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5 IT Management Trends to Watch for in 2018

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Another year, another thousand innovations in workplace technology.

No matter the industry, it’s often an IT team that has to figure out how to deal with technological changes that impact a business. For example, let’s say your HR department wants to integrate a video interviewing solution with their applicant tracking system.

While your HR department is concerned with the functionality of the new program and how it complements their existing software, IT needs to weigh in on the technical impact a new system will have. Is it secure? Does the existing system offer a direct integration, or will developers need to configure an API? Can the current network connection support the load of live video interviews consistently?

While technological changes sometimes impact different areas of your company, they will always impact your IT department. And in addition to helping other departments figure out tech changes, IT also has to navigate how changing technology, tools, and expectations affect their own job functions and workloads.

As we’ll discuss below, reliance on technological innovation isn’t going away anytime soon. And other departments’ expectations for changes in 2018 will impact, complement, and conflict with some of the changes IT will see, as well.

Below, we’ll highlight five trends IT management teams can expect to see in 2018.

1. Adoption of AI across industries

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a buzzword in tech for a while now, and it’s not going away in 2018.

Various teams, departments, and industries will use AI to complete increasingly complex tasks. The growing use of AI will be great for customers, who can interact with AI-powered tools such as chatbots for more seamless service experience, and for most work teams, which will see a boost in productivity as AI automates many of their daily mundane or mindless tasks.

IT management trends - Artificial Intelligence

Live action shot of people interacting with artificial intelligence

However, as more people interact with AI, tech will have to employ more people with an in-depth knowledge of artificial intelligence so they can build more tools that are powered by it.

While cross-departmental data scientists will take the lead in processing and examining AI-generated data, Gartner predicts that more and more application developers will be needed to work with them to “design interfaces, services, and process flows.”

What does this mean for your tech team?

David Lee, COO of IT consulting firm Kastling Group, predicts that as more processes are automated, roles on development teams will become more specialized, requiring more focused and highly-skilled engineers and programmers.

2. Continued migration to the cloud

Migration to the cloud is another buzzy idea that’s sticking around for 2018. Cloud computing helps organizations take care of centralized processes such as allowing organizations to store data in one place that’s accessible from anywhere.

Migration to the cloud makes sense from a financial perspective, as it decreases the hardware and personnel costs associated with in-house hosting and servers. It also makes sense from a productivity perspective, as employees can communicate and access files from anywhere instead of just in the office.

Trave Harmon, CEO of Triton Technologies, thinks organizations have noticed the benefits of migrating to the cloud, stating:

Businesses are expecting to adopt cloud-based technologies in explosive, rapid numbers. From AWS, Microsoft, and beyond, businesses will be heading into the cloud. From email, phone systems, remote access, security, monitoring, and more, businesses will be moving away from on-premise servers and workstations.

A study from Spiceworks supports Harmon’s predictions, citing that most companies will use cloud services to support communications and data recovery instead of hosting these functions themselves.

Smaller companies, especially, will see growth in cloud spending compared to larger and midsize organizations, according to the same study.

What does this mean for your tech team?

Harmon says that the effect of cloud computing will be a de-emphasis on deployment and back-end maintenance of systems, since those responsibilities will be relegated to the company hosting your systems and data. As a consequence, he predicts that teams will become “more concerned with forward-facing systems, data security, and their support.”

If you have any labor-intensive projects coming up but have been struggling to figure out when your team will have time to work on them, you might want to think about pitching cloud hosting to the higher-ups. Not only will it free up cash in your budget, it will also give your employees more time to focus on tasks other than day-to-day maintenance.

3. Ever-increasing focus on cybersecurity

This third trend shouldn’t be a surprise to you, either, especially if you’re an avid reader of this blog.

Harmon mentions that as more and more networks will be cloud-based, companies should “presume that hackers are actively, at all times, seeking out our data.”

IT management trends - Artificial Intelligence

All organizations will have to deal with increasing cyber attacks

Lee agrees, stating that “Cybersecurity must continue to expand and improve to protect data.”

Gartner forecasts for 2018 also follow this line of thinking, asserting that IT security teams should focus more on “deceiving intruders and predicting security events” rather than purely relying on blocking them via tools like firewalls.

Luckily, you might be able to use AI and automation to help better monitor and predict attacks and vulnerabilities.

What does this mean for your tech team?

Hackers’ tools are evolving just as rapidly as your IT teams’. That makes it more and more difficult to block “known” attacks, since the types of cyberattacks that occur change every day. Your team should invest in the necessary security tools to properly protect customer data.

In addition, you should expect more rules and crackdowns on cybersecurity non-compliance. The European Union’s update of outdated data protection laws goes into effect in May 2018. If you do business with EU citizens, you should already be building security updates and upgrades into your 2018 budget.

4. Increasing awareness of the IT talent gap

With the growing use of more complex technologies such as AI and the increasing concern with cybersecurity, your company is going to need more highly skilled tech workers of all kinds to help manipulate and integrate new tools.

Unfortunately, IT has dealt with a talent gap for a number of years, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. With all the new technology entering the workplace, the bar for “qualified” tech workers is going to get higher and higher as job functions deal with more complex concepts and processes.

What does this mean for your tech team?

If you haven’t already offered perks to new tech team hires, you’ll probably need to start now, as companies will be in heated competition for qualified tech workers.

But “qualified” will likely take on a new meaning in the near future. Although you’ll need highly skilled workers to run and monitor all of your essential new tech tools, you’ll also have to keep in mind that IT is becoming more and more integrated with everyday business processes. Gartner predicts that IT employees with a better knowledge of business best practices—in addition to IT best practices—will be essential to organizations that want to stay competitive.

5. Steadily growing IT budgets

If it sounds like AI adoption, updated cybersecurity measures, and more perks and incentives to hire more talented IT workers is going to cost your department some money, you’re right.

One piece of good news is that cloud migration and mobile computing will help bring down operating costs. Another piece of good news is that organizations seem to recognize the needs of IT and are reporting higher budget allocations for tech.

IT management trends - Artificial Intelligence

What your IT department will look like in 2018

What does this mean for your tech team?

CFOs seem to be more aware of their company’s tech needs. While you should still dedicate time to putting together a solid budget proposal, you might find an IT sympathizer at the management level when arguing for a new security system or the need to increase bonus amounts for high-performing engineers and developers.

What can you do now to prep for the future?

Now that you know what’s coming up in the new year, go out there and get ready for it!

Identify areas where your team could benefit from AI and automation. Notify higher-ups if certain systems and processes should be migrated to the cloud. Start thinking now about where your security vulnerabilities are and how you can patch or eliminate them. And get a solid hiring team together because you’re going to need more hands on deck for all of your upcoming projects.

If you have time between all of your planning for next year, let me know if I missed any IT management trends in the comments below.

Looking for IT Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best IT Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Kelsie Anderson

Kelsie is a writer and researcher for Capterra. She has a background in English and French literature, so she can read pretty good. When she's not reading and writing about software trends, she enjoys reading about literally anything else, dabbling in comedic pursuits, and settling Catan.

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