IBM internal experts club together to offer 2014 predictions

IBM has picked the brains of its  industry experts to gain some high-level predictions for the coming year in four key areas:

Analytics

The world of Big Data and Business Analytics is changing dramatically. It is becoming pervasive across the business, built in to core operations and driving real time insights into business transactions to create value for both the business and its clients. This demands new thinking in the way analytics should be deployed. IBM System z experts are looking at 2014 and seeing big data analytics taking a huge step away from traditional approaches and towards more economical and secure environment. Some of the specific trends they see either developing or strengthening over the coming year include:

  • Bringing the analytics to the data rather than the data to the analytics: ETL will become a major, unanticipated cost issue for many businesses as they begin transferring big data from one system to another. IBM estimates that 50 percent to 60 percent of the world’s operation data, including vast amounts of financial, retail and governmental data, resides under System z mainframe control. IT can save money by processing that data in the server environment that owns it.
  • Growing numbers of businesses will apply business analytics to support revenue-generating strategies rather than cost containment. More detailed information on this trend is available in IBM’s Business Value study, “Analytics: A Blueprint for Value“.
  • Social media analytics will gain considerable traction as a business’s cloud and mobile platforms continue to grow. Companies will be able to analyze word use, customer comments, and other social media data to built better marketing programs and client engagements.
  • Data privacy will continue to be a hot topic among consumers. These concerns will force enterprises to take a closer look at their data security, which will result in a review of their overall systems and how their data is managed.

Cloud

According to IDC, cloud server revenue will increase at a CAGR of 16.6% percent, 2011-2016. In terms of the overall server market, IDC estimates that cloud servers will represent 8.8 percent of revenue and 20.5 percent of unit shipments by 2016. Given these numbers, IBM System z expects to see more clients deploying cloud infrastructures on their mainframes in 2014. The reasons behind this trend include:

  • System z provides high security and compliance standards, security configuration and operations transparency, and a a more secure hypervisor.
  • It supports the ability to create private clouds in a highly secure and scalable infrastructure that can accommodate a variety of applications.
  • It can support highly scalable hybrid cloud infrastructures that are as secure as their private cloud without requiring porting to another system.
  • A large number of System z environments run on Linux, which is a key part of IBM clients’ cloud strategy, and which will drive an increase in Linux workloads and applications.
  • Local businesses will increase their online business as they deploy mobile and business applications to the cloud. SMB clients who have installed the new xBC12 have been able to launch directly into the cloud easily and securely, seamlessly managing increased volumes of transactions and client and business data analytics to optimize local customer experience.

Mobile

The inflection point we are at with mobile mimics what we saw with the Internet 15 years ago. Just as the focus in the early days of the Internet was centered on the browsers and the dotcom companies, today’s mobile focus has been rather narrowly on the devices and apps. IBM believes that the shift which occurred a decade ago on the Internet when businesses natively embraced the Web, is on the verge of exploding the mobile landscape as we know it today. By 2020 there will be 10 billion-plus devices in the pockets and palms of consumers. IBM expects mainframe clients to adopt this trend by deploying more mobile workloads in 2014.

Skills

Students today have a unique and exciting market opportunity ahead of them. With 90 percent of data being developed over the past few years, mainframes are growing in popularity. However, the IT professionals that manage them are retiring, requiring the skills of a new generation of mainframe experts. The IBM Master the Mainframe Contest, part of the company’s Academic Initiative, enables students take charge of these world-class computing platforms and showcase their talents, while learning sought-after enterprise computing skills. For a decade, the IBM System z academic initiative has been creating programs, in conjunction with high schools and universities around the world, to help educate students on the mainframe’s importance, teach them the appropriate skills and provide them with the business strategies needed to succeed. The coming year will without a doubt see more companies focused on technology skills for millennials, including:

  • Increasing numbers of skills programs for millenials created by enterprises, especially financial institutions;
  • Increasing program enrollment in the IBM System z academic initiative as more high schools begin offering programming classes;
  • Participation in the Master of the Mainframe Contest, which includes access to IBM’s Systemzjobs.com will continue to increase. In 2013, the North American Master of the Mainframe contest had 5,450 participants including 2,200 high school students, compared with only 4,682 participants including only 1,000 high school students in 2012. Currently 27 countries are participating in the Master of the Mainframe.

Overall, IBM sees many reasons for optimism about the IT industry and its growing opportunities in 2014.