitoring and anomaly detection systems that provide visibility into the IT infrastructure. In order to meet this demand, entrenched security vendors will also seek out technology partnerships that allow them to offer best-of-breed monitoring capabilities.

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