In last week’s blog, I shared my take on five critical trends technology leaders can no longer ignore. Let’s round out the Top Ten trends in data, cloud, and analytics, from sustainability in IT to the Great Resignation.
6. DIY no more: out-of-the-box industry insights are being supplied by core systems vendors—and enhanced by the platforms they run on
Core system vendors—Salesforce, SAP, and hyperscalers they run on Google, Snowflake, and others—are no strangers to providing out-of-the-box value. However, it has become increasingly clear that your ERP, core banking system, or CRM won’t need a service provider or consultant to configure essential industry insights and help usher in digital transformation.
Vendor marketplaces are already helping CIOs worry less about delaying value creation by building internal applications to derive data insights. Instead, teams can immediately begin the consumption of pre-created industry analytics straight from their vendors or vendor marketplaces.
Paul’s Take: Out-of-the-box analytics and insights will empower organizations across verticals, lowering the accessibility of transformative data, cloud, and reporting tools. But the need for partnerships with service providers won’t go away. In fact, I expect companies that want to integrate various tools, applications, and visualizations to turn to vendors with experience crafting holistic solutions.
I predict service providers will be tapped by enterprises to help them extract the full potential of the cloud platforms their ERPs’ run on. These vendors will also likely become end-to-end purveyors of these insights, creating these industry tools and publishing them to core-system vendor marketplaces. This increased availability of these tools will help organizations establish the connective tissue between these new capabilities to hasten growth and innovation.
7. Breadth (skillset, geography, and industry) in partnerships is fulfilling on the Great Resignation’s talent gap
The Great Resignation has left few industries untouched. Experienced employees are leaving organizations with five to ten-year tenures and swathes of intellectual property. These highly impactful individuals are a challenge to replace. Many are going to organizations focused more narrowly on innovation and can justify $60,000-$100,000 salary increases for candidates.
Only 16% of IT professionals ages 19 to 29 plan to stay at their workplaces. In a global Gartner survey of 1,755 IT workers, only 29% said they have a high intent of staying in their current roles. In this uncertain landscape, organizations are scrambling to replace IT talent—and many simply can’t find skilled professionals for the job.
Paul’s Take: Businesses will continue cultivating expertise from within. However, these same organizations will (and many are already) turn to service providers like Pythian—partners with the expertise and deep experience across industries and skillsets to solve their talent gaps. Many enterprises are adopting the ‘Team Two’ philosophy, where trusted vendors are becoming agile extensions of their business thanks to their competency and experience. When enterprises need to scale capabilities in machine learning, data, and data engineering operations, they can rely on teams like ours to divert those workloads.
With technology partners in play, internal teams are—and will continue to—capitalize on more exciting and innovative projects that drive business outcomes and are often directly connected to revenue generation. In this way, by establishing an ecosystem of partnership talent, employees may experience increased job satisfaction, further augmenting your employer retention strategy.
8. Growing significance of sustainability (ESG) in IT
Data centers will be one of the leading contributors to climate change based on the price per wattage used, responsible for at least 1% of the world’s electricity use, and by 2025 may be responsible for 3.2% of greenhouse gas emissions. By 2040, this number is expected to increase to 14% of total global emissions. The compute consumption in the cloud goes well beyond any large retail organization or manufacturing plant, and enterprise leadership and their boards are taking note.
Cloud vendors themselves are highlighting the environmental and sustainability of platforms. During the 2022 Snowflake Summit in Las Vegas, Snowflake shared that businesses on their platform can reduce their environmental impact by minimizing unnecessary hyperscaler consumption (as opposed to manual optimization). So where does this leave CIOs and CTOs?
Paul’s Take: Leadership will be responsible for sustainable strategies that aren’t as superficial as they may appear today. Sustainability will become a growing KPI, one that factors in energy use, how many individuals there are, how much of the data pipe they have access to, how much computing power is available within the data center, and how much the organization is spending.
I expect new mandates from company boards. Enterprises want to be part of the climate change solution—not part of the problem. More responsible cloud use, like using fewer computing resources resulting in less air conditioning usage for data racks, and more accessible courses of action—increasing rack density or using current generation equipment, for example—will be top of mind.
9. Automation: from simple integration to DevOps to citizen development
Emerging technologies have long promised organization-wide automation. For example, we’ve seen it in robotic process automation (RPA), simplifying repetitive tasks across business units. We’ll also hear more about automation as the centralized theme of application development, where it will be a simple, affordable business integration.
Paul’s Take: Over a short period, we will see a shift in how enterprises approach automation. Soon, IT will make it part of their portfolio to measure how much of the business is automated and how automated it is. Technology leaders and their teams will implement new workflows and processes with greater enterprise transparency to strategically increase team adoption.
Liken this to the concept of discreet manufacturing. We often think of this form of manufacturing as a massive conveyor belt where raw materials continue onwards, uninterrupted until they end up as finished products. How discreet manufacturing starts, however, is with a large number of conveyor belts with trolleys. Trolleys are responsible for moving unfished products from belt to belt. With greater transparency, we can see where the trolleys exist, allowing us to remove manual steps. Engineering can then find opportunities to connect the conveyor belts and improve efficiencies.
10. Diversity, equity, and inclusion rising to the forefront of IT employee engagement—with real solutions
We’re more powerful when we’re together. When we’re engaged and feel a sense of belonging, we’re more likely to build stronger relationships, have greater empathy for each other, and better commit to shared causes. As an IT leader, the cohesion between your team and cross-functional groups is likely top of mind.
“As a leader, how do I better retain talent? How do I keep communication flowing? How do I foster a culture of innovation and creativity?”
There’s no doubt in my mind that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are an organization’s great connectors; they’re some of the leading forces behind higher employee engagement, retention, and job satisfaction. We also know that more diverse workplaces drive more innovation and revenue and reap the rewards of increased productivity.
However, many organizations don’t have concrete solutions to overcome their DEI challenges. Low leadership involvement, inability to measure efforts, inadequate training, and company silos are some challenges IT teams face when rolling out DEI strategies. Additionally, many leaders are paralyzed by a simple truth: representation of women in computing is declining.
Paul’s Take: Diversity and inclusion in STEM is a problem. When I post a job, societal and academic influences encourage groups to apply while discouraging others. As a CTO, I often ask myself how I invest in leveling the playing field. Although that path is unclear, that couldn’t prevent us from taking action where we are capable.
Setting a DEI goal will no longer be enough for your IT team. Goals are past tense; boards and leadership must see actionable, strategic DEI programs. Measuring KPIs will never disappear, but technology leaders must partner with HR and Culture teams to foster DEI. The leading organizations will incorporate the top diversity and inclusion hiring practices, leverage employee engagement software, develop recognition programs, establish more employee committees, regularly gather feedback, and iterate often to improve processes to engage their technology team with DEI as a central spoke.
I hope you enjoyed this series on upcoming data, cloud, and analytics trends technology leaders should expect to act on in the coming months. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my predictions: what do you think I got right? What did I get wrong? Let me know in the comments section below.