As 2015 draws to a close, I wanted to review my 2015 predictions and assess how they played out in reality – effectively see how many Mystic Meg points I scored. I’ll be issuing my 2016 predictions shortly, so keep an eye on the blog page for these.
This prediction was all about application focus, not the infrastructure or platform. Consider what the application is, what it does for the business and therefore how important its security, performance and availability are. In summary I suggested businesses should first prioritise, analyse characteristics, secure and deliver their applications.
HIT: At Adapt we have seen a massive uptake in this way of thinking. We rarely start discussions around technology, infrastructure or platforms with customers (current and prospects). Their requests are straightforward: it’s all about ensuring their business applications deliver (or exceed) what the business is asking of them. We do of course discuss the technology and infrastructure at the appropriate time, generally with the application owner to define how to best deliver what the application requires. There is also an additional level of due-diligence undertaken by new customers to ensure our technology and infrastructure is a good fit for their requirements.
Generally however, application-led infrastructure definition is here to stay.
Multiple suppliers, often delivering overlapping services with little strategic engagement - sound familiar? The prediction here was about reviewing and rationalising your suppliers to ensure the business gets the value, security and service required.
Partial HIT: I have seen some progress on this in the infrastructure and platform arena. With Adapt’s Cloud Integrator capabilities, we’ve helped some of our customers to rationalise their direct partner relationships and to bring the support under a single Adapt umbrella. The uptake hasn’t been massive in the last 12 months, but the discussions I am having with many current customers suggest it’s still a problem they intend to address.
The initial thought was that 2015 was going to be tough from a security perspective, and that organisations should undertake a comprehensive review of their security and compliance strategy. I advised that it was time to get proactive and enhance security, cautioning businesses about the perils of only focussing on vulnerabilities and perimeter security.
BIG HIT: Admittedly this was a pretty safe bet, but I couldn’t have guessed just how big a year it was to be for security. As I write this the fall-out from the TalkTalk breach still continues, and there has been an entire catalogue of high profile security blunders throughout the year. As a business, Adapt now layers far more, and richer, security services into our environments, following the ‘secure by default’ concept. Nothing can be completely secure, but whereas a few years ago the default consisted of only anti virus (AV) and Firewalls; it is now AV, Firewalls, IDS/IPS, DDoS Mitigation, Hardened Builds, 2 factor admin, SIEM- the list is extensive.
Here I predicted the end of life for data centre/server based systems, such as Windows Server 2003, MOM 2005, SMS 2003, etc. I posited that this would drive a considerable refresh of hardware and software, and a greater adoption of cloud platforms.
MISS: 2015 was a fantastic year for our new business team, and whilst there was a fair amount of refresh-driven business, we haven’t seen the significant anticipated. I’m still not entirely sure why this is the case; perhaps customers have just had other priorities this year (see security above!), so maybe 2016 will be the turning point where this becomes a significant work stream.
This final prediction stated that as we’re coming out of the recession, we would see businesses start to grow and invest in the future - and part of that would entail a thorough review of how technology enables business growth.
HIT: A massive amount of new business in 2015 was underpinned by working with customers to address things that would inhibit growth or pose a risk to their expansion. This has happened across a range of sectors and from small to very large organisations. Projects have ranged from complete infrastructure-led outsources to delivering a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solution to enable flexible working and resourcing (people).