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Hybrid Platforms Trends Series: Predicting the Future is Hard

Author:

Rob Sims

Hybrid Platforms

•  Sept 01, 2023

Welcome to the launch of a new blog series - Hybrid Platform Trends. We will be discussing the trends and demands that are impacting the world of Hybrid Platforms- not just the far out future but areas you can take away for today. Each month we will delve into the detail of a new topic related to areas such as:

Along with all the other components that make up the platforms you operate business systems from.  

Before we can get into the detail though we all need a point of reference - who is it you are listening to? What are our capabilities? Our experience and credibility in the market? Also, we need to provide a clear understanding of our definition of the topics we are going to be talking about to ensure we are all on the same page. This is the content I will be covering in this inaugural blog series with the following three topics. 

In this first blog we will look at why the Office of the CTO (OCTO) came into existence, what we will be doing, and an initial look at the current and future demands and trends impacting Hybrid Platforms.  

Predicting The Future Is Hard 

Predicting the future is hard for everyone, especially in an era defined by global economic challenges and an unprecedented speed in the advancements made in technology. As a trusted IT Solutions & Services Provider (or simpler still, a Technology Delivery Partner) we understand our responsibility to help guide our customers through this complex landscape. Providing a unified position on how we can leverage technology as a force for positive change, both inside your organisation and the world we live in.  

This is the reason for the Office of the CTO at CDW; bringing together a team that is focused on supporting our customers with a relevant opinion, building trusted relationships, developing relevant strategic plans, and ultimately ensuring both our organisations succeed.  

As industry experts, we look to establish a relevant peer-to-peer dialogue to fully understand your organisation's goals and direction. Through this relationship, we provide contextual insights into the market, emerging technologies, and how we see these being leveraged for differentiation within your organisation. 

The OCTO is here to provide you, our customers, with a viewpoint on the future that is free from internal bias and leans on the collective experience of all CDW customers across all sectors. As a function separate from Sales and Presales, our focus is on the strategy and direction that comes before product and services. We will challenge your thinking, looking to drive critical thinking and analysis, quite often outside the erected boundaries of a conversation. By providing an objective lens to view strategic decisions, the OCTO will help ensure your technology decisions and investments are as future-proof as possible. 

The OCTO is aligned to the four focus pillars for CDW UK: Hybrid PlatformsModern WorkspaceSecurity, and Digital Enablement. Each has ten key capability categories, supported by eight service areas that enable Build and Run functions. Across these areas, the OCTO has accrued over 110 years of experience that are laser-focused on ensuring that you are enlightened on the future of technology and how it can be leveraged as a differentiator in your business.

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Demands And Trends

For each area we will be defining a near and long sight list of Demands and Trends that we see impacting our focus area. Top trends like formations of Superclouds to help realise the multi-cloud promises have a stark contrast to cloud reversal examples, demonstrating the industry had/has a lack of clarity on when and how public cloud services should be leveraged. 

As organisations become digital-first, the reliance on credible, actionable, and contextual real-time information is becoming critical. Whether to inform decision-making or to ensure service quality (both internally to employees and externally to customers) the maturity of Observability and FinOps practices need to accelerate in line with business transformation initiatives. 

Data Protection has evolved into a Cyber Resilience conversation, and it is clear that capability still needs to mature. Many organisations are not protected by future-proof technology or have developed adequate processes and procedures to truly deal with the inevitable cyber incident. The concept of BCP/DR planning and response for traditional outages is well understood, but many of their concepts don't translate directly to a cyber event. 

Talent is a key challenge in the tech industry, and recruitment, retention, and productivity are major challenges for many organisations. The problem is that we keep moving through the hype cycles and usually don’t finish one initiative before embarking on the next. This leaves mountains of technical debt and stretches the skills requirements, contributing to the overall talent shortage we are facing in the tech sector. 

These are some of the topics we will be digging into throughout this series along with the 20 sub-trends we see impacting different areas of the market. Below is a view of the near-sight demands and trends for 2023/4. Soon we will be looking back in the crystal ball and updating for 2024/25. Maybe an end-of-year recap could be interesting to see how these items panned out. 

Predicting the Future

The Longer View 

As we start to look further out the crystal ball starts to become a little vaguer and foggier. It is interesting when we look back over the years on the cycles we go in as an industry, Green Screen (thin client) to PC, back to thin client (VDI) and now back to PC (Laptop), or the move through physical servers, to virtualisation, to containers, and now we are seeing the move away from containers in some sectors. How will the cloud cycle evolve over the coming years? We are already seeing cloud reversal as an emerging trend due to the way the industry has approached workload placement and service delivery! 

Meta technologies are another exciting trend that will come to impact the way we build and operate platforms. When will support analysts get to troubleshoot the IT ecosystem using AR or VR technologies? What impact will increase use of such technologies have on employee experience, customer experience, or base capabilities of infrastructure and networking? Have a read of our Head of the OCTO article on Metaverse technologies

Quantum is another area that I am keeping a close eye on. While quantum computing is the poster child and all most people hear about, there are multiple other areas that are going to have an impact on the industry. Quantum, sensing, deep physics, and communications are all joining computing as areas of quantum conversation. We are seeing real-world adoption of technology in the communications space for example. It is expected though that quantum computing is still likely 5-7 years away, but that is not that long in enterprise IT terms! 

Once I cover the more near-term topics attention can turn to the longer-term view and start to explore how the new and exciting tech can impact outcomes. Watch out for content on the crazier ideas.

If you have any specific topics or trends, you would like discussed please feel to reach out. 

Follow On Topics

Following on from this initial intro the plan is to cover a topic from our view of the demands and trends in the Hybrid Platforms market. Look out for future articles covering topics such as: 

  • Supercloud
  • Talent Gap
  • Cyber Resilience
  • Cloud Reversal
  • Technology driven differentiation
  • Observability

For each topic we will explore the ‘as is’ position, current challenges, technical jargon, and have a look at the future direction of travel. I will look to cover a new topic each month and break it down into multiple parts for ease of consumption.

Summary

At CDW, we are known for and excel at supply chain fulfilment, something that many of our customers rely on day in and day out to ensure smooth operation of their businesses. The part of CDW that excites me is our ability to solve challenges in innovative and creative ways, combining People, Process, and Technology to achieve something that cannot just be picked off the shelf. We are no longer ‘just’ a reseller, we are a Technology Delivery Partner curating solutions to the most complex organisational challenges. And guess what? We have been doing that for a while. 

Final Thoughts

  • Are there any trends you would like to hear our opinion on? If so, please reach out. 
  • Do you have a business challenge that technology might be able to solve but don’t know how to start? Drop us a line. 
  • Need help understanding technology direction and strategy? Or want to ensure current plans are aligned with trends and future possibilities? We can help. 
Contributors
  • Rob Sims

    Chief Technologist - Hybrid Platforms

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