SoftServe: Three IT trends to watch – Serhiy Haziyev

With data science and analytics allowing us to harness, evaluate and apply the information provided by big data like never before, there are exciting possibilities afoot in the world of information business. Serhiy Haziyev, vice-president of software architecture at technology solutions company SoftServe, explains what to watch out for in 2016.

While big data is hardly new, its colossal volume and advances in data science are creating a new wave of technology promising to shape our future. Three trends are taking shape as pillars of innovation.

The growth of information businesses

Data science and advanced analytics allow the transformation of vast amounts of data into meaningful and highly useful information to support decisions, actions and outcomes. This is giving rise to so-called information businesses:

  • Retail: retailers can create personalised shopping experiences and enhance loyalty programmes by initiating tailored customer conversions to present unique offers to upsell and cross-sell products.
  • Healthcare: healthcare administrators can leverage trends to plan investment in new facilities and equipment. Doctors and clinicians can leverage information to identify at-risk patients, tailor preventative care and prescribe treatments.
  • Logistics: best routes for deliveries and backhaul can be identified in real time, calculating load availability against vehicle specifications.
  • Sales and service: inside sales and support centres can extend offers, modify response plans or suggest subscriptions based on the progression of a customer interaction.

Companies and organisations leveraging the power of advanced analytics are ideally positioned to lead their chosen markets.

The increasing importance of service design

It's no longer enough to merely have a device or application that works; it has to deliver an intuitive, exceptional customer experience to be competitive. This increases the importance of service design - addressing customer expectations at every touchpoint of service to exceed customer satisfaction. Service design is based on five simple principles of design:

  1. User-centrism: every service is the result of collaboration between a provider and a customer
  2. Co-creativity: there should always be a number of stakeholders and end users involved in creating the service
  3. Sequencing: service should keep pace with the customer's expectations, not moving too slow or too fast relative to their intuitive use of the application
  4. Evidencing: when appropriate, memorable experiences should be triggered with physical evidence such as emails, brochures, souvenirs and so on
  5. Holistic approach: the customer experience extends from the environment where services take place.

Service design is more than just a trend in user-experience design - it's quickly evolving into a pillar of competitive market advantage and a necessary component of market success.

The need for intelligence-driven data security
Historically, IT teams react and respond to attacks when they are detected - after they occur. Gartner predicts that in the near future, more tools will leverage predictive analytics to go on the offensive, thwarting attacks before they can mature, examining large amounts of data to quickly uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations, and other useful information to detect and diagnose security threats in real time, such as:

  • Traffic anomalies: changes in traffic patterns to, from or between particular servers and network devices
  • Suspicious activity: flagging unusual or suspicious events in high-value, sensitive elements of your data network
  • Suspicious user behaviour: identifying unusual human behaviours such as varied access levels, location access and information destinations
  • Changes and modifications: flagging newly installed software, suspicious modifications or different protocols used to access sensitive information
  • Identify listening ports: discovering ports used to aggregate traffic for external offload of data or information.

This intelligence-driven approach to security allows IT personnel the opportunity to take action before an attack progresses to a loss of data.

As we collect and store more data around us, the opportunity to leverage big data with data science and advanced analytics increases. We're moving from the era when data provided alerts and flags to an era when information tells us what to do next - when, how and why. This increases the need for transformative user-experience design - the elegant human interfaces customers demand and are necessary to win competitive markets.

An increased reliance on dashboards and mobile devices puts us more at risk than ever from cyberattacks. We need intelligence-driven security systems to thwart attacks before they mature, therefore protecting sensitive stakeholder data, as well as the financial assets of companies and organisations alike.

Serhiy Haziyev, vice-president of software architecture at technology solutions company SoftServe.