When I was asked to put together a blog I naturally had a quick browse of the net to see what the ‘experts’ were predicting. In many cases I saw the usual suspects: AI, VR, Machine Learning and IoT is still making an appearance. But I also came across many buzzword titles where the text often did not actually match the heading ie live up to the claim. Here, I have included the top five common themes for software in 2017 and pointed out where the terminology may be a bit awry.
5 technology and software trends for 2017
User experience/user-centred design
The software development community has, in the past, been slow to realise that the users are king. Their appreciation (or lack thereof) defines the reputation of a software solution and by making the users experience central to the design and evolution of a system, giving them the smoothest possible path to complete the tasks they need to accomplish, you can achieve far greater success. This success may be measured in the form of competitive advantage, increased longevity of the solution or just a happier user base. This is not a new concept but the reason for highlighting is that the prominence of this principle has been increasing in recent years and I expect that to continue into 2017 with it becoming routine and normal across the industry.
Big Data (or just big value from your data)
Big data is one of those buzzwords that I was referring to in my intro. It is mentioned a lot as a coming trend and in most cases the author is not referring to the strict meaning of the term. I suspect ‘Big Data’ in its true sense will always be quite niche in the sense that relatively few organisations want or need to process the volumes of data that truly fall into this category. However, what many people are driving at when they talk about ‘Big Data’ is being able to consolidate data from a number of disparate sources and spot patterns to extract meaningful information to drive business strategy. The good news is that all of this is perfectly possible without adopting a costly big data platform and this is an area of considerable growth.
More moves to the cloud
It is over 10 years since Amazon launched AWS and the cloud computing marketplace has now got an air of normality and stability about it that it may have lacked in the past. Where once there was fear of leaping into the unknown with the Cloud’s “Platform-as-a-Service” offerings server-less computing is now a reality and you are more likely to be challenged as to why a solution should not be deployed to the cloud. This is likely to increase further in 2017 with Microsoft now offering most services from their two new UK datacentres the justifications for ignoring the cloud are getting fewer and fewer.
The way we communicate with our colleagues is changing. With remote working on the increase and the burgeoning popularity of Slack and other chat based collaboration tools, system generated email notifications could soon be seen as old hot. Microsoft has recently unveiled Teams as a new tool within Office365 as a direct competitor within this space and we expect to see increasing requirements to integrate with these types of tools.
Shadow IT has long been the scourge of IT departments with the many potential downsides of direct engagement between IT suppliers and the business and the ramifications of ‘citizen developers’ easily identified. However, the attitude toward shadow IT appears to be gradually changing, partly along the same theme as highlighted under the user centred design heading. The assumption that ‘citizen developers’ are incapable of writing passable tools or that departments directly engaging with IT suppliers will make poor decisions without hand holding is arguably condescending and with resources stretched in many internal IT departments, 2017 could be a year where we see more organisations embrace the power of shadow IT.
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