This year has only reinforced the role of data as an essential and disruptive driver of business decision making.
So much so that Gartner predicts that more than 75% of companies are investing or planning to invest in big data by late 2017.
The cloud has a critical role to play in accelerating the data revolution by providing the infrastructure that enables us to generate, use, store and analyse huge volumes of information.
When it comes to choosing a data solution, firms of all sizes must embrace the opportunity the cloud offers to gain competitive advantage.
But with this move comes the realisation for all organisations that transferring to the cloud takes time, education and investment.
As this shift to cloud continues to gather pace, here are the top five trends Tableau sees shaping 2017:
1. Businesses enter a hybrid IT world
In 2017, there will be many start-ups and small businesses continuing to go all-in on cloud, with larger organisations finding success in a move from on-premise environments into a more hybrid IT world.
These hybrid ecosystems – of data, software and infrastructure – will become a reality for most large businesses.
>See also: 2017 cloud predictions
In general, CIOs are prioritising hosted computing and cloud data storage but the shift is a gradual, multi-year journey rather than a sprint to the finish line.
As many CIOs are not able, or are reluctant, to move to the cloud in one seamless jump, they are looking to adopt a hybrid approach.
However, as data is fragmented across local servers and cloud services they are often faced with significant barriers.
To overcome this and stay efficient within this hybrid environment, organisations need to find solutions that allow them to work both on-premise and in the cloud.
Allowing people to connect to data stored anywhere; hybrid software allows CIOs to invest in a single solution for the entire organisation.
For IT, investment in this software remains fully relevant even as businesses shift their operations towards an all-cloud future.
2. IT reorients its approach
In today’s highly competitive business environment, its crucial employees are properly equipped to execute on their organisation’s technology roadmap.
As continued growth in cloud adoption creates increased demand for cloud expertise, IT has to prioritise its cloud-focused training for both hard skills and new workflows.
Training programs are therefore becoming more and more focused on cloud security, hosted databases, and infrastructure as a service.
There is also a need for IT managers to expand their search for candidates with experience in DevOps practice and cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
IT is having to shift direction. Even though top-down waterfall methodologies for multi-year on-premise deployments have long been the standard, concerns with scalability and maintenance are all but taken care of with the cloud.
IT is adopting agile methods that provide continuous development and delivery of projects. One example of this is hosted servers which support a POC.
They are seen as a disposable resource, which can be spun up and shut down in just a matter of hours, giving IT new bandwidth to drive more strategic projects.
3. Cloud service providers remove complexity of data regulations
Earlier this year, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework provided companies on both sides of the Atlantic with a mechanism to comply with EU data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the European Union to the U.S. in support of transatlantic commerce.
New government policies around data privacy and sovereignty are presenting more challenges for global companies.
For one, complying with new government policies on data privacy and sovereignty can be expensive and time consuming for global companies.
As they operate globally, while maintaining regional data centres which meet today’s regulations, cloud service providers offer a solution for global companies to overcome these barriers.
Additionally, these providers also have teams in place to monitor and plan for regulatory shifts, which often prove cost-prohibitive for individual businesses.
Through taking advantage of cloud services, businesses of all sizes can avoid the unnecessary cost associated with maintaining expensive local data centres, instead focusing on the growth of their business.
4. Customer success and adoption remains a priority
Cloud software vendors are extending their focus far beyond the point of sale. Instead, they are looking to work with customers to ensure product adoption and business value.
In a cloud world, software deployments require fewer initial investments of time and money. Customers evaluating software renewals no longer have to worry about large sunk costs.
As a result, this shift is positioning satisfaction rates and business value front and centre.
It’s no secret that sales engagements increasingly span the entire lifecycle of a buyer’s journey, which is why it’s vital for cloud vendors to focus on their customers’ long-term success, not to mention develop a strong working relationship with both IT and the business.
By offering higher levels of customer support, more robust training resources, and deeper guidance on product adoption, this new timeframe is leading to mutually beneficial partnerships.
From this, enterprises realise more value from their investments, and vendors are able to build long-term customers rather than one-time buyers.
5. Flexible analytics solve IoT’s last mile challenge
IoT data is often varied and stored across multiple systems, from Hadoop clusters to NoSQL databases.
However, it’s no small feat to access and understand all that data.
With that, the market is calling for analytical tools that easily connect to and combine all those cloud-hosted data sources, enabling businesses to explore and visualise any type of data stored anywhere and maximise the value of their IoT investment.
A trend is starting to develop, which will see organisations across the world deploy flexible business intelligence solutions which allows them to analyse data from multiple sources of varying formats.
By joining together incongruent IoT data into a single view, businesses can also identify problem regions and underperforming services.
With the solution to the “last-mile” of IoT data, they can increase efficiencies and improve their bottom line.
Sourced by Saskia Van Daal, product marketing manager at Tableau Software