Name 3 technologies (software, open source, other)  that made a significant positive impact for the enterprise in 2016.

Corporate IT departments are a tough place to be these days. On the one hand IT departments are constantly hammered by the business to execute, execute, execute.  On the other hand they are shutterstock_551605303handcuffed by some “Cargo Cult” barriers that sound a lot like: “I know it’s senseless, but this is how it’s done here.”

Having said all that we are in a golden era of technology.  Some technologies are so striking, you’d have to be a damn fool not to adopt them.  Which brings us back to the original question:

Name 3 technologies (software, open source, other)  that made a significant and positive impact for the enterprise in 2016.

We debated this over lunch last week.  Some of these might evoke a kind of “Pfffffft,  Duh!” response. If that is the case this article might not be for you.  Count yourself lucky.  In your typical, corporate IT departments even the most positively impactful technology can easily get left on the roadside.

Some notes before you get angry:  1. We named the market leader.  If you are using a peer, we are not saying its bad, just it’s not the market leader. 2. This is the result of a lunch debate.  There is no element of  “Pay Some Money and Get An Award” here, just the result of good discussion with very knowledgeable enterprise people.

For the Business

Tableau.  Tableau changed a lot.  Used to be that beautiful business intelligence took ages to produce. Now?  Give a smart junior employee Tableau and watch the insight flow.  Ok, so you are using Spotfire or Qlik.  No objections here.  The trick is that you are getting insightful reports ASAP.  Caution!  The second that Tableau hits town, IT departments start getting asked for “Just the raw data, please.”  Some people get threatened by this, so if you are an executive, it’s important to clear the road for your analysts.

Slack.  If you are in a Windows/Outlook heavy world, as most corporate departments are, Slack is a Godsend.  Seriously, email is the worst means of communication… ever.  Slack plows the communication road by providing a seamless environment for chat, file share and expedited process.  We’ve seen slack make a real impact and as a company it’s probably far enough ahead that it will be hard to catch up with.

SalesForce.  We hotly debated putting this here, but SF is still the vanguard for true SaaS.  Like some of the others it’s not “fresh out of the box new” but it continued to make a big impact for the enterprise in 2016.  Note: We hear so many people touting enterprise SAAS.  But until you have clean, well documented APIs like SalesForce (and can run multi-tenant), YOU ARE NOT A SaaS APP!

For IT Departments

Amazon Web Services (VPC):  AWS Virtual Private Client is nearly entirely responsible for blurring the line of corporate “on premise” servers and “the cloud.”  The oft heard mantra from corporate IT departments is that: “We keep everything in house.”  This has always meant long wait times to get servers spun up and project delays.  VPC is “software defined networking” where you can take an Amazon server and make it entirely behind your firewall.  Unless you are on your corporate network, it’s impossible to access.  The beauty of this is that corporate IT departments can literally spin up dozens or hundreds of servers in minutes.  VPC really hit its stride in 2016.

Docker:  If your IT department is not using Docker, I’m going to flat out say it: They are a bunch of damn fools. This is the world of software containers.  To make a long story short, a lot of IT time is spent installing, uninstalling, and moving applications.  Every time you do this there is heaps and heaps of configuration, libraries, files etc to move.  Docker eliminates all this nonsense by putting your apps (whatever they are) into a tight container that can be managed and moved.  It plain old time saver and makes IT far more nimble for the business.

Splunk:  It’s a bit nerdy but if you are sitting in an IT department, most of your troubleshooting has to do with dreaded log files.  Every server, every application cranks out gigabytes and gigabytes of log files.   Splunk is a cool tool that helps IT departments stay on top of all these files and render important metadata about what’s happening across the enterprise.  It really gets IT departments out of the trees to see across the forest.

Who Didn’t Make the List?

Hadoop (Mongo, Cassandra, Other):  Almost on the list.  Some very significant debate here. Hadoop/ NoSQL made big inroads in 2016.  But we had difficulty pointing to a “significantly positive impact.”

Distributed Processing (Spark, Kafka etc).  Yes, we love, love, love it too.  Sooo close.  2017 list almost for sure.

Blockchain:  Ooooh blockchain!  So disruptive.  So theoretically possible to make a positive impact.  But we are looking at this for our 2018/2019 list.

JIRA:  If you are in dev you’d probably say JIRA.  We’d agree.  Impact: YES.  Significant positive impact for the enterprise?  Nominal.

AWS Lambda:  If you said AWS Lambda….oh we really like where your head’s at.   This could be a number one in 2018.

Graph DB’s (Datomic, Neo4J) Wow you know about this?  Go you!  We love it too.  But it’s a 2019 impact.

Wanna argue about this some more? Give us a call or send me an email …