New horizons or same old scene?

We’ve now had a few days to settle into the new year, but as we take down the festive decorations and look at our business imperatives for 2015, is anything different in enterprise IT? This blog glances at the current picture of global technology, where so much seems like it is changing, but a lot appears to remain the same.

So is that the case? Well, yes and no. While the world appears to rotate ever faster each year and the pace of change in technology is at unprecedented levels, organizations the world over continue to rely on tried and trusted technology to run their most cherished business systems. Yet, the notion that ’tried and trusted‘ equates to ’staid and unchanging‘ is far from reality.

The Mainframe is New?

IBM will shortly be unveiling a new product range, illustrating once again the continued investment and commitment to mainframe technology and their enterprise customers. Forrester’s Richard Fichera suggests to readers that their “current large mainframe workloads will be with [them] for the long-term”, reflecting the findings of the ninth annual mainframe survey from BMC, “2014 Annual Mainframe Research Results: Bringing IT to Life Through Digital Transformation”. The findings were clear: the mainframe remains part of the long-term business strategy and continues to shape the future of IT, according to 91% of respondents.

COBOL: Practically Popular

Underpinning all this is the enterprise application technology of choice, COBOL.  Yes, COBOL. One of the key barometers of usage and interest, the TIOBE index shows COBOL at a lofty 13th position in their global language rankings for January 2015 – an all-time high, by our estimates. It certainly represents a rise as a key “indicator of the popularity” of the COBOL language, now in its 56th year. We at Micro Focus are delighted, but not surprised: our own experience tells us that COBOL remains the language of choice for critical enterprise applications the world over. It is as suited for core business systems today as when it was first conceived.

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Looking Ahead

Back to thoughts of the year ahead. Industry analysts typically can’t resist the temptation to predict how the IT world will look in the year ahead. 2015 is no different. Many commentators agree on the continued rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its potential to impact on our daily lives; the continued expansion and proliferation of mobile technologies and the rising belief that, in a maturing digital market, this is now the ‘age of the application”.

One industry observer, IDC, predicts the following trends in disruptive technology for 2015:

  • Nearly one third of total spending will be focused on new technologies such as mobile, cloud and big data
  • Wireless data will be the largest ($536bn) and fastest growing (13%) segment of telecom spending
  • Spending on the greater cloud ecosystem (public, private, enabling IT and services) will reach $118bn (almost $200bn in 2018), $70bn ($126bn in 2018) of which will be spent on public clouds
  • Worldwide spending on big data-related software, hardware, and services will reach $125bn.

While none of these are new phenomena, the scale of their predicted rise certainly is. Indeed, these volumes of expenditure only serve to cement the belief in the enormous market potential of what is still relatively new technology. The revolution is upon us.

We’re all socialites now

As of 2014, around 1.8bn internet users have accessed social networks; 170 million from the United States. Social media seems to reach beyond the trivialities of consumer use. Perhaps more interestingly, big business seems to be embracing it as a genuine business tool, too. Organizations including the Bank of England are using Twitter and Facebook to help test the market. Similarly, a Facebook application, ‘Link, Like, Love’, enables American Express cardholders to link their cards to a dashboard of deals from the likes of Whole Foods, Dunkin’ Donuts and Virgin America. Five million ‘Likes’ suggest that other companies may follow this route.

The CIO is dead, long live the CIO

The jury is still out on who IT leadership will collaborate with, and behave, in supporting the business. As Ian Cox explains on CIO.com this month, “CEOs are under pressure to move their business into the digital world” and that “more of them will look to their CIO for help in leading the transformation. And that will need to be a different type of CIO if they are to make a success of digital”.

In his particularly lucid piece, What can the CIO expect?, he goes on to mention the continued challenge of CIO and CMO teamwork, but offers a positive conclusion “There is no war between the CIO and CMO”.

Hear, hear. Instead, the right technology can deliver for all parties. It doesn’t even have to be brand new…

Find out for yourself how Micro Focus supports innovation through smart technology by dropping us a line, and discover for yourself why COBOL remains the enterprise application language of choice at a forthcoming Developer Day event, soon.

#DevDay0

www.microfocus.com

ps. The definition of the TIOBE index can be found here.

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