5 Crucial Tech Goals for Your 2018 Plan

2018 is going to be the year of transformation, and companies will look to make sense of where, why, and how technology fits into it all. These transformative processes and practices will hit critical mass, and if left on the back burner, you may be left struggling against your competition. Place them on your radar for the new year, and you’ll create a cultural shift within your company that will allow you to innovate and power through all of your projected tech goals and beyond.

1. DevOps

Recent data shows that 50% of organizations have implemented DevOps, which has led analysts like Forrester to name 2018 the “year of enterprise DevOps.” Developing a viable initiative right now is crucial as we are still in the early days of DevOps, and companies that choose to implement it into their tech strategies get more done, plain and simple! If you have already started migration, mastery should be a priority in 2018.

Delivering benefits such as faster releases, more engaged teams, continuous software delivery and overall improved communication and collaboration, Forrester predicts that in 2018, companies implementing comprehensive tech strategies will see an increase in the importance of DevOps as it becomes more mainstream.

While barriers still exist due to the novelty of DevOps, trends note that getting support and funding from executives will continue to increase as more head honchos begin to see the benefits. In fact, companies are already seeing the benefits. High-performance DevOps organizations see 200 times more frequent deploys, 24 times faster recovery times, and lower change failure rates.

2. Startup Economy

2018 will be the year to get involved in what’s going on in your community with tech startups. Although some critics have argued that the startup economy is one big bubble and that VCs are becoming more and more discerning about where they invest their money, it’s not necessarily a negative thing.

It should be comforting to know that 75% of the largest private tech-company financings ever were made in the past five years, and the number of startups raising funding has more than doubled since 2009. Barry Schuler, a managing director of the venture firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, noted that this is business as usual: “This is late-stage venture capital doing exactly what it was created to do — keep risky companies out of the public markets,” he says. “The people who stand to get hurt are the people in the business of getting hurt.”

What does this mean for your 2018 tech plans? Get involved, make connections, and learn more about what’s going on in your local tech startup community. As the startup industry becomes saturated, fewer companies will look to VCs for funding and will begin to form alliances with companies looking to utilize their tools and ingenuity.

3. Transformative Technologies

Start thinking about how to turn toys into business opportunities. Drones, augmented reality, and virtual reality are all starting to slowly become critical to the way companies leverage tech, not only regarding marketing but in the way they do business as well.

Major companies such as HP will use AR in practical applications to help with tasks like printer cartridge replacement. Apple CEO Tim Cook has even called AR a “core technology” and Lowes, IKEA, and Houzz have all leveraged Apple’s ARKit to create new customer tools and channels.

As a “core technology,” AR and VR are certain to transform not only the way customers interact with companies and products, but the way companies interact with each other and within themselves. Because of the fact that the technology is still new, companies should invest in quality, comprehensive development and training in these transformative technologies in 2018 to stay ahead of the game.

4. Digital Transformation

User experience (and UX designers), IoT, big data, and smart machines were all big players in regard to digital transformation in 2017. As the landscape continues to change, can you really afford to play catch up with your competition or do you want to differentiate?

Analytics will continue to drive the digital transformation, and you must close the gap between what a customer expects and what your company delivers. Understanding what your customers want and reducing the transit time in delivering that to them will be crucial in 2018.

Forbes predicts that as part of the exponentially growing IoT (Internet of Things) trend, analytics and edge computing will become even more critical. In fact, IDC predicts that up to 40% of all computing will happen at the edge in just the next couple of years, meaning that decisions will happen closer to where the action, and often the user, is, rather than back at the cloud.

To be successful, you need to meet the user expectations companies such as Amazon, Uber, Microsoft, IBM, SAS, and SAP have all set. And, you know what they have in common? They’re all heavily investing in analytics, and they see the benefits of using analytics to better serve users and to gain comprehensive business insights across a variety of industries and applications.

5. Transformational Partnerships

You should first ask yourself: “Are we really agile or just sprinting?” When introduced in 2001, the Agile Manifesto sought to alter the mentality surrounding software development, and we’ve lost that understanding. Long gone are the days where a corporatized set of processes need to be implemented just for the sake of being implemented.

As we said, 2018 is the year of transformation, and to influence this change you will need to influence a cultural shift that isn’t about tools. It has to be about people.Two weeks of training simply doesn’t work anymore. Your employees need to receive ongoing coaching until values and processes are instilled. In 2018, look to invest more in qualified training coupled with implementation — that’s where the real cultural shift will happen. Cultural transformation replaces agile transformation.

And culture is at the heart of it. If your company is still battling cultural issues in core areas like DevOps and digital transformation, then they will struggle even more in 2018. As the pace of change and the number of tools continues to increase, it is imperative that companies find ways to move fast, move together and move forward toward shared goals and bottom-line growth.

Originally Published on SmallFootprint.com.