The year 2015 has signs of churning out a lot of change for software buyers. We reached out to several industry experts for predictions of the major changes in the cloud, big data, analytics and the Internet of Things.
On the radar screen by the end of 2015
Let’s look first at the new software aspects that will be on companies’ radar screens by the end of next year.
- Analytics — Mike Hoskins, chief technology officer at Actian, predicts that cloud-enabled Hadoop analytics and graph analytics will draw buyers in 2015.
Personalized data analytics will also be on buyers’ radar screens, according to Jeff Kaplan, managing director of THINKstrategies.
- Internet of Things — Kaplan predicts the industry will bring IoT development and delivery management software next year.
Paul Giurata, managing director of Catalyst Resources, says the IoT space will add connected capabilities to existing devices to expand the ecosystem of stakeholders.
- SaaS — Giurata predicts that SaaS solutions will have built-in real-time data monitoring combined with historical big data analytics that can be used to pinpoint individual user preferences for profitable up-sell and cross-sell opportunities.
- Gaps between computing devices — “We’ll start seeing effective user-experience solutions to manage transactions and interactions between computing devices — those gaps between gadgets where customers lose patience and businesses lose money,” says Giurata.
- Machine learning — Tripp Smith, CTO at Clarity Solution Group, says “machine learning and artificial neural networks will be integrated into more and more business functions.” He says consumers will expect these features as standard in their interactions.
Cloud security changes
Paul Ressler, principle at The Cirrostratus Group, says 2015 will bring more real cloud-enabled applications and less “cloud washing.” He adds that cloud solutions will also have additional security features.
Rob Reid, CEO at Intacct, says we can expect cloud solution vendors to assume greater responsibility for security in 2015. “Until now, vendors have been satisfied offering customers sophisticated user provisioning and access controls with correspondingly detailed access and audit logs. Going forward, expect to see vendors actively test controls and apply heuristic analysis to customer audit logs to identify security risks and even to intervene to protect customer data.”
In the past, control testing and log analysis was the customer’s burden. But Reid points out that vendors now realize when a security lapse affects a customer, even if the vendor is blameless, it harms both the customer and the vendor.
Big data changes
As Suresh Chandrasekaran, SVP North America, Denodo Technologies, points out, business software buyers are increasingly buying outcomes that a solution enables rather than the technology features of a product. He says this trend is the driver for key big data changes in 2015 from a data virtualization / agile data integration perspective.
Chandrasekaran predicts the reunification of analytical and operational silos in software solutions. “Because the cycle of business — data collection, decisions, action — happens so fast, it blurs the traditional lines of difference. Known as ‘broad-spectrum’ data virtualization, these solutions can support analytical, operational, and data management use cases.”
He also believes that agility and breadth will surpass performance as the top criteria for data integration in 2015. “While speed of moving data is still important, the underlying technologies such as network, in-memory and big data support it well enough that the differentiator has shifted to agility or speed to solution across newer and broader data sources and consumers. This portends data virtualization as a layer of technology that brings agility layered over traditional ETL, EAI and big data technologies.”
Ressler at The Cirrostratus Group predicts that “true” big data applications will appear in 2015, but they won’t be labeled “Big Data Application.” He says they’ll be integrated into the application and provide new application solutions and new business models.
“This will be a great opportunity for buyers that recognize truly unique and better analytical algorithms to gain real ROI advantages,” says Ressler. “Big data provides the opportunity for there to be real differentiation in how data is analyzed.”
He also predicts that software vendors that have vertical market solutions will increasingly try to use the data from all of their customers to provide value to their customers. He warns that doing this successfully will require “carefully articulated community value propositions so that customers are comfortable in sharing their aggregate data in return for increased value.”
Smith at Clarity Solution Group observes that open source solutions have reached a critical mass with regard to capability, configurability and administration. Leading distributions have turned their focus towards the enterprise software distributed storage and distributed processing of big data on clusters of commodity hardware. “However, changes are in store,” he predicts, as follows:
- Hadoop will evolve as default infrastructure, replacing big iron in a “data center as a computer” context. Increasingly, Hadoop will be viewed as the operating system for enterprise-scale data-intensive applications.
