Happy new year! It feels odd to be looking back on the last month of 2014 when it seems like we’re firmly into 2015; much more like looking back in time than reflecting on a month just passed. Ironic, then, that December was a month of looking forward at what is to come. Three trends we picked out from December’s enterprise collaboration news cycle were the evolution of the digital workplace, changes in information security and the rising popularity of hybrid cloud.
The digital workplace
So what exactly is a digital workplace? Sam Marshall explains what it is and what it isn’t in his article for CMSWire. He summarises what it is by explaining that at its heart, the digital workplace is about bringing people and technology together to “allow people to connect, collaborate, communicate and co-operate without necessarily being together face to face.” He explains that what it isn’t is simply intranets or social networks. Nor is it a synonym for social business. The main thing, Sam explains, is that it decouples work from a physical location.
In his article for Inc.com Raymon Ray describes how technology is changing corporate communication and transforming company culture. He explains that companies are seeing the benefits of using communications technologies within the business and no longer as just “customer-facing marketing engines”. Instead, businesses are seeing the potential of using enterprise software to facilitate brainstorming, idea sharing and collaboration with colleagues. Raymon explains how enterprise social networking helps coworkers communicate more efficiently, bridge the gap between remote workers, and provide a platform for all work to take place.
Leigh Gallagher reveals the impact of this shift in her article for Fortune, where she predicts the beginning of the end for email. Leigh says that email isn’t going to die in 2015, or anytime in the foreseeable future, but this could be the year that alternatives finally start to gain traction. Leigh explains the benefits of social tools which are now making inroads into business as a way to reduce email overload, predicting that in 2015 these tools will become more prevalent.
In his article for CIO.com, Thor Olavsrud speaks to Steve Durbin of Information Security Forum to compile a list of five information security trends that will dominate 2015. He explains that information security professionals must understand these five trends in order to combat threats in 2015: the increasing sophistication of cybercrime; changes in government policy with regard to data privacy; hacking threats changing focus to third-party application providers; the BYOx trend is not going away so we need to embrace it; and finally, the need to raise awareness of information security among employees, reducing risk through new behaviours.
Thor and Steve’s predictions refer to information security on a business level, reducing risks to data from confidential information being accidentally exposed or from deliberate commercial hacking attempts. However, the concerns about information security now extend to the government level, as the United States government extends its access to business data stored anywhere in the world. HighQ’s CFO Amit Patel writes for Techcrunch in an article titled The Patriot Act is cannibalizing America’s economic edge, where he explains that the authority of the NSA puts the $5.7 trillion US IT industry in danger of losing its competitive advantage. He explains that prospects are shying away from hosting data with American companies, and it may not be long until the US no longer rules the cloud.
Matthew Finnie predicts three changes for the cloud in his article Evolved understanding: What 2015 holds for the cloud for VentureBeat. He expects that 2015 is the year when we stop talking about the cloud as a “what if?” choice and start talking about the different architectures and their suitability for our workloads. His three predictions for the year are: that the difference in the delivery of private cloud and public cloud will disappear; the rise of the debate about the super centre versus distributed cloud computing; and, that machines talking to machines will become the norm.
In his article for ZDNet, Drew Turney agrees with Matthew Finnie’s prediction, saying that the question is no longer about “will businesses move to the cloud?” but instead, “how and when are they doing it?”. Drew says that the age of hybrid cloud is upon us, stating that 75 percent of C-level execs agree that a hybrid cloud strategy should be one of their main priorities for 2015. He explains that the reason for the popularity of hybrid is that it gives organisations the ability to choose which cloud mode suits various parts of their business and the freedom to choose amongst multiple providers. HighQ’s Amit Patel reinforces this explanation, stating that the demand for hybrid is being driven by specific information security concerns about hosting data in US-domiciled clouds and clients seek the opportunity to choose where their data is hosted.Despite the conviction by many businesses to pursue hybrid cloud this year, Joe McKendrick explains in his article for Forbes that many don’t quite understand what it is. Within three years, executives expect to see most of their applications and services running within hybrid clouds. But few executives actually fully understand hybrid cloud’s potential. Joe states that only 16 percent of executives are able to identify the full range of benefits afforded by hybrid solutions. Joe says that there is a need for more education on the benefits and limits of hybrid cloud computing, and cloud computing in general, in 2015.