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A Few 2016 Technology Predictions

I can’t help it. I enjoy the end of the year technology predictions, even though it’s hard to argue with this tweet from Merv Adrian:


With that in mind, I recently participated in a Q&A on predictions and the year in review. Here are my answers and the links to the other responses on the Sand Hill site [updated on January 4th 2016 to add a new answer and more prediction links]:

Imagine that you have a time capsule to fill. What is the most important news item about a software company that occurred in 2015 that belongs in the capsule, and why?
The resurgence of Microsoft as a cloud company was big news in 2015. Under the leadership of Satya Nadella, the company has once again become relevant, despite a continued decline in PC sales. On its most recent earnings call, financial analysts noted that, “cloud is the epicenter of the growth story,” which represents the ultimate tipping point for enterprise cloud computing adoption.

Read all of the answers.

Who was the biggest tech disruptor in 2015?
Microsoft’s resurgence is the biggest news of 2015, but Amazon, and specifically AWS, has done the most to disrupt traditional approaches to delivering (and purchasing) software in the enterprise. From AWS Aurora and Redshift for database management and data warehousing, to AWS GovCloud, which brings public cloud options to US government agencies, AWS continues to set the cloud computing standard for enterprise IT organizations and independent software vendors (ISVs).

Read the rest of the answers.

Aside from the Internet of Things, which of the following software areas will experience the most change in 2016 – big data solutions, analytics, security, customer success/experience, sales & marketing approach or something else?
2016 will be the year of the data lake. It will surround and, in some cases, drown the data warehouse, and we’ll see significant technology innovations, methodologies and reference architectures that turn the promise into a reality. At the same time, big data solutions will mature (read: security, governance, metadata management) and go beyond the role of being primarily developer tools for highly skilled programmers.

Read the rest of the answers.

In 2016, which software company will be the biggest game-changer for the long term?
From a cloud applications perspective, we continue to see Workday, ServiceNow and, of course, Salesforce expand their footprint and disrupt their markets. From a data management and analytics perspective, more and more Hadoop projects are moving into production with Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR while also looking to Spark and Databricks, which are gaining significant mindshare for real-time, in-memory computing as well as cloud-based deployments. Meanwhile, Microsoft, AWS and Google continue to push the boundaries of the cloud, each now offering data management / cloud analytics solutions. With that as the background, it’s difficult to pick one software company as the biggest game-changer for the long term. On the other hand, I have to give credit to Amazon for continuing to change the game in each market it enters.

Which software company executive will be in the news headlines the most during 2016?
Does Elon Musk count? The Hyperloop concept is amazing.

Which software company will be the biggest rainmaker in attracting new customers in 2016?
Is Netflix considered a software company these days? What about Uber? Amazon Prime is taking over, but I’m not sure if that counts either. Software is truly eating the world, which is why it’s now easy to confuse a car manufacturer, a media company, a retailer and a ride-sharing service as software companies in 2016. It’s software plus business model disruption and the right mix of timing that will lead to massive customer attraction in 2016.

Read the rest of the answers.

What are the biggest risks for software vendors in 2016?
With so much hype around the promise of new technologies and disruptive business models, the risk is that the so-called unicorns become ‘unicorpses.’ (I’ve also heard the term ‘dinocorns.’) New technology platforms must demonstrate a fast time to value and quantifiable ROI or they will no longer be relevant.”

Read the rest of the answers.

What are the biggest risks for software buyers in 2016?

Complacency – thinking that you can continue to just work with the same handful of legacy software vendors that you’ve known for 10-20 years and hoping that they’ll be able to deliver the level of innovation and agility that newer technology companies and technology platforms were built to deliver. Digital transformation is at the top of the hype cycle, powered by the promise of cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things; and software buyers must be open to new thinking, new approaches and new technologies.

Read the rest of the answers.

