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The ‘IT-ification’ of Business… By @ExtraHop | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

2015 is the year when organizations will really begin to understand just how strategic a weapon IT can be

The "IT-ification" of Business... and Other Predictions for 2015

A few years ago, there was much ado about the "consumerization" of IT, and its impact on IT operations. As a CIO, "consumerization" was an issue, but in my experience the more profoundly impactful trend has really been the "IT-ification" of business. I've spent the last 20 years watching as information technologies creep into every aspect of business operations, from human resources to point-of-sale systems to healthcare delivery. While we've been moving in this direction for a while now, I believe that 2015 is the year when organizations will really begin to understand just how strategic a weapon IT can be. Over the next 12 months, expect to see the following trends crystallize around the recognition of the strategic business value of IT.

Public cloud takes on traditional networking in a big way. During my tenure as CIO at F5Networks, it became an early adopter of Amazon Web Services (AWS), and I know firsthand both the efficiencies and drawbacks of IaaS. One of its biggest drawbacks - and what has to-date inhibited widespread enterprise adoption - is the lack of management and monitoring capabilities. With no NetFlow, sFlow, or even a close equivalent to the capabilities of physical networking, enterprises have little ability to monitor network traffic within the cloud, and therefore little visibility into local cloud-based services. In 2015, expect to see this change. Virtual networking and the cloud will start to catch up with monitoring and management capabilities that rival traditional networking. Major players like AWS and Azure will work to rev up their management and monitoring capabilities in order to make their offerings truly competitive with physical networking, paving the way to major deployments with large enterprise customers.

IT operations teams leverage multiple data sources for better insight. As the "IT-ification" of business takes hold, IT operations teams are faced with exploding complexity, scale, and dynamism. To manage this new reality, a new approach is required. Rather than seeking a single lens into performance, availability, and security of networks and applications, IT operations teams need to implement an approach that leverages multiple viewpoints for deeper, richer, more contextualized visibility and insight. Data sources including machine data, agent data, and wire data - and technologies capable of analyzing them - are already being used to provide this insight. Expect to see greater investment in these technologies in the months and years to come.

The Big Data datastore becomes central to organizational initiatives. While Big Data still means many things to many people, everyone agrees that it is here to stay. As organizations across all sectors become increasingly data driven, they will need solutions that enable data to be leveraged across the organization. In 2015 expect to see a greater number of sophisticated, schema-less distributed datastores like MongoDB and Elasticsearch emerge to meet this demand. As these solutions mature, enterprises will work from one data pool and run that data through different analyses to glean different insights for different departments.

A new approach to IT security unfolds. The spate of recent high-profile security breaches, not to mention the zero-day events Heartbleed and Shellshock, have made IT security top of mind for businesses across all verticals. As organizations become increasingly reliant on information technology, making sure those IT assets are secure is going to be a major priority in 2015. In order to stay ahead of the threats, expect to see IT operations and security teams work together to implement solutions that go beyond protecting the perimeter. IT organizations can no longer assume that assets inside the walls are safe. They need to take the view that the barbarians are already inside the walls, and start leveraging solutions that allow them to quickly identify and shut down those threats before the entire organization feels the impact.

More Stories By John Matthews

John Matthews is the Chief Information Officer at ExtraHop Networks where he oversees the continuous expansion of the ExtraHop IT environment and counsels the company’s enterprise customers as they evolve their IT operations.

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