This is what you should focus on in 2019

Time to get a grip on (and be able to use) your data

Internet of Things (IoT), the cloud, Edge Computing, Big Data. You have to be there to keep your competitive advantage. Based on research of  GartnerForresterForbes and our own knowledge we have put together the most important trends to focus on this year.

AI/Machine Learning

Everyone in the ICT world agrees: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are techniques to keep an eye on. By AI we mean techniques in which machines can carry out actions that we deem to be ‘smart’. We give machines access to data so they can learn. These techniques enable algorithms to independently analyse huge amounts of data. AI and Machine Learning are even able to discover patterns in data and on that basis make predictions that people are not capable of. Human action can be strengthened or automated. A lot of attention will be paid this year to the possibilities to apply AI in applications and tools, also called AI-driven development.

Chatbots

In addition to data analysis, AI and Machine Learning are also used for chatbots. Up to now, we often have unpleasant experiences with poorly working chatbots. AI and Machine Learning ensure that chatbots in the future will actually help you. By giving good support, chatbots can take a lot of work off your employees. Chatbots with speech already exist, but chatbots that can read your facial expression to see if you are satisfied with the advice you have received? Chatbots who lead you like a personal assistant? The first steps have already been taken and the possibilities of chatbots are enormous. Forbes predicts that by the end of 2019 about 40% of large companies will use some form of chatbot in their company.

Intelligent Edge Computing

Edge Computing is an ICT trend that is related to the Internet of Things (IoT). In essence, it is based on the power of the devices you work every day, such as your laptop, mobile, tablet, and the smart devices like smart speakers, lighting and TVs. These smart devices are now connected to the internet by IoT and they all collect data. Simply transferring all these data directly to cloud services are costing a lot of bandwidth and time. Why shouldn’t we make the devices of the end-users smarter so that they can partially analyse the data? In this way, the data does not have to be collected anywhere else, which saves storage and ensures faster analysis. However, Edge Computing and the cloud do not exclude each other, according to Forbes. The key is in the balance between the two, also called The Fog.

Big Data/ Data lakes

We create huge amounts of data nowadays. The amount of data in the world is bigger than ever and is growing exponentially. Of the 90% data that was collected last year, only 1% has been actually used (!). Due to the recent developments within AI and Machine Learning, companies are finding better ways to read patterns in data. Based on this, they can make very useful predictions that can add value to their business. It can also be very useful to make an inventory of which data it collects and to see whether certain business processes can be improved on the basis of those data. But there are also great opportunities for marketing and other consumer-oriented parts of a company.

Containers

Not the most obvious name for an ICT trend, but a very useful development for the ICT specialists among us. Think of it as a kind of ‘bubble’ in which you summarize an entire application environment (software code and all dependent components). These containers make it much easier to develop applications quickly and to be able to test quickly. So you can easily find out whether the application behaves the same in other situations. It is also much easier to investigate the effect of upgrades or downgrades. Containers provide a flexible production and testing environment for app developers so that they can meet the demand to deliver new releases of software, also known as CI / CD.

Low-Code/No-Code

There is an app for everything nowadays. If you want to build an app, you want to do that in a clear and quick way. LowCode / NoCode offers you a fixed and simple build format for building applications. This way you do not have to re-write all codes completely if you want to develop an application. You make certain ‘blocks’ that you can reuse and / or replace for other blocks when building an application. This way you save time and your company is much more flexible in terms of app development!

Microservices

We notice companies are increasingly dividing their ICT offer into smaller parts so that end users can more specifically buy ICT support. Call it ‘à la carte choosing the ict menu’. Consumers no longer want to be stuck with complicated packages and contracts; they want to be able to choose what they want and how long they want to do so.

The development of everything-as-a-service is a global development and is also the case for certain ICT processes. By breaking up processes and dividing them into small pieces, it is possible to scale up different parts of the process independently of each other. In this way, the whole process does not have to be scaled up or scaled down, which is much more expensive than extending a small part of the process. Microservices ensures that you can adjust a process much more focused on the demand.

Multicloud

The cloud is certainly not a new ICT trend, but it is a trend that will remain important in 2019. More and more companies and consumers are making the switch to some form of cloud services. Whatever cloud is being worked on, the aim is and will continue to be that ICT and end users will work with a streamlined, secure and fast cloud. This trend is not so much about the switch to the cloud, but about the connections between clouds. Companies are slowly but surely discovering that putting all their money on one technology is not the best option. In many cases, a combination of the public cloud, the private cloud (the hybrid cloud) and datacenters is needed. In order to meet these changing wishes of companies, we are now looking at connecting multiple public clouds, also known as the Multicloud.

Whether companies want to focus on cloud storage, security, app development or networking; Multicloud is a tool to tackle these challenges.

Of course there are more technologies that are coming up or are still working on developing themselves. Think of Blockchain or Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). These technologies are already known for a while, but first have to proof themselves within the (ICT) business.

All of the above technologies are facing a promising future and it is up to you to seize the opportunities they bring. However, that is easier said than done. The experts of Ultimate Software are happy to help!