What lays ahead for 2012?
It's getting to be that time of year again when many of us start thinking about resolutions and what 2012 will bring. Clive Gold, Marketing CTO for EMC Australia and New Zealand, has compiled a list of predictions for the IT space in the year ahead:
Hot new jobs – data science
Considering a change in career in the coming year? Data science is looking like it will be a hot skill in big demand. With the rise of big data throughout 2011, many people are now beginning to realise that big data – especially analytics at scale – is set to be a new intellectual "power tool" for business competitiveness, scientific research and public policy. And it looks like demand for those with data science aptitude that can cleverly blend advanced maths with social sciences will be a sustained need for an entirely new class of knowledge workers.
As an employer, you're going to inevitably want a team of these people on your staff so that you can exploit these new opportunities that big data is creating – and if you are thinking of up-skilling yourself, then these are proficiencies that will be extremely valuable to have moving forward.
Focused IT Service Providers: More attractive than ever
Smaller, more nimble IT service providers focusing on specific regions or verticals are set to become even more attractive in the coming year as IT continues its transformation to specialisation, as they utilise their deeper knowledge of you, your IT landscape and your industry – and as the big, and undifferentiated, IT service providers become less appealing.
Enterprise IT: Now forced to compete
Business users are becoming increasingly aware that internal IT is just one of many places where they can get the IT resources they need with the internal IT monopoly as we know it breaking up. While we saw this IT transformation budding a few years ago – this has really snowballed to the extent that this year internal enterprise IT departments are going to need to acknowledge that the IT world has fundamentally changed, and it's not going back to the way it was anytime soon. They are now truly facing competition from external suppliers.
IT Security: Time to think differently
The prevalence and intensity of Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) is increasing, and will continue to remain a major concern in 2012; what was once just a concern for the defence industry is now a wider issue for all private sector organisations.
In order to deal with these increasingly sophisticated attacks, organisations will need to change the way they think about risk and threats, focusing on protecting the assets that are most valuable, and assuming that the organisation can be (or already is) compromised – and focussing on detecting this as early as possible in order to minimise damage. This shifts emphasis from the near-impossible task of preventing intrusion to the crucial task of preventing damage.
In line with this, expect to see more side channel attacks in 2012, where organisations with close associations to the actual target will be hit to acquire information to gain access to the actual target.
High speed fibre means…
Thanks to the New Zealand government’s ultra-fast broadband (UFB) initiative, and Australia’s NBN roll out, high-speed fibre connections are going to result in a lot of exciting transformations in IT over the next few years, one of which includes meaningful backup and recovery becoming cost-effective. Off-site replication for disaster recovery is set to grow quickly as fibre is rolled out and adopted by businesses, and the excuse of not having a second location will no longer be viable as low-cost service providers increasingly provide the premises and services at an extremely reasonable cost.
More virtual, more functional, more mobile
2012 is set to see the continued transformation of what IT users see - breaking away from the old ‘desktop and documents’ era, to see highly functional applications that provide people answers without having to do tedious actions like logging on etc. This will be coupled with an acceleration in the decline of the desktop in favour of mobile devices – but again less the laptop/notebook mobile devices and more the iPad/tablet and smart phone gadgets.
This continued move to mobile is also set to spur a focus on security for data stored on mobile devices plus increased security against attacks on these devices.
On the home front
Over the next few years broadcast and cable TV faces extinction at the hands of video on demand via the web over fibre. Phone services also face extermination at the hands of Skype/Microsoft – though don’t expect Skype to continue to be free!
Maybe not in 2012, but in the next few years definitely expect home appliances to become more networked with the fridge alerting the stove, ordering groceries, scheduling the dishwasher to operate during cheap electricity tariffs provided at unexpected times by smart power meters based on live demand. Think also of your personal video recorder not only recording any scheduled TV show and storing till you get home – but also streaming it to your mobile device wherever you are, whenever you want it.