More Sophisticated Cloud Customers, Cloud Environment
Organizations are becoming more intelligent about their selection of cloud providers and the adoption of cloud services. They’re approaching the cloud with specific goals in mind and looking to optimize their investments if they’re already there.
As a result, IT environments are becoming more complex to manage. Hybrid and multi-cloud strategies dominate, while the influx of SaaS solutions and department-level technology decisions leaves IT teams with the tall task of ensuring everything works together. Look for this trend to continue this year — and for software management solutions to break out as IT looks for a way to manage it all.
Data Governance Implementation, Another Top Priority
As a result of that complexity, there’s likely to be a razor-sharp focus from IT on improving data governance in 2019. Many enterprises will adopt new policies to manage the availability, usability and integrity of their data. Some of those developments may change where data is stored, as well as change an organization’s retention policies.
After all, data is growing exponentially and it’s increasingly an organization’s most important asset. Data provides organizations with a better understanding of their customers or gives them a competitive advantage in the market. As such, it’s vital that data is effectively managed across the enterprise, and that any data governance programs put in place are scalable and sustainable.
M&A Activity Means Migrations
Many experts believe merger-and-acquisition (M&A) activity happens in cycles and will continue to be strong in 2019. If that proves to be true, more organizations will be integrated or divested, driving an increased need for IT migrations of all types and sizes.
Just look back at all the deals in the health-care industry in 2018, for example: Private equity firm KKR completed its agreement to purchase Envision Healthcare, while Veritas Capital and Elliott Management agreed to buy athenahealth for $5.7 billion. GlaxoSmithKline purchased a large stake in 23andMe and Apollo Global Management acquired LifePoint Health. In that industry alone, this M&A activity may translate to an abundance of IT sales opportunities and migration projects. Look for this across other industries, too, including the service-provider landscape.
Battle for Workplace Intensifies
Google’s G Suite will continue to provide an increasingly popular alternative to Office 365, most notably in the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) sector. Last summer, Google made investments in artificial intelligence and new cloud capabilities as it worked to attract more business users — and those investments are likely to pay off in 2019. Expect announcements from Google concerning new offerings for business users and additional “must-have” features that attempt to lure more seats away from Microsoft’s Office suite. Those new users will join a list of high-profile customers like Airbus, which in March of 2018 said it was moving 130,000 workers from on-premises Office to Google’s cloud productivity suite.
Growth of Azure
We further predict that 2019 will see the continued growth of Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service, which will continue to outpace Google and close the lead held by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Azure is significantly better positioned to service enterprise businesses, who weren’t among cloud’s early adopters. Microsoft touts how AWS is five times more expensive than Azure for Windows Server and SQL Server. In addition, Azure offers some significant pricing advantages with savings through existing licenses, and Microsoft is offering some free extended security updates as additional incentive. Today, Microsoft declares more than 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies use Azure, and we feel more will transition using Azure in the coming year.