CIO, Cloud, Data Center, Opinion

PanelCast 2019 Predictions: Accelerating Pace of Change in IT

The speed at which innovation is expected is driving the need for containers, serverless, etc. What does this mean for how organizations view the role of IT?

This blog post was created following ActualTech Media‘s inaugural PanelCast event, held in December of 2018.  This event addressed 2019 enterprise IT predictions in a discussion moderated by Scott D. Lowe, along with four industry experts, including Sirish Raghuram of Platform9, Theresa Miller of Cohesity, Mike Wronski of Nutanix, and Jeff Ready of Scale Computing.

If you’d like to watch our very first PanelCast, please visit https://youtu.be/lbFfTbdztn8


The pace of change is steadily increasing, and it’s not going to slow down in the foreseeable future. As technology continues to evolve, it’s become increasingly clear that the de facto architecture will be a hybrid cloud model. We also expect to see greater adoption of edge computing. Security and data protection are increasingly becoming boardroom issues. We’ll see more widespread adoption of containers. And, perhaps most importantly for many people, we expect a continued shift for IT professionals into more of a hybrid role of tech/business.

Raghuram acknowledges that many new applications are going to be designed with the intent to leverage containers and cloud technologies, or serverless. The trick is supporting these new technologies without leaving the old ones behind. “These platforms need to be supported in a hybrid context,” says Raghuram. Ultimately, the responsibility for effectively managing these platforms in a consistent manner lies with IT, and how well this is done will be a key measure of success in 2019 and going forward.

“What’s interesting,” says Wronski, pointing out the technology-first backgrounds of most IT professionals, “is we sometimes forget the business process side of this, and there is a lot of adaption a business has to go through to even allow IT to help manage these two distinct groups.”

Miller acknowledges that it’s not an easy thing. “IT is leaner and becoming more generalist, yet there’s still these specialized areas that people need to support, so it’s going to be tricky.” Communication is the key here, and figuring out how IT can integrate with the business.

Ultimately, it comes down to what the organizations will expect, and according to Ready, this will be flexibility. “If there’s one thing I’m hearing out there, it’s that IT needs to be much more flexible.”

Scott's Take
It wasn’t that long ago when IT was managing servers and was called “computer services” or the “management information systems” department.  There was a relatively fixed context in which those early manifestations of IT operated.  The walls of these fixed constructs have been demolished and technology is spilling out into the entire organization in ways that were just dreams a few years ago. Between new architectural opportunities, such as containers, cloud, serverless technologies, and many other items, it can be tough for IT pros and CIOs to get their eyes off the infrastructure ball.  However, as the business continues or undertakes digital transformation efforts, the view of what IT is about will change dramatically.  In fact, it’s already happening and it’s going to get more pervasive in the coming years. The role of IT and of the CIO, in the eyes of business leaders, has always centered around the business, but IT hasn’t always been able to have the luxury of that view, leading to divides and a view of IT as somewhat separate from the business with a Venn-diagram like overlap area.  The view of IT and the reality for CIOs is that the circles of these Venn diagrams are continuing to merge and, eventually, there will be but one circle, with IT and the rest of the business finally working in lockstep to ensure success in transformation efforts and a full-court press on ensuring that the needs of customers and their experience – both digital and analog – with the business are met.