Jerry’s Top Dozen Technology Trends for 2014
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Each year I sit down and reflect on the top trends driving our industry. There is incredible opportunity being driven by cloud, mobile and analytics. And our customers are putting a premium on being ultra-fast and lean. A notion of “Composable Enterprise” is starting to resonate with me as the theme that ties these trends together, enabling users to leverage cloud, mobile and analytics to continually deliver the right solutions that anticipate the needs of their customers.
I will blog more about these individual topics in the upcoming weeks.
Here are this year’s top trends (in no particular order):
A summary of each trend follows:
In 2014, we will continue driving our software to the cloud. To complement our packaged software business, we are transforming our development operations to also deliver our wares as self service cloud-native offerings within the IBM Cloud (SoftLayer, Bluemix, PureApp). You know you have a cloud service if it is addressable via URL, has Ts&Cs, and has an operations team running it 24x7x365. We try not to discriminate whether these are on-premise, public or all-of-the-above. In 2014, we intend to deliver new cloud services in the areas of Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS), Internet of Things, API Management, Business Events/Rules, and BPM Workflow services.
Scalable Services Fabric
There is a certain and distinct “zen” when operating cloud services. We often say, “we will rule the cloud, the cloud will not rule us.” This all about being proactive. Injecting failure, security breaches, and latency as a way of continually testing our services using vigilant metering and monitoring such that the “lights are always on” and “we are always watching and anticipating”. We focus on Availability, Auto Recovery, Continuous Delivery, Elastic Scale, and Operational Visibility. A step in our journey is our contribution to the Netf
Open Cloud Architecture
Openness is part of IBM’s DNA. In the Web world, we excel by embracing open source and open standards. We are doing the same with Cloud. We are using OpenStack, CloudFoundry, open pattern technologies, and even looking at emerging technologies like Docker. We will build on thriving ecosystems and layer on IBM added value for analytics, Internet of Things, integration, and mobile. Our open cloud architecture will fulfill the promise of flexibly deploying workloads in the cloud, on-premise, on optimized systems, or any combination of the three.
You are a CIO in a mid-size company and you just outsourced your workforce software to a software as a service vendor. But how do you get your HR database into the cloud? Answers: (a) You backup your HR database to a DVD and mail it to the SaaS provider (b) you use a cloud integration solution that can connect the two… Today, most customers would likely answer (a). Our goal in 2014 is make your answer (b).
When you move to the cloud, your data and services are often left behind, living in systems other than your cloud. This is true if you are using a new SaaS-based offering, embracing a new PaaS-based development environment or utilizing a IaaS-based infrastrure. In all cases, Cloud Integration is the answer to connecting your cloud to your data wherever they might be. The other side of Cloud Integration answers the question “How do I export the data I have on premise out to the cloud in a responsible way?” In this case, Cloud Integration helps companies export their data and services to the Cloud. And this is where API management intersects with Cloud Management. The two go hand and glove. Cloud Integration enables rapid composition of data and services. In 2014 we’ll continue to evolve our integration tools to meet these emerging needs. Using an open integration ecosystem, we’ll work with partners to build a community devoted to making integration easier and faster than ever.
Mobile Backend as a Service
Mobile developers want to spend their time rapidly building apps that connect their businesses intimately to their end users. Mundane tasks, like bringing up and scaling backend services, get in the way of that end goal...Enter Mobile Backend as a Service. These platforms offer mobile services such as push notification, data synchronization, location services and social integration in the cloud so developers can focus on what matters. So it’s a fair bet to say connecting our Mobile First platform to such high value services is on our radar for 2014.
Mobile Design Patterns
I’ve noticed many of our customers developing an early love/hate relationship with mobile. IT is sometimes befuddled with chaos like flash loads from mobile apps, while the business folks are looking at their mobile apps with dreamy eyes at the opportunities to engage with customers in new ways. By observing the thousands of clients on the journey in the world of mobile, we have identified 7 key design patterns that serve as entry points. These are Systems of Record Push Notifications, Advanced Messaging, Location-based Pers
Businesses are buried under an avalanche of data. Finding the needle of insight in a haystack of noise typically requires data scientists and complex statistical modeling. Say you work in the automotive industry and are looking to build a service that alerts drivers about inclement weather by detecting that many cars in the region are activating their wipers. This year, we aim to provide a simple solution to enable the continuous delivery of such services. It’s designed around four simple steps; Detect, Enrich, Perceive and Act. Distilled into the solution is a wonderful cocktail of business rules technology, event processing, data streaming capabilities, a pinch of Internet of Things connectivity, and a dash of analytics to bring these insights to mere mortals.
