Tracking trends and developments

(Image: Stockfresh)

25 August 2017

Paul HearnsThe story from the Computer Economics’ annual IT Spending and Staffing Benchmarks report which tells us that on-premises data centre spending is falling in priority should not really come as a surprise.

On-premises data centres have been fading in priorities, if not utility, for some time now. So it really should not shock anyone to hear that other priorities, from network infrastructure to end user devices, such as PCs and printers, have all passed the humble local DC as a priority of IT departments.

“It is not only telling us the obvious, that cloud technologies and services are being leveraged more and more in enterprise, but it is telling us that the trend is accelerating”

The survey also reports that capital expenditure is at a five-year low of 18%, down from 21% for the last two years and 24% back in 2013. Now this is far more enlightening.

This tells us that there is more of an acceleration in recent years. So it is not only telling us the obvious, that cloud technologies and services are being leveraged more and more in enterprise, but it is telling us that the trend is accelerating. There is a 3% fall between 2016 and 2017, compared a 3% fall over the three years from 2013 to 2016, though with a bit of plateau from 2015 to 2016.

And, while this is not necessarily a surprise, it is more enlightening to know that the trend is accelerating as confidence grows, prices fall and capabilities increase.

There are a couple of other points of note form the survey report.

Firstly, that security remains a high priority, irrespective of where services come from.

Security is a top priority for 70% of the organisations surveyed, with increases in  spending planned. Despite the strides made to secure cloud services, and everywhere else, vigilance is high, preventative measures abound and the costs rise. Status quo, then.

A predicted effect is also coming to pass, that staffing levels for IT are not being reduced, even as on-premises data centres are reduced in priorities.

The survey said hiring is slowing for lower-level skills such as computer operations, scheduling, and lower-level tech support positions, but positions that required higher-level skills, such as business analysts, project managers, data analysts, and IT security professionals, are increasing in demand.

Again this is the predicted effect where most organisations prefer to cross and up-skill their staff to meet the changing needs of the organisation, which is good news for IT pros.

The other trend that jumps out from the scanning the headlines is that artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning and any other type of terminology that denotes some level of intelligence or autonomy in programming, is increasing in usage.

Inevitably, as the technologies gain more and more traction, some vendors will feel the need to make claims that are unjustified.

In a process known as ‘washing’, some vendors associate whatever the latest buzz terms are with their products or services, without any justification for doing so. It was seen with many previous trends, such as green-washing and cloud-washing.

Despite the fact that huge contributions have been made to open source projects, and with the donation of or opening up of libraries from the likes of Google, IBM and Microsoft, making the technologies more accessible and available than ever before, there are still those who will make the claims on foot of nothing at all.

It seems as technology marches inevitably onward, Human 1.0 still falls to the same old behaviours. Perhaps someone will invent an autonomous bot to go around and investigate claims of AI/ML capabilities and verify their veracity.

The last trend to catch my eye recently is a ray of hope for hacks, writers and interviewers around the world. Microsoft has announced a breakthrough in transcription technologies.

According to a blog post, a development team has achieved parity with human transcribers for voice recognition.

This is a most welcome development.

The day when I can throw a WAV file into an app and have a decent transcription come out the far end will be a joyous one indeed.



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