As digital start-ups continue to transform industries around the world, businesses need to do all they can to stay competitive. We’ve heard all about the benefits new technologies can bring, but what should IT professionals be doing right now to stay ahead of the game? The challenges of a rapidly changing environment can seem daunting, but with the right knowledge and preparation, they can be harnessed to propel a company forward. Here are the top software development trends that are shaping enterprise this year.
It might seem strange to start with something that’s been around for a few years now, but we’re set to see a huge transformation in how IT automation is implemented. Opportunistic scripting is well-loved by administrators, but the time has come for it to be replaced by a more systemic implementation. The current gold standard is based around heuristic design — using data from operations to learn how a system works, before applying automation accordingly.
In order to manage this change, experts recommend appointing an automation leader in IT, as well as providing incentives for administrators.
Heuristic automation itself has only been made possible by recent advances in artificial intelligence. And just as the term ‘Big Data’ reverberated through offices over the past few years, so ‘Machine Learning‘ will dominate the landscape in 2017 and beyond. New products such as Amazon’s Alexa have generated both awareness and excitement, and everyone is keen to see what artificial intelligence can do for them.
By now, businesses are well drilled on the need for extensive data storage, and that is an essential resource for algorithms that improve the more data they process. But machine-learning algorithms are only as good as what we feed them, so high-quality data is a must. Machine-learning also promises to take over low-level tasks such as monitoring application performance and security issues, which will have an impact on how engineering and operations teams are structured.
Internet of Things
With the amount of connected devices set to explode over the next few years, it’s critical that IT departments prepare for this influx. Thanks to big-data analytics and machine learning, there are huge opportunities in automation and refining operations; but there are also challenges in terms of security and data center management. Data storage strategies have already had to adapt to huge increases in data volume and variety, and when your thermostat, your lighting, and even your coffee maker have IP addresses, it’s a whole different ball-game.
Plan ahead by revisiting those security policies and building flexibility into your data centers. That way they will be resilient to the coming change and scalability won’t be an issue.
Agile Methodology and Git
Employing some form of agile development is quickly becoming the norm in software organizations, and it’s here to stay. The ease at which teams can alter their approach based on customer or market feedback is simply invaluable in today’s client-focused world.
But how do you manage such a dynamic environment effectively? Enter Git, an open-source version control system. Being a distributed version control system (DVCS), it allows developers to branch off from the main codebase and easily merge back in — making it the perfect partner for agile workflows. Not only that, Git also provides a number of features to facilitate remote collaboration, such as local repositories and built-in group chats.
The extent to which employees use their own devices and work outside the office continues to increase — it’s something we’ve all come to expect, and it can certainly help boost productivity if handled in the right way. However, the associated security risks are obvious, especially as BYOD (bring your own device) brings an increasing range of toys to the party.
IT departments should address this through a number of strategies, including data segregation (the division of personal and business data/applications on the same device) and data loss prevention technologies. A strong, clear acceptable use policy is vital.
What do you think are the biggest trends in software development right now? What would you add to this list? Please join the discussion by commenting below.