Bridging the Gaps

Michael White, President, The Creative Momentum
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Michael White, President, The Creative Momentum

Michael White, President, The Creative Momentum

Emerging Trends

We think the biggest trend in web development is data storage moving from client-based to server-based as companies begin to consider replacing expensive, outdated onsite servers. Moving to the cloud is cost-effective and surveys have shown that businesses who switch are enjoying higher revenues. Keeping a server onsite requires more tech staff to maintain.

We are also seeing a cloud-hybrid model, which allows some of a company’s key data storage to be kept in-house, while routine data can be kept in the cloud so employees can access it from anywhere. A cloud-hybrid offers both security and flexibility.

Both Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure give professionals an onramp to highly scalable websites and services without the enormous infrastructure costs which used to drain every IT budget.  No matter the pattern of implementation, SAAS, IAAS, MicroServices, etc., our partners are getting top quality up times without the headache of security patch planning meetings and data center operations management. These used to gobble up valuable resource time and money.  Soon, the tales of overheating server rooms and storage maxed out on space will be an anecdote told to junior developers in the same way we joke about punch cards and floppies.

Corporate security, data security, and encryption will be a higher priority for all Information Technologists in the coming year.  We have known for a long time that what we consider safe and secure is actually not as safe nor secure as it could be. Incorporation of encryption and writing code that adheres to “Least Privilege” ideas will hopefully be on the forefront of every IT professional's mind. This has already been a touchy subject this year with the FBI requesting “keys” from mobile phone providers and Wikileaks’ continuing revelations. As the old saying goes, “Never put in writing anything that you wouldn’t want to be seen on the front cover of the New York Times.” 

Lessons Learned

It is extremely important to listen to your technologists. They’re trying their best to keep budgets tight and have a positive profit vs. expenses ratio. But it is very important not to skimp on your development teams. If you do not take care of technical debt, customers will start to notice more and more issues, and your ability to meet their needs comes into question.

  ​We anticipate that AI will quickly take over low-level tasks. It is already happening across every industry, from healthcare to government processes to the way we drive our cars 

Too often -- because of a lack of properly allocated resources -- a patch is applied to keep things running properly. Bugs are found in the patch by a customer, another patch is added on top of the old one. Years later, a developer pulls one piece of code in order to fix a current problem. But because of past band-aids stuck together like glue, pulling the code breaks something else -- even if nothing is similar between the two. Our developers liken it to an endless futile game of Jenga where all the pieces are stuck together. Keeping your code clean and minimizing technical debt directly correlates to a business's reliability.

Future Technologists

We anticipate that AI will quickly take over low-level tasks. It is already happening across every industry, from healthcare to government processes to the way we drive our cars. It is inevitable as businesses look for new ways to cut expenses and increase profit. VIV AI will continue to expand, taking your voice and compiling web services on the fly. Educate yourselves on this technology.

More and more companies are moving towards cloud driven API and future developers need to keep learning new languages and technologies. Our future lies in consolidating tasks and making it easier to hook one service to another. It is important that as technologists we understand the languages and framework for everything to make this process simpler. If you are not learning one or two new technologies right now, you are going to fall behind and make yourself obsolete.

Our job is to learn how to use current technology correctly. Bone up on architectural skills in new languages. And the old ones. PHP used to be the sort of entry-level language used on personal WordPress sites and now with Drupal, we have a valid enterprise solution to content manage. We once thought of NodeJS as a frivolity and not capable of competing with entrenched enterprise web architectures and now companies are making millions of dollars on stuff we saw as insecure rubbish three to five years ago.

Successful CIO/CXO’s

Your job as CIO is about being a bridge between management and your development group. It is very easy to get lost in the technical details of what you are doing, but your role is more than 50 percent being a bridge between both sides, filtering out the bad stuff. You still have to answer to your bosses and should listen to your CEO and board, so pay close attention to the business side.

Don’t crush creativity. Nourish your team. If you have someone that says they can do something magical without huge resources, then let them. See if he can produce it. Don’t shove your IT people into a bucket and treat them like a commodity. They tend to notice when they’re treated like commodities and go somewhere else that probably pays better. Your talent will bleed away quickly.

Education

Stay informed by keeping a good source for tech material that you trust. An example is Pluralsight. Guys that used to write books now have blogs, websites and other gateway mechanisms to get their information out. Some are fee-based, but definitely keep following those leaders. There are several that have always been able to accurately predict a trend happening three years down the road. 

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