Gartner, Splunk & McKinsey – IT Infrastructure & Operations Predictions For 2020

Automation Strategy Rethink
Hybrid IT Versus Disaster Recovery (DR) Confidence
Scaling DevOps Agility
Infrastructure Is Everywhere — So Is Your Data
Overwhelming Impact of IoT
Distributed Cloud
Immersive Experience
Democratization of IT
Networking — What’s Next?
Hybrid Digital Infrastructure Management (HDIM)
Splunk also published its list, which looks like this:

Dark Data
IT Security
Social Engineering
Critical Infrastructure
Cloud Security
Threat Intelligence
IT Operations
McKinsey also has a list:

Today In: Innovation
“As-a-Service” Consumption for Everything from Software to Hardware.
Mainstream Public Cloud
Increased Use of Open-Source Offerings, Up & Down the Stack
Mainstream Comfort with “White Box” Hardware
Internet of Things
Shift of the Hardware Infrastructure Market to Asia
DevOps for Software & Hardware
Container-First Architectures
Artificial intelligence & Machine-Learning

Grads of Life BRANDVOICE
| Paid Program
Designing To Create An Equitable And Inclusive Talent Marketplace
| Paid Program
The Art Of A Smart City
Insights – Teradata BRANDVOICE
| Paid Program
How Pandora Knows What You Want To Hear Next
It’s helpful to look at these three lists and draw some insight into how three major vendors see the world. It would be difficult to find three vendors that have less in common than Gartner, Splunk and McKinsey, which is in itself valuable. Gartner “equips executives across the enterprise to make the right decisions and stay ahead of change.” Splunk “is the world’s first Data-to-Everything Platform.” McKinsey “help(s) organizations across the private, public, and social sectors create the change that matters.” Very different missions, to put it mildly. But all three have thought about what’s likely to happen to 2020 computing and communications infrastructures. So what do they think?

Here’s a chart that compares the areas according to who likes what:

Comparison Among Gartner, Splunk & McKinsey
Comparison Among Gartner, Splunk & McKinseySJA

Industrial technology concept.
Industrial technology concept.GETTY
Automation is a favorite. Nothing surprising here. Blockchain is not. Nothing surprising here either. Hybrid IT Versus disaster recovery is interesting. According to Ross Winser (Senior Research Director at Gartner), as reported by Russ Weldon: “organizations are left potentially exposed when their heritage DR plans designed for traditional systems have not been reviewed with new hybrid infrastructures in mind. Resilience requirements must be evaluated at design stages rather than treated as an afterthought two years after deployment.” Good advice. DevOps is still popular. Everybody loves IOT and, though to a slightly lesser extent, AI/machine learning and natural language processing. Obviously.

The emphasis on cloud development platforms – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – is growing – as it should. The very definition of infrastructure provisioning and management will grow as more “as-a-service” models emerge. In fact, we can expect the full integration of software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service – along with all of the other as-a-service models that are now available and will be available soon. The overall movement toward – and therefore dependency upon – cloud providers describes an enormous opportunity and a corresponding risk – which is why cyber/cloud security is so important to cloud clients: cybersecurity, including cloud security, should preoccupy every infrastructure manager on the planet.

The cloud is also expanding to the edges of networks, so IT infrastructure managers (and CISOs) have to adjust their responsibilities (and SLAs) outward. Edge and hybrid cloud deployments only exacerbate infrastructure challenges – which should be front and center.

We can agree that the public cloud will grow, and more open source software will become part of the mainstream infrastructure architecture. But we should also agree that the spaghetti API world that lubricates infrastructure and applications will eventually crash under its own weight. Standardization should be a goal, though, as we all know, it’s impossible to achieve.

The Asian hardware invasion that only McKinsey predicts is unlikely. There are growing national security concerns and industry cross-pressures about products that might threaten the integrity of US networks and communications devices. It was reported as recently as November 22, 2019 that “American regulators voted to impose new restrictions on subsidies for American telecom companies Friday. The ruling is designed to constrain Chinese companies, including Huawei and ZTE.” This is techno-politico quicksand. CIOs and CTOs would do well to avoid stepping in it – even if their vendor choice is off the blacklisted vendor list – today.

Gartner’s emphasis on the democratization of IT is surprisingly ignored by Splunk and McKinsey. If we believe that PaaS will grow via cloud platforms, then the importance of low code/no code development capabilities increases. Gartner has this exactly right. Platforms like Microsoft’s Power Platform now enable near-no-code development of, for example, applications in robotic process automation (RPA). This is an irreversible trend and consistent with the growing infrastructure role that cloud-delivered PaaS will play going forward – and forever.

As suggested, everyone agrees that the management and support of the Internet-of-Things (IOT) and eventually the Internet-of-Everything (IOE) will impact infrastructure. Clearly, this makes sense. But the larger infrastructure requirements around IOT ecosystems should be anticipated as well. Connected devices will signal into the cloud where structured and unstructured sensor data meets analytics, which will increasingly integrate and process exploding volumes of (especially unstructured) data. A corresponding emphasis on data and analytics infrastructure is therefore appropriate.

The Return of Enterprise Architecture

barrier Under construction
Road barrier with the words Under construction. 3d render.GETTY
So where is all this going? The predictions Gartner, Splunk and McKinsey make all have some merit. First and foremost, infrastructure is going to the cloud. We also know that security is a must have – as the auditors love to tell us. But infrastructure should not be designed in a vacuum. It may be time to resurrect your outdated Enterprise Architecture and re-architect your infrastructure as part of an integrated business, applications, data and technology architecture.

Investment Strategies

Ultimately, this is all about resource allocation. The three vendors offer insight and advice which should be assessed in the context of your industry, your competition, your company, your leadership and your culture. Your appetite for digital transformation is the ultimate driver of change. If it’s low then discussions like these may be fun, but unproductive. But if the appetite is large then insights from companies like Gartner, Splunk and McKinsey – and others – can be extremely helpful.

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