IT in 2011: Four Trends that Will Change Priorities

What does the post-recession IT world look like? More media will drive the need for more bandwidth, and a demand for Windows 7 upgrades and corporate use of personal smartphones will shape new priorities for IT.

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Wed, January 05, 2011

CIO — It's always a challenge for IT departments to anticipate how corporate technology demands will evolve, especially when IT budgets have been as tight as a drum for two years.

How do you "do more with less" and prepare for an explosion in bandwidth demand, a need to upgrade both software and hardware, and employees asking that work data be available on their personal smartphones?

The post-recession enterprise IT environment is only going to get more chaotic, but opportunities abound for the savvy IT manager, according to a new report from Technisource, a technology staffing and services company with clients ranging from the mid-market to global Fortune 500 companies.

The pressure to have "efficient operations and visibility into every aspect of the organization despite strict budget constraints has been the genesis of strategic trends that are re-shaping IT priorities, whether you are supporting an online retail portal, a university, or a high-tech manufacturing operation," writes report authors Andrew Speer, Chad Holmes and Dick Mitchell.

Here are four trends Technisource says will play a key role in defining your organization's priorities for the next year or more.

You're Gonna Need More Bandwidth

It's almost a guarantee that organizations of all sizes will increase bandwidth in 2011 and 2012 to support growing multimedia within the corporate network. The main technologies driving this need are video conferencing and tele-presence, VoIP and distributed storage networks.

The smart IT manager will stay ahead of the bandwidth curve by assessing WAN and LAN environments frequently and looking for ways to save money.

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"Regularly review WAN options, with special emphasis on emerging access technologies that offer better deals on bandwidth and flexible provisioning plans," the Technisource report states.

"On the LAN side, pay attention to your cabling plant as well as your switch and router fleet to ensure that there are no hidden bottlenecks to impede the inevitable upgrades you'll be making."

Prepare for More Mobility and User-Owned Devices

Mobile business apps are no longer a luxury, but a necessity at every level of the organization. Advances in Wi-Fi and other wireless technologies can put much of the corporate network in a worker's pocket. Handheld devices are now commonly used to access corporate e-mail and sales reports, and track supply chain inventory in real time.

Looking ahead, Technisource predicts companies will establish their own internal "apps stores" that give employees password-protected access to software tools and other corporate resources.

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