Thanks to Sand Hill for the opportunity to participate in the series. Here are some of the predictions that I’ve enjoyed the most (so far) this holiday season:


Addressing the Last Mile – Middleware in Focus

Check out this post by Glenn Donovan: The History of Middleware. From the enterprise service bus (ESB) to the integration competency center (ICC), he has a lot to say about the good, bad and ugly of legacy enterprise application integration (EAI) and extract, transform and load (ETL) technologies. The central theme – it’s about the need for simplicity and speed, which has become even more critical for successful cloud integration deployments. Here are a few noteworthy observations in the post:

On the bureaucracy of the ICC:

“Sure you could build competency centers and “factories” but to this day, such approaches end up creating more bureaucracy, more dependencies and complexity while adding less and less value compared to what a developer can build him/herself with RESTful services/micro-services, and most things one wants to integrate with today already have well defined APIs so it’s often much easier to connect and share data anyway.”

no_esbOn the ESB:

“Along the way, a problem became obvious. The cost, expertise, complexity and time involved in building such elegantly designed and governed systems frameworks ran counter to building systems fast. A good developer could get something done that worked and was high quality without resorting to using all those WS standardized services and conforming to its structure.”

On the need for a new enterprise platform to replace the legacy ESB:

“I think many are ready to dump all that highly complex and expensive overhead which came along with messaging buses when an enterprise class platform comes along that enables them to do so.”

Simplicity = IT agility:

“This is all coming together now, so you will see growing interest in throwing out the old integration server/message bus architectures in organizations focused on transformation and agility as core values.”

Check out the entire article to understand the author’s point of view. As a veteran of the middleware industry, he’s looking at modern integration platform as a service (iPaaS) vendors like SnapLogic as having: “the potential  help IT with the “last mile” of cloud build-out in the enterprise, not just due its features, but rather because of the shift in software engineering and design occurring that started in places like Google, Amazon and Netflix – and startups that couldn’t afford and “enterprise technology stack” – and is now making its way into the enterprise.”

5 Signs You Need Better Cloud Integration

I recently participated in an online web conference called Cloudcon 2015: Integration and Web APIs where I reviewed 5 signs you need better cloud integration:

  1. You’re Struggling with the Integrator’s Dilemma
  2. You Have Unintegrated Integration:
  3. You Thought Cloud = API Utopia
  4. You Still Have Swivel Chair Integration
  5. You’re Considering Going Back to On-Prem Due to Diminishing SaaS Returns

It’s a topic I wrote about in this blog post last year. Here’s the recording of the presentation, which also includes an overview of the SnapLogic Elastic Integration Platform and a Q&A session with Vance McCarthy from Integration Developer News.

Hybrid Cloud Integration – Why It’s Different and Why It Matters

This week Carl Lehmann from 451 Research reviewed the trends, best practices and reference architecture for integration platform as a service (iPaaS) and hybrid cloud integration. Here’s the presentation, which also includes an overview of SnapLogic’s Elastic Integration Platform.

Big Data Integration Best Practices

Last week I hosted a SnapLogic webinar that featured a great overview of how to approach the increasing requirements for big data integration by Mark Smith, CEO & Chief Research Officer, Ventana Research. As opposed to simply trying to re-purposing your old ETL tools or hiring developers to write custom code, Mark shared 5 best practices for attaining excellence in big data integration:

  1. Evaluate efficiency of processes
  2. Examine new approaches
  3. Evaluate technology needs
  4. Investigate dedicated technology
  5. Gain benefits that outweigh costs

I’ve embedded the slides below and you can watch the webinar here.

The Death of Traditional Integration

Recently I hosted a SnapLogic webinar featuring the company’s co-founder and CEO, Gaurav Dhillon, and industry analyst, author and practitioner David Linthicum called: The Death of Traditional Data Integration. The webinar was very well attended and the discussion was quite lively. I’ve posted sections of the transcript on the SnapLogic blog, you can also listen to the podcast on the company’s iTunes channel, and the slides are now on Slideshare. I’ve embedded the YouTube video below. Enjoy!

[Infographic] Cloud Integration Drivers and Requirements

Here’s an an infographic from SnapLogic that reviews some the drivers and requirements for cloud-based integration, also known as Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS), as well as reasons why legacy technologies won’t be able to keep up with the need for speed.

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