- Software developers will migrate to an app-store mentality for Hadoop, focusing on differentiation through business-function enablement vs. platform specialization.
Rob Reid at Intacct says the big data software space will begin to sort itself out in 2015. “Vendors that can actually solve business challenges for specific customers by delivering deep business insight will rise above the noise in the market and gain customer traction,” he says. “Vendors that provide a mere snapshot of data or tools that require a PhD in statistics to manipulate will remain niche players, be acquired, or fade to obscurity.”
Reid says it’s “time to put up or shut up,” and we’ll see the leaders in the big data space separate themselves from the pack in 2015 by focusing on actionable results rather than merely organizing data.
Internet of Things changes
“In the same way that software buyers began to adopt a ‘cloud-first’ attitude toward their business applications a few years ago, in 2015 they will begin to think about how their software enables them to capitalize on the rapidly evolving world of the Internet of Things and the new market opportunities as well as the escalating big data and analytics challenges it creates,” says Jeff Kaplan at THINKstrategies.
He points out that this will require software buyers to think about how software will support their IoT initiatives and the skills they need to overcome their implementation, integration and management challenges.
Paul Giurata at Catalyst Resources agrees that the Internet of Things will rapidly gain traction and be profitable — “but not in the way you might think.”
He explains: “One of the great misperceptions of IoT forecasts and hype is that companies need to invent and invest in new products and new categories of products. For example, mHealth consumer IoT focuses on new, trendy, ‘look at me’ kinds of fitness and health-monitoring gadgets and apps. But the high-profit, low-risk money in IoT will come by adding connected capabilities to existing devices and then designing software to broaden the ecosystem of stakeholders who take advantage of this hardware and the data it generates.”
For example, typically technicians and physicians use MRI machines. But when the machine is connected to the cloud and connected to desktop or mobile software, it can be used for collaboration, notifications, big data analytics, hospital financial projections, process optimization and customer service experiences.
He believes we’ll see more businesses treating IoT as an enabling technology to create opportunities for new types of smart applications that transform vertically defined, stand-alone products and applications into larger connected ecosystems with greater reach and broader revenue streams.
Ressler at The Cirrostratus Group says the IoT will provide opportunities for various new B2B vertical solutions. “The solutions will tend to start small and solve specific customer problems. This will also provide the opportunity for many companies that are not in the software business to use software to expand their current offerings.”
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 email@example.com.
Paul Giurata is the managing partner for Catalyst Resources, a user experience and application design firm headquartered in Silicon Valley. He and his teams have worked on more than 450 software projects in Financial Services, SaaS, Life Sciences / Biotech and mission-critical systems. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Hoskins is chief technology officer at Actian. He directs Actian’s technology innovation strategies and evangelizes trends in big data, and cloud-based and on-premises data management and integration. Mike is a respected thought leader who has been featured in TechCrunch, Forbes.com, The Register and Scobleizer. He speaks at events worldwide including Strata, DeployCon, and Structure Big Data. Mike received the AITP Austin chapter’s 2007 Information Technologist of the Year Award for his leadership in developing Actian DataRush. Follow Mike on Twitter: @MikeHSays.
Jeff Kaplan is the managing director of THINKstrategies, founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace and host of the Cloud Innovators Summit conference series. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Robert Reid is CEO of Intacct Corporation, a leading provider of cloud financial management and accounting software. With more than 30 years of experience in the software industry, Rob has a proven track record of driving explosive growth at innovative companies, and has demonstrated a deep expertise in bringing cloud computing to the world of business applications.
Paul Ressler is a consultant specializing in service delivery for SaaS, cloud computing and managed services. As the principal of The Cirrostratus Group, Paul helps his clients improve customer satisfaction, raise service margins, introduce profitable new services, and transition to the SaaS business model.