Cathal McGloin, Red Hat’s VP of mobile platforms, said that for all the talk of cloud, 2017 is likely to be an increasingly important bridge for many enterprises, particularly those that have something to protect.

 

“Even though cloud vendors like Azure have really upped their game, there's still a lot of companies that want to do things on hybrid,” he said. "They'll put certain things in the cloud, but when it comes to transactional data, there's still a lot of paranoia. They don't want to be the one on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.”

 

To meet that demand, Red Hat has embraced containerization, recently launching a number of new initiatives to help enterprises that want to be able to get the best of both worlds, including a recent update to its Mobile Application Platform that now allows applications to be installed on-premise, in private clouds and public clouds, all based on the company’s OpenShift Container Platform.

 

He said that Red Hat gave particular focus to mobile because it’s no longer an after thought for companies, but a part of almost every serious IT rollout.

 

“If you're an insurance company launching a new product, you're going to have a mobile component along with a web component,” he said. "I'm not aware of any other mobile platforms that have been containerized. 

 

That containerization also means that teams can speed up their development cycles and get products into the market sooner.

 

“It's just getting faster and faster. From the mobile side, the other big trend is that development is moving further up the stack,” he said. “This is as true for web or database or rules development as it is for mobile. It's being put in the hands of analyst-type programmers. I think this is going to proliferate and the tools are getting better all the time.”

 

In other words, part of the job of IT is to not just create and manage services, but to allow others to create and manage services on the fly.

 

McGloin pointed to tools like Unbounce, that allow analysts to quickly create product landing pages with built in optimization and analytics tools without looping in web developers.

 

That means that to succeed, IT organizations need to focus and prioritize on where they can bring value.

 

“IT's role is now not to manage every single technology product in the company, but how to support the core business,” he said. “How to create digital assets out of that core part of the business."

 

And while that can be a daunting mandate, staying ahead of the curve means more interesting challenges that keep star employees engaged and happy. Over the coming years, he predicted, top IT talent will be harder to keep engaged on low-level work, and giving them an environment that challenges them to drive forward the bottom line will not just be good for the business, but great for retention.

 

“People want to work on the new technologies. It's all in IT's interest to modernize existing infrastructure,” he said. “Moving your Java stack into a container world, that alone will excite people."