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2016 Software Predictions: Breakthroughs, Threats, Convergence

By December 8, 2015Article

Editor’s note: Software vendors have jumped into action to widen their competitive advantages and grow their market share even more in 2016. We asked several software executives for their predictions about the areas of change in 2016. These aren’t long-shot predictions. So be prepared and make sure these are not threats to your business. 

Q. Aside from the Internet of Things, which of the following software areas will experience the most change in 2016 – big data solutions, analytics, security, customer success/experience, sales & marketing approach or something else? 

Suresh ChandrasekaranSuresh Chandrasekaran, senior vice president, Denodo:I think three areas will experience the most change. First is self-service data services enabled through data virtualization. Second, logical data warehousing – which combines big data, NoSQL, traditional data warehouses, cloud and SaaS sources – will experience a lot of change. The third area is “transalytics” – the convergence of transaction and analytics systems. This convergence will be driven by three major technologies. At the front end will be more in-memory platforms and BI tools. At the back end will be more powerful transaction engines and data stores. In the middle will be “smart integration” tools like data virtualization and caching engines that know “when to push processing to the data and when to bring the data to the front end for in-memory processing.” 

Jon FisherJon Fisher, co-founder and CEO, CrowdOptic: “Augmented reality. We’ll recognize the pairing of IoT technology and augmented reality, especially in enterprise and field services applications. The pairing will increasingly allow for technology that inherits the view, the memory and analysis of other devices to proactively predict – rather than react to its environment.”

Scott HaugScott Haug, a partner at Waterstone Management Group: “In 2016, security — already a top C-suite priority — will increase dramatically in both prominence and complexity, driven by the accelerating convergence of big data, IoT and mobility. The proliferation of ‘smart’ endpoints, ranging from connected home devices, smart meters, a myriad of sensors and the connected car, and the increasingly affordable access to smartphones stocked with mobile applications that leverage personal information, will continue to rapidly expand the pool of sensitive data that needs to be protected.

The very technologies that are creating an amazing range of customer experience and industrial efficiency breakthroughs will increasingly stress security capabilities. Big data initiatives and the resulting level of information consolidation enlarge the scale of potential breaches. The accelerated movement to public cloud / outsourced IT services will create even more new challenges. For many companies where security was seen as more of a niche asset, it will increasingly be part of the value proposition and brand promise. All these factors — coupled with a severe shortage of security professionals and the heightened reputational risk associated with a breach— will drive a dramatically enhanced focus on security in 2016.”

Andrew AtkinsonAndrew Atkinson, senior director of product marketing, Cloud Cruiser: “There is so much ferment in the analytics space right now (and the potential benefits of better insights are so great) that analytics – particularly tools for non-data scientists – will experience the most change in 2016. Arguably, areas such as customer success/experience or the sales and marketing approach may have more need for change or room for improvement; but these are people issues and thus are unlikely to change at the rate of something that is more purely dependent upon technology. There will be more innovation in big data and the Internet of Things, but those will not become mainstream in 2016.” 

Avinash LakshmanAvinash Lakshman, CEO and founder, Hedvig: “Storage and security will experience the most change in 2016. Data is the lifeblood of a modern organization. It’s arguably the most important business asset behind people. We’ve focused a lot on the analytics, but how you store and protect that data is as important to the long-term health of a company. With high-profile data breaches happening several times a year, security is becoming more and more important. According to recent surveys, regulators may hold security vendors directly responsible for security failures in the future. I predict this will mean big changes in how security is done.”  

Shirish NetkeShirish Netke, president and CEO, Amberoon: Security. The business risks associated with security are incalculably high for the global economy. Innovation around approaches to security will be on a premium in 2016.”  


James MalachowskiJames Malachowski, CEO and founder, NodePrime: “The data center will experience the most change in 2016. The data center is no longer just a facility but the combination of all of the various forms of technology that comprise the ‘consciousness’ of a modern enterprise. With the proliferation of connected devices and commoditization of hardware, hyperscale data center management is not just for Facebook and Google now. Next year, I believe that we’ll see an increasing need for solutions that provide a holistic view into complex multi-vendor data center environments and enable businesses of any size to operate at scale through automation.” 

Walter O'BrienWalter O’Brien, founder and CEO, Scorpion Computer Services: “Tired of hearing about corporate cybersecurity risks making national headlines? Get ready to hear far more with the advent of the Internet of Things. I believe a software solution that will become the standard in 2016 is default wireless connectivity settings that send employees to ‘guest networks’ or alternative networks that quarantine any financial or other sensitive data. 

Further, I anticipate that we will see cyberhacking audits, and a proliferation of accompanying, robust software become as routine as financial audits, coupled to employee training that incorporates best-available practices to prevent cyber attacks. Awareness that leads to prevention we’ve seen time and time again has been the simplest and most cost-effective solution.” 

Darren CunninghamDarren Cunningham, vice president of marketing, SnapLogic: 2016 will be the year of the data lake. It will surround and, in some cases, drown the data warehouse, and we’ll see significant technology innovations, methodologies and reference architectures that turn the promise into a reality. At the same time, big data solutions will mature (read: security, governance, metadata management) and go beyond the role of being primarily developer tools for highly skilled programmers.” 

Michael RozlogMike Rozlog, CEO, dbase: The Agile development process will be exposed as not the end all, beat all of software development methodologies. If management, project managers and developers look at the actual numbers behind Agile, they will see that comparing projects prior to 2002 before Agile was being adopted and after 2002 when Agile became the silver bullet, the percentage of successful projects only increased by 1 percent. Thus, project teams will start to focus less on custom Agile and more on talent, tools and frameworks to get better results.  

