By Chris Mills, CTO, EMEA, Pivotal

As one of the major advanced economies in the G7, Britain is at the forefront of driving growth, particularly in this digital era. 2015 will be another busy year, packed full of opportunities focused on adding more business value.

With a few highlights including the Rugby World Cup, the launch of the Apple smartwatch and the birth of the second Royal Baby, diving deeper into the tech world will be about recognising true value from investments. Whilst you may think cloud and big data are old hat now, 2015 will be the year of making technology work for you through predictive analytics, and cloud innovation – setting your business ahead of the competition.

1. The emergence of a new modern cloud platform
According to Gartner, businesses will soon be building more private Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions than Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) systems. Modern enterprises are taking advantage of big data, mobile, social, and cloud to improve agility whilst driving revenue. This is happening right across industry sectors, from banking and retail to the supply chain, where cloud platforms are being used to optimise stock that’s stored in warehouses and improve dexterity and speed. However, enterprises seeking to deliver software at high velocity and scale are often impeded by the having to deploy highly complex applications. To combat this, we will increasingly see businesses turning to modern cloud platforms, including PaaS, big data analytics and open source solutions.

2. Increased cloud innovation
The need for a cloud application platform standard starts with the belief that businesses need to innovate through software development to stay competitive. In a world where customer interactions are being redefined by mobility and millions of connected devices, companies are striving to master these trends to improve their service, create new sources of revenue, and transform their businesses. Gartner predicts that the Internet of Things will grow to 26 billion units by 2020, with devices ranging from wearable heart monitors to connected cars and smart meters. In response, businesses will need to manage the increasing amount of data produced by these devices and find efficient ways to store and process it, with many turning to highly flexible, low cost cloud solutions as a result.

3. Growing importance of real-time decision making
We’re seeing exponential data growth, with the average household now creating enough data to fill 65 iPhones (32gb) every year. This makes data analysis increasingly difficult, especially when you consider that we’re constantly having to analyse information in real-time! To turn structured and unstructured data into actionable intelligence, businesses will need an effective analytics programme. Only those that use insights to inform the build of specific applications will be able to gain a competitive advantage; as they’ll be able to get under the skin of their customers, with an understanding of who they are, where they are, and what they are doing in real-time. But this isn’t just in the corporate world. In agriculture, farmers will increasingly adopt ‘smart farming’ techniques, using dashboards to regulate the feeding of livestock and planting of crops. In the automotive sector, sensory panels will be used to detect driver fatigue and reduce road accidents.

4. The traditional data warehouse will become increasingly redundant
Legacy RDBMS and data warehouses are the old way of doing things. Hadoop and other open-source platforms, which are more efficient ways of operating and are now mature, enable the creation of Data Lakes to be the most progressive way to process data. Data Lakes are increasing in prominence as more and more enterprises come to realise the benefits of using them as a central platform to store and analyse their big data.

5. Enterprises set to rediscover software development
Historically, enterprises outsourced their software development to places like India, with highly skilled and cost effective workers willing to take on their projects. In response to changing market conditions however, corporations are increasingly bringing software back in-house to create applications that actually respond to their customers’ needs. Enterprise computing has transformed dramatically over the last 30 years—from the mainframe to the client-server model and now to the cloud. Much of the disruption has come from agile start-ups who have leveraged cheap infrastructure, storage, networking and open source technology to run their businesses with software at the core. Organisations that don’t learn how to manage custom app development – like Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix do – will lose out.

Spoiled with more choice than ever before, customers are becoming increasingly demanding and transient. As a result, businesses in 2015 will need to do all they can to keep one step ahead of the competition. We can never be certain what the future will bring and how technology will evolve, but we can be sure that we will need to adapt fast to harness the power of influential technologies, such as cloud and data analytics, to ensure optimum longevity and success