Everywhere you look on the Web these days, it seems as if somebody’s launching new APIs. There are over 10,000 APIs documented on ProgrammableWeb today and it’s growing exponentially. Think about innovative businesses like Cars.com, Mint and Zillow. They simply couldn’t exist without APIs. In fact, most enterprise mobile apps use between 5-12 3rd party APIs. Hence, I could imagine the Cars.com mobile app being a mash up of public APIs such as map APIs, loan APIs, and social APIs.
The API Economy is fundamentally about bringing together API Providers and Consumers. Providers want to expand their brands, reach a wider audience, and create new business models for their data and services. API Consumers want to connect, assemble, enhance and iterate with those APIs to create new opportunities to engage with users. We are connecting both sides of this equation to grow the API Economy
If you think of your app as only strong as its weakest link, using APIs now gives you 5-12 new links that are potentially weak ones. API Management lets you define, monitor and meter your API usage to give you the best of both worlds.
Internet of Things
Let me tell you the story of Laura. Laura recently purchased a mobile device that connects to her car computer and signed up for NowInsurance, which offers insurance per trip, when she starts her car. NowInsurance performs analytics to build a driving profile for Laura based on her trip histories (e.g., she always drive to work on Monday mornings), her city (it is often sunny in Raleigh in May), the roads she takes (they were just paved) and the driving habits of others like her who drive similar routes. Using this, NowInsurance sends Laura’s driving score to a collection of insurance companies to bid on her trip insurance. The winning bidder is awarded the job and Laura is instantly notified and wished a safe trip. NowInsurance also offers her 50% off on a coffee, if she stops at the coffee shop on Main Street, which is on her way home.
This story illustrates how we are looking at the Internet of Things opportunity. NowInsurance has fundamentally reinvented insurance (micro-insurance) using Internet of Things and pulls together Continuous Insights, API Management and Mobile Design.
Compositional Business Applications
API Economy and Cloud Services cry out to be composed into something more useful (1+1=3) that quickly drives new business value. If you haven’t seen If This Then That, I highly encourage you to try it out. What I love about it is how simple they have made the process of composing new services from existing public APIs. Now imagine if we could bring this simplicity to more complex problems, such as creating enterprise mobile applications from a wide variety of services, APIs and data sources. What if we could reduce the time needed for a business-oriented developer to build these apps by an order of magnitude? It’s time to democratize the process of building data-driven mobile apps. Imagine the wave of productivity and innovation you can unleash in your business by making it possible to rapidly build situational apps tailored to your data and business problem. I’ve seen some exciting collaboration between our research and development teams in this area, so I’d encourage you to watch this space.
A proposition that is completely resonating with customers is “you, customer, worry about building your app” and “let us, IBM, worry about powering that app” with just enough software capability and infrastructure. This proposition divorces our customers from the mundane tasks of installing and managing software and infrastructure (reading redbooks and white papers, etc.) and allows our customers to focus on building the apps that will grow their business quickly. The In-a-box effort is born out of our patt
Motivational Design (aka Gamification)
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Humans are competitive beings. Competing in games is the new American pastime (or so it seems from watching my son and his friends). We can apply the same principles of what drives us and motivates us during these games to optimize our business applications.
So how do you harness the competitive nature of people for positive business outcomes? Maybe you host a contest with points, leaderboards and badges to see which employees can optimize your business process most effectively.
I see this as one of the productive ways to put Social to work for your mobile and cloud based business apps. This is about motivating your employees or customers to interact around important topics and use the power of the crowd and natural human instinct to compete.
In 2014 we are looking to use motivational design liberally within our offerings, especially our business process, mobile and cloud services.
So, there you have my top trends for 2014. This is simply the start of a conversation I hope to have with you throughout the year. 2014 promises to be a fascinating year and I’m looking forward to the journey with all of you.
(PS, Thanks to Robert Vila for helping me blog these trends...)