Joan WrabetzJoan Wrabetz, CTO, QualiSystems: I think that DevOps and automation will experience more change than any other area. There is still a big group of small, rapidly growing companies in that space. They are well capitalized, and there is no clear dominant player. Meanwhile, the traditional management software companies are failing spectacularly to provide viable offerings in the space. So, we should expect to see lots of growth and activity in this space and some consolidation plays, possibly even an IPO.”  

Ron BianchiniRon Bianchini, co-founder, president and CEO, Avere Systems: I think big data solutions in particular will experience the most change in 2016. We’re seeing a lot of tools on the market now, especially from public cloud providers, which allow small businesses to analyze large datasets at a low cost and with few resources. We’re going to see this trend continue in 2016, by seeing a lot more research done by smaller and smaller organizations.” 


Chris Lochhead Al Ramadan Dave PetersonAl Ramadan, Chris Lochhead, and Dave Peterson, co-founders and partners, Play Bigger Advisors:  “Big data as well as sales and marketing technology will see the most change in 2016. We believe that we’re in the early innings in both of these mega categories.”  


Andrew Atkinson is senior director of product marketing at Cloud Cruiser where he has responsibility for working with engineering, product management and sales teams to bring products successfully to market. He has proven ability to achieve and act upon a deep understanding of customers, markets and competitors. Previously at E2open, he has more than two decades of startup, international and IPO experience with various software companies.  

Ron Bianchini is co-founder, president and CEO at Avere Systems. Prior to Avere, Ron was a senior vice president at NetApp, where he served as the leader of the NetApp Pittsburgh Technology Center. Before NetApp, he was CEO and co-founder of Spinnaker Networks, which developed the scale-out storage clustering technology acquired by NetApp. He was also vice president of product architecture at FORE Systems and co-founder of Scalable Networks (acquired by FORE).  

Suresh Chandrasekaran is senior vice president at Denodo. Throughout his career in product management and marketing roles at Vitria, Alta Vista, Compaq and as a management consultant at Booz Allen, Suresh has helped businesses leverage information through the medium of technology to deliver a competitive advantage. He speaks frequently at conferences on technology and its business impact, drawing from 15+ years of experience in leading integration middleware and Web companies. Contact him at 

Darren Cunningham is vice president of marketing at SnapLogic 

Jon Fisher is co-founder and CEO of CrowdOptic, the only Google Glass partner with issued patents including software that applies Google Glass to field service, medicine, and sporting environments. Named on 53 patents globally, Jon served as co-founding CEO of Bharosa (Oracle ’07) and AutoReach (AutoNation ’00). An adjunct professor at University of San Francisco, his book, Strategic Entrepreneurism: Shattering the Start-Up Entrepreneurial Myths, is required reading at several MBA programs including Haas Business School at Berkeley. He was named E&Y entrepreneur of the year (2007) and American City Business Journals 40 under 40 (2006). 

Scott Haug is a partner at Waterstone Management Group, a boutique management consulting firm that helps technology companies and investors create measurable value by identifying and capitalizing on disruptive growth opportunities and by driving excellence in services, cloud and customer success performance. Scott specializes in developing more customer-centric strategies for taking solutions to market, with an emphasis on sales and marketing strategy, product/offer development, strategic account development and channel/alliance management. Reach Scott at 

Avinash Lakshman is CEO and founder of Hedvig. He founded Hedvig in 2012 after co-inventing Dynamo while at Amazon (2004-2007) and Cassandra at Facebook (2007-2011).   

James Malachowski is the CEO and founder of NodePrime, a hyperscale datacenter management and intelligence startup. Before NodePrime, he worked at Dell in the enterprise solutions group helping some of the world’s largest cloud, SaaS and gaming companies scale their data center infrastructure. Before Dell, James spent four years at Cisco working in the public sector as a systems engineer where he was a graduate of the Cisco Sales Associate Program. 

Shirish Netke is president and CEO of Amberoon Inc., a provider of data-driven business perspective solutions. He has led companies in the area of software, services and electronic entertainment. He was one of the first evangelists for Java when it was launched by Sun Microsystems. Follow him on Twitter 

Walter O’Brien is the founder and CEO of Scorpion Computer Services, Inc., CEO of Scorpion Studios, and executive producer of the hit CBS television show, “Scorpion.” He is a frequent media commentator on topics in technology, cybersecurity and counter-hacking measures. 

Al RamadanChristopher Lochhead and Dave Peterson are co-founding partners at Play Bigger Advisors, a San Francisco-based category design firm that coaches technology executives to build market-leading companies. Follow them on Twitter.

Mike Rozlog’s 20-year software and technology industry experience brought him to dBase as the CEO to build the next-generation business intelligence products and data management tools. He is known for driving innovation, product development, market analysis and product evangelism efforts. He has hands-on technical experience across architecture, enterprise and commercial software development. Contact him at 

Joan Wrabetz is CTO for QualiSystems. Earlier she was VP/CTO for EMC’s emerging product division. Joan has over 20 years’ technology executive experience. She was founder/CEO of Aumni Data, CEO of Tricord Systems (now Adaptec), VP/GM at StorageTek, founder/CEO of Aggregate Computing (now Platinum Technologies) and held management positions at Control Data Corporation and SRI International. She was a BlueStream Ventures partner, served on the board of many startups and holds multiple tech patents. 

Kathleen Goolsby is managing editor of









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