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2018 will be a year of acceleration as IT professionals and business
leaders adapt to higher data demands, increasing bandwidth
requirements, and loftier customer expectations. Consumption trends
that emerged years ago will reach a critical mass in the near-term,
making IT adjustment an urgent matter for many businesses.
There are five upcoming changes that that will likely have the
biggest impact on day-to-day operations of the IT and business
executive this year. Understanding these trends will help
decision-makers make changes that will be more cost-effective and
easier to manage in the long-term.
IT resources are more organizationally in-demand than ever before,
leading to a scramble for solutions that lets IT re-focus on strategic
initiatives rather than routine management. IT is no longer bounded to
its own space, and increasingly is working across all departments to
implement technologies like automation, business intelligence, and
various software integrations.
As such, IT opportunity costs are increasing, and many low-level
tasks are being outsourced. By the end of 2018, spending on
IT-as-a-Service for data centers, software and services will be $547B,
to a report by Deloitte Consulting. In this timeframe, Deloitte
expects increased spending on new IT technologies through 2022, from
$361B to $547B. Outsourced IT will represent more than half of this spending.
During this shift, services that have been on the fringe of IT
departments, such as telephony management, will continue to lose
ground to hosted solutions. Unified communications are increasingly
attractive solutions to IT departments looking to streamline and hand
off telecommunications, and the technology is garnering larger
percentages of IT budgets.
However, IT professionals need not feel threatened by outsourcing,
automation, IT-as-a-service, or hosted services. These tactics are
shifting, rather than shrinking, the demand for IT expertise,
according to a
salary guide survey of more than 8,000 technology professionals
by Robert Half Technology. Workers who are willing to learn new skills
will be more highly sought after by employers, who will prioritize
keeping up with changing technology; 52 percent of technology
recruiters that participated in the Robert Half survey said that
conversations around career path and growth opportunities are the main
focus of initial job interviews.
As IT opportunity costs increase, stay mindful of how much time IT is
spending on maintenance and routine management tasks versus how much
time they are spending on implementing new technologies. Have a plan
to reduce technology management costs so that IT can focus on
Thanks to the rapid pace of advancement in consumer technology,
consumers have loftier expectations for nearly all products they
consume, and have little tolerance for application downtime,
instability, or security issues. As such, IT will find themselves
closer to the frontlines of the customer experience. This is
especially true since customers now expect near-constant application
uptime and perfect data security.
IT professionals in the banking world are particularly feeling the
increasing demands of customers, whose “nomadic” banking tendencies
lead them to take their money to a new institution at the first
displeasure. Downtime and lack of access to services are a main
culprit of their departure.
“Consumer expectations are outpacing technology," says Kevin
Burke, CIO for ASI Federal Credit Union based out of New Orleans, LA.
"For one thing: banking hours are a thing of the past."
For Kevin, satisfying customers means not only tailoring technology
to consumer experiences, but delivering constant uptime and having
customer-centric disaster recovery. For instance, when a hurricane
damaged the data center where the Credit Union's systems were, a
series of unforeseen disasters lead to unnecessary downtime and a
negative impact to business, although critical system recovery
“Did the DR system work? Yes,” says Kevin, describing the lesson
learned from the Hurricane. “Did it work for our customers? No."
Many other businesses are learning the same lessons, and are
adjusting their DR plans for faster recovery.
“The desire for a tighter recovery times is driving business
decisions,” says Barrett Williams, Director of Delivery Services for
EATEL Business. “More clients are augmenting backups with real-time
replication solutions, like Zerto, to make business continuity more
seamless. Recovering large amounts of data from backups can be too
time consuming and slow recovery efforts. Having the data replicated
can save hours of time in the event of a disaster.”
Consumers have “iPhone expectations” for most products these days,
demonstrating an increased demand for new features and higher levels
of application accessibility. Companies that can’t roll out new
improvements at an iPhone pace can at least take extra measures to
make their products and applications more accessible, stable, and safe.
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