As technology leaders consider the year ahead, one in four surveyed by CIO reports their top priority is unlocking growth. Other leading objectives for today’s chief technology executives include digital transformation and innovation. In a business technology climate that’s crowded by much-hyped technologies such as blockchain and applied artificial intelligence (AI), understanding the best ways to invest is challenging.
While experimenting with disruptive technologies is important, some of the most important tech trends of 2018 are more strategic than forward-looking. For growth and efficiency, leaders should consider optimizing existing systems to achieve lower cost, better insights or fewer risks.
1. Cloud Optimization
Cloud technologies and services have officially reached tipping point. According to a ServiceNow study, 52 percent of IT leaders would select cloud over on-premises alternatives. Per IDG, surveyed IT teams choose cloud because of lower costs (60 percent), agility (57 percent), and better scaling for large databases (55 percent).
Over half (58 percent) of businesses will focus on optimizing their cloud storage and services to reduce costs in the year to come. Other benefits of optimizing or outsourcing to a managed services provider could include superior performance and lower risks.
2. Increased Automation
By increasing investment in automation, organizations of all sizes can turn data into value, achieve operational efficiency and work smarter. Forbes‘ Bernard Marr describes automation as an “unstoppable freight train” among 2018 tech trends. Some ways to achieve the benefits of automation technology can include marketing automation apps, sales enablement software, recruitment tools for the human resources (HR) team and solutions to streamline operations.
3. Analytics Expansion
Big data analytics is far from a new trend, but advancements in user-friendly solutions for big data storage, data processing and visualization have made it a more attainable option for organizations without a data science team.
Increased investment in internet of things (IoT) and analytics technology can yield significant returns. Information Age reports one firm unlocked a cost reduction from 15 to 3 cents per average mile for a fleet of 180,000 trucks with analytics expansion.
4. Smarter Network Security
In 2017, AV-Test reported a unique strain of malware was discovered every 4.2 seconds. The information security threat vector has become increasingly complex and dangerous. When coupled with compliance pressures, including May’s deadline for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), investing in network security and data privacy is an expensive necessity in 2018.
Organizations are likely best served by a proactive approach to network security, including solutions that leverage the cloud and AI to protect sensitive data assets. CSO Online reports the information security skills gap has left many firms without on-staff security leadership talent, increasing the value of virtual CIO services and security consulting.
5. Managed Solutions Investment
While nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of IT teams have a larger budget in 2018, more than half feel they’re underfunded. Achieving growth without enough resources is impossible, making outsourcing to managed services providers increasingly popular. Forty percent of CIOs plan to spend more on outsourcing in the year to come.
Investing in a trusted third-party partnership for on-demand IT services, ranging from managed print to fully outsourced virtual CIO consulting, can enable IT teams to spend budget wisely and benefit from industry-leading expertise.
Navigating a Complex Year in Business Tech
There’s no question the business technology climate is complicated. Tech leaders are tasked with making tough decisions around budget, investment and experimentation. By optimizing existing investments and assets and outsourcing when needed, tech leaders can achieve their goals of growth and transformation.
Are you overwhelmed by the possibilities and steep goals facing your team? Contact us today for expert insight into how IT consulting services, managed print services and other Monster Technology solutions could transform your tech road map.