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The top 6 technology trends that have shaped 2017


21 December 2017:

As we approach the end of 2017, Andy Brown, Technical Services Director at Azlan UK looks back at the technology trends that have shaped the year

Technology continues to impact every aspect of our lives and reach new levels of innovation in ways that would have once seemed impossible. Looking back on the year here are six technology trends that dominated 2017.

1. Next generation technology

This was the year when next generation technology trends such as cognitive computing and Internet of Things (IoT) transcended the Gartner hype curve and delivered tangible commercial opportunities for the channel.

Most of us had heard the term cognitive computing and maybe read about systems such as IBM Watson or AlphaGo developed by Google Deepmind. However, if you came to the conclusion that commercial opportunities for cognitive computing were years away, 2017 showed us that it was time for a re-think.

With IDC[i] forecasting that global spending on cognitive systems will reach nearly $31.3 billion in 2019, it identified cognitive computing as one of six innovation accelerators that will drive digital transformation by opening new revenue streams.

It is clear that the commercial opportunities for next generation technologies are huge, from smart buildings, smart cities and work place solutions to healthcare monitors and smart prescription management. The appetite for connected things shows no signs of abating, due to the benefits that edge computing and real-time data visibility can deliver.

2. Business intelligence and analytics

The data universe continues to grow at a relentless pace, we live in the information age and knowledge, as they say, is power. Thanks to huge advancements in Business Intelligence (BI) technologies and flexible deployment options, 2017 proved that BI is no longer just the preserve of enterprises with large budgets and dedicated data technicians. The technology has developed to a point where it’s accessible and within the reach of all types of organisations.

Innovating while saving money is always going to be a challenge, however BI enables organisations to do both. Azlan is helping partners to acquire the knowledge they need and is working with many of the key vendors in this segment. In 2017 we saw enterprising channel partners, with the support of distribution, accelerate their capability, access new skills and enter new and lucrative markets.

3. Security & Enterprise networking

The nature of security sales changed over the course of 2017 with organisations no longer looking for security products but rather end-to-end solutions tailored for their business environment. Channel partners needed to evolve their sales techniques in order to articulate the value of solutions without pushing a message of fear, uncertainty and doubt.  Many rose to the challenge and differentiated themselves from the doom mongering naysayers by personalising their security offering to the needs of the customer.

However, this was not the only change we saw in the networking and security space during 2017. The diversity of IoT projects across vertical markets and the technology required to secure them opened up a wealth of opportunity for the channel. IoT projects in businesses of all sizes started ramping up as companies increased their adoption of internet connected devices.

Lastly, with complexity outpacing the knowledge and expertise of most in-house IT teams, many organisations sought managed services. This shift presented a huge opportunity for channel partners to capitalise on delivering networking and security services to end-user customers without the expertise or resources to tackle it themselves. By understanding the customer’s business environment, processes and policies, channel partners rose above the noise and will continue to do so in 2018.

4. Converged infrastructure and the data centre

Once identified as an emerging trend, hyper-converged infrastructure became an adopted technology in 2017, with analysts advising organisations to prepare for the third wave of integrated systems.

Gartner[ii] predicted that hyper-converged integrated systems (HCIS) would be the fastest growing segment of the overall market for integrated solutions, reaching $5 billion, which is 24% of the market, by 2019.  It defined HCIS as a platform offering shared compute and storage resources, based on software-defined storage, software-defined compute, commodity hardware and a unified management interface. 

The next five years will see a transition to hyper-converged as an enabler for a new generation of IT, such as cloud, hybrid cloud services and the wider roll-out of Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Converged infrastructure provides the perfect platform to layer new technologies and set up customers for the future. 

5. Cloud

No longer a trend; early adopters have already embraced the cloud and capitalised on the benefits it can deliver. However in 2017 we saw adoption accelerate faster with many organisations taking a cloud-first policy. Even those once viewed as technology laggards, such as government and the public sector, embraced a cloud native approach.

Cloud computing provides organisations with the flexibility to respond quickly to opportunities, deploy new applications, and scale up fast to meet growing customer demand. It also offers cost savings in reduced capital expenditure for hardware, software and maintenance, reduced power costs and reduced staffing costs.

Without question, cloud has changed the way IT infrastructure is procured and utilised. It has been a game-changer for organisations in terms of flexibility and cost savings, and will continue to be in the future with the channel finding new ways to add value.

6. Education

The adoption of new technologies in 2017 highlighted the skills gaps and emphasised the importance for IT professionals to keep their knowledge and skills up to date. 

Training remains a fundamental enabler in achieving business goals; it increases the knowledge of an organisation’s employees and improves its ability to respond to changing business needs. As end-user organisations look to accelerate their journey to digital transformation, finding staff or solution providers with the appropriate skills to successfully deliver new developments becomes essential.

Faced with the challenge of having to do more with less, many organisations cannot afford to postpone projects indefinitely. This situation heralded a great opportunity for channel partners to maximise on the opportunity by filling in the gaps with well qualified, certified consultants. 

Looking to the future

The success and impact of these technology trends in 2017 has opened up so much potential for the channel. These are exciting times to be involved in technology and as the year draws to a conclusion, on behalf of myself and the Azlan team I would like to thank you for your custom. We look forward to working with our partners towards a healthy and prosperous 2018.


[i] Worldwide Semi-annual Cognitive/Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide by IDC http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS41072216

[ii] https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3308017

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