This week another report came out predicting the biggest cloud computing trends for the next five years. From stacks to PaaS, the report examines where growth is, what consumption is and where the adoption is happening.
These reports are increasing in their frequency and many offer an interesting insight into how the industry is evolving. But for CIOs or chief business decision makers, this rapid production of reports can be head-swimming. How far should their own cloud strategy be dictated by tech trends that are being identified?
Of course, cloud trends are important. Understanding how work can be done in a different way – that’s perhaps around hybrid cloud technology, or a new cloud platform or application – is important for a CIO to know how it might be incorporated into their businesses technology and IT strategy. As cloud technology has rapidly evolved over the past decade, it’s been vital for CIO’s to keep on top of how they can use the latest tech within their IT environment to make work more flexible and streamlined.
It’s also important to know what competitors are doing. For many firms, there will be plenty of similar sized companies in the same sector or industry, and knowing what the competition is up to, and what technology is being utilised, is a good way to stay with the pack. Ignore what latest trend your competitor is using and you could see your own business fall behind.
There’s also an element of education. If a CIO is looking to create an IT strategy for their business that works to the company’s strengths and allows it to maximise the opportunity presented by the technology, knowing what’s coming up teaches you how that opportunity might be realised. You might start with an idea, a problem that needs to be filled and then see an emerging trend that solves that issue. A problem shared, and all that.
Yet it’s also vital to be able to identify what is important and what isn’t. Cloud strategy is increasingly focused on creating bespoke packages for each firm, and not all cloud trends are applicable to all companies. There are broad brushstrokes, but there are some elements, like blockchains for example, that might never be needed for a particular company. Understanding the difference between the trends that are useful for a company, and those that aren’t useful can be a tightrope. Everyone has only got so much time, so how do you identify what’s relevant?
It has to start with a strategy that understands and maps the issues you have and what you’re looking for. Trends often focus on a particular kind of technology, or a particular platform and might not focus on the problem or the issue it resolves. If a CIO is able to clearly understand what solution they’re looking for, it makes it much easier to focus their attention on the cloud technology that might be perfect for them.
Cloud trends are useful, but they have to be taken with a pinch of salt. The risk is that by adopting every hot trend, you could end up with an expensive bank of very fashionable technology, that doesn’t do much to solve all the issues your business has. IT has to work for the individual business, not operate as a tick list for the hottest trends on offer.