2020 enterprise technology predictions: cloud, serverless computing, compliance and beyond

Sanjay Castelino, Chief Product Officer at Snow Software

Enterprise technology continues to be at the forefront of innovation, driving technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and software-as-a-service (SaaS), all powered by the cloud. This has influenced IT decision making, spending, governance across all categories of technology  – pushing IT budgets to increase in line with innovation, employee demand and business demand. Research by Spiceworks has revealed 44% of businesses plan to grow IT budgets in 2020, compared to 38% in 2019. The research also found the biggest drivers for IT budget increase to be the need to upgrade outdated IT infrastructure, followed by escalating security concerns, and employee growth.

So, what is in-store for enterprise technology in 2020, and how will this influence the way businesses use such technology?

  • Line of business driven IT spending: Traditionally, IT focused on managing the capacity and availability of technology investments purchased by the business and serving as the official gatekeeper for the organisation. But there has been a market shift, with individual business units driving technology buying decisions and the technology itself shifting towards cloud-based consumption models. As a result, IT now needs to help organisations better understand and more intelligently consume technology. That speaks to cost, productivity, risk mitigation, and otherwise using technology to its greatest advantage. In the year ahead, we’ll see more organizations focus on consuming technology in a more intelligent way.

  • Software usage vs. compliance: Cloud offerings enable users to buy and consume what they want, when they want it without centralised oversight. This creates new challenges for IT as they attempt to track and manage all the technology in their environment. Many organisations have tolerated the unmanaged use of cloud solutions because they believe that the biggest spend is still under control. Yet, businesses don’t really know if all that SaaS and cloud spend is creating unmanaged compliance and data risks. Businesses will continue to struggle to manage any associated compliance and governance risks. Without proper visibility and insight, these challenges are only going to grow and become more difficult over time.

  • Cloud overspend vs. ROI: There is a growing disconnect between an organisation’s understanding of usage and spend on cloud services, and how vendors are charging for those services. Azure and AWS are now tracked and billed by the hour or even the second, yet many businesses are still trying to analyse usage data on a monthly or even yearly basis. That creates a significant challenge for organisations trying to understand, manage and optimise spend. This dissonance will only increase as new enterprise innovations, like serverless technology, take hold in the years ahead.

  • Serverless computing: Today’s cloud infrastructure is relatively easy to understand compared to what it will look like in 2020 and beyond. For example, when provisioning a cloud instance today, a user only needs a basic idea of how it operates and what it will cost. But when new cloud approaches like serverless become more popular, cloud usage will be managed by the people writing code. In serverless computing, the code drives the cost to deliver the service, and businesses are not yet prepared to deal with these new consumption models. In the next year, companies need to prioritise understanding consumption models because those models will have a significant impact on their business.

Cloud and decentralised IT will continue to have ripple effects on how organisations enable their businesses throughout the year. The key will be for enterprises to embrace the ongoing shift to empower their workers, create a more strategic IT team and identify opportunities where technology can drive value for the overall business.