by Curt Finch

Peering Into the Crystal Ball: Top IT Trends for 2012

Dec 29, 20114 mins
CIOCloud ComputingComputers and Peripherals

IT departments have gone through many changes this past year, from the rise of the tablet market to the death of Steve Jobs.  But what should CIOs expect in 2012?  What will impact companies the most?  We already know that the consumerization of IT is a trend that is not going away. In 2012, the iPad 3 (and the potential mini iPad), gamification and changes in cloud computing will take the consumerization of IT to a whole new level.

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The iPad 3 and Potential iPad Mini

Multiple reports predict a next-generation iPad near the end of the first quarter of 2012.  The iPad 3 will feature a retina display of 2048×1536, providing a drastic resolution improvement.  This will increase usability of the iPad overall, eliminating “fuzzy” words, icons or other desktop elements.  It also allows developers to create easier to read dashboard applications, which can be used by IT administrators.

Reports are also out that at the end of next year, Apple will offer a 7 inch iPad.  Why would Apple make a smaller iPad, especially when Steve Jobs very openly said that a 7-inch screen was inadequate for a number of reasons?  The answer is to compete with the new 7-inch Kindle Fire.  Though Apple may be the dominating player in the tablet market, the Kindle is considered by most to be the superior e-reader. Apple wants to change that.

But these reports are not from Apple directly, so it’s hard to say for certain that an iPad Mini will come at all.  Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair believes that instead of an iPad Mini, Apple will lower the price of the iPad 2 with the introduction of the iPad 3 instead of trying to compete with the Kindle Fire.  He theorizes that the cheaper iPad 2 will satisfy mid-tier demand.  Why should you believe Blair?  He was one of the few analysts to predict the iPhone 4S, dismissing rumors of the iPhone 5.


Earlier this month, Deloitte released its predictions for the top tech trends they see coming up in 2012 and one of those predictions is gamification.  What will gamification look like in the enterprise?  According to Deloitte, day-to-day business will be embedded with gaming mechanics, such as