Information technology comprises computer tech support, computational data processing, business computer network, software deployment, decision support, database administration, information security, and computer systems architecture, among many others.
You’ll agree that most of these are part and parcel of your business. Without such, it’d be difficult to run most aspects of your business. In fact, most of your competitors are daily upgrading their IT systems to improve efficiency in their business activities. If you lag behind, you may never again compete with them at the same level.
Therefore, it’s in your best interest to go with the latest IT trends. Here are the top 5 IT consulting trends for 2021 and beyond:
Information technology is a fairly wide discipline. If you were to have a full IT department to oversee all your IT business needs, you’ll have to employ, among others:
- Computer programmers
- Web developers
- IT technicians
- IT directors
- Data scientists
- Security specialists
- Software engineers
- Computer scientists
- Database administrators
- User experience designers
- Network engineers
- System analysts
- Quality assurance testers
- Support specialists
You’re probably feeling overwhelmed by now. However, that’s the reality of the matter. Taking this route will significantly put a strain on your business resources, including finances and office space.
Fortunately, you really don’t have to employ all these people. You can simply outsource IT consulting services from reputable companies. Doing so will save you a lot of money that you’d have otherwise used to pay employee salaries. It’ll also save you from paying hefty rental fees as your office space requirements are reduced.
Frankly, there are quite a number of IT consultancy firms out there. You’d be spoilt for choice if you were to start looking for one from scratch. You may want to consider time-tested firms like shipshapeit.com.
Once you contact an IT consulting firm, your duty is to explain your specific IT needs to get advised accordingly. You’ll greatly benefit from the firm’s expertise, more than you’d have achieved with your own team.
The G herein stands for generation. Cellular network technology has lived through five generations so far:
- 1G: This was introduced in the early 1980s. It was a voice-only, analogue service that allowed people to communicate using mobile devices. There was nothing like Internet access nor sending messages through SMS/MMS. The maximum data transmission speed was 2.4 kbps.
- 2G: This was a great leap from IG. It was the very first move from analogue to digital. Actually, this is what brought a humongous rise in the use of mobile phones. In the early 1990s technology allowed people to communicate through voice calls, SMS, MMS, and picture messaging. The maximum data transmission speed rose to about 50kbps.
- 3G: Come 1998, 3G emerged. People could now do video-call and access the Internet from their mobile devices. Data transmission speeds were between 384 and 2,000kbps, depending on the state of motion of the device.
- 4G: Perhaps complaints of slow network with the 3G technology inspired the experts to work on something faster. Thus, 4G was birthed around 2009. That’s what you probably use in your business. You’re talking of speeds up to 100mbps for moving devices and 1gbps for stationary ones.
- 5G: The technological ball hasn’t stopped rolling yet as 5G is now in the initial stages of rollout and will probably gain ground by the end of 2021. The fifth generation of cellular technology promises you data transmission speeds of up to 20gbps. With such supersonic speeds, your business is bound to benefit in the following ways:
- Faster upload and download speeds
- Great speeds even in high-density areas like airports
- Very low latency, meaning you can stream high-quality videos without any buffering
- Will make autonomous vehicles a reality
- Great signal strengths even in hard-to-reach areas
- Enhanced capacity, meaning hundreds of thousands of smart devices will be able to seamlessly communicate
3. Cloud Computing
The dictionary definition of cloud computing reads, ‘the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, instead of using your personal computer’s local server.’
Your common practise has probably been installing software on your hard drive. If your business is huge, you can talk of in-house servers. This practice has the following obvious disadvantages:
- The high initial investment to purchase all the required hardware
- High operating costs, especially if you need to be online so that your clients access your website or be able to email you anytime.
- High electricity bills to run the servers and cool them
- High maintenance costs on periodic updates, applying security patches, issuing backups, and troubleshooting
- High rental costs in case you’re renting your business premises
For these reasons, cloud computing is seen as a better alternative. All your data and application programs are stored in remote data centres managed by cloud service providers. All you need is Internet access to make these resources available to you. Of course, you pay a monthly subscription fee for these services.
Cloud computing comes with the following advantages:
- Lower IT costs as you don’t have to purchase your own hardware, install and configure software, and manage them.
- Your business can start using cloud services in a matter of minutes. This sharply contrasts the weeks or months you’d have to spend in setting up your own in-house servers.
- Cloud computing enables you to scale operations as much as you want. You only subscribe to a better plan and the storage space, bandwidth, and RAM capacity allocated to you are increased.
- Cloud computing facilitates a more flexible system of operation as you can access your business resources from anywhere as long as you have Internet access.
- Cloud computing minimizes the risk of data loss as backups are usually done automatically every few minutes.
4. Internet Of Things (IoT)
The IoT involves the embedment of computing devices on everyday objects in such a manner that they can communicate with other devices via the Internet. The interconnection of these devices can get really interesting. For instance, you can have a smart alarm clock that wakes you up every weekday at 6.00 a.m. knowing that you’ll have enough time to prepare for work and commute by bus. Thirty minutes after the alarm goes off, your coffeemaker automatically turns on to brew your morning coffee. Another 30 minutes later, your office thermostat starts regulating the office temperatures to a comfortable level.
In case the morning bus delays for whatever reason, the alarm clock can be programmed to automatically delay your waking up time and, subsequently, the coffee maker and thermostat.
Here are more examples of IoT applications:
- Smart office: The IoT can allow you to control your office lights, fans, air conditioning systems, and door from wherever you are. This saves you energy bills in case you mistakenly leave these devices running, while also enhancing office security.
- Driverless cars: In combination with artificial intelligence and machine learning, IoT makes it possible to have autonomous vehicles on the road. These can sense traffic loads, maneuver directions, and even park on their own. You’ll no longer need to hire drivers for your business.
- Voice-controlled devices: The IoT enables you to control quite a number of devices in your business premises using your own voice. These include music players, lights, TV, timers, alarms, and more. You can also browse the Internet and follow links through voice commands.
The main advantage of these IoT devices is that they save a lot of time and increase efficiency in handling everyday activities.
Blockchain was originally devised for the digital currency you know as bitcoin. But, the technology is not limited to bitcoin. Indeed, technologists refer to it as the backbone of a new type of Internet.
Essentially, blockchain is a time-stamped sequence of immutable records of data managed by several computers owned by different entities. The blocks of data are interconnected to each other using cryptographic elements.
The fact that there’s no central authority over the data makes blockchain an adequately democratized system. More so, any data created can’t be altered in any way. It’s permanently recorded, and everyone can view it. As such, it makes everyone involved accountable for their actions.
Here are a few applications of blockchain that may help your business:
- Banking: Blockchain allows the instantaneous transfer of funds, thus reducing transaction times, costs, and errors
- Payments: Similar to bank fund transfers, blockchain supports global payments in a fast enough and error-free manner.
- Digital IDs: Blockchain allows the creation of digital IDs, which reduces the need for entering personal information on nearly every site you visit.
Blockchain is advantageous as it:
- Provides independence from third parties for verification of transactions,
- Keeps the risk of money-laundering at bay,
- Decentralizes data, thus minimizing the risk of loss, and
- Enhances transparency.
The Bottom Line
Information technology consulting is geared toward a lot of changes now and in the near future. Your understanding of the latest IT consulting trends will help you know what to look for when searching for the best IT consulting firm.
Go for those with in-depth knowledge of these emerging trends. You’ll greatly increase the profitability of your business by making your IT systems up-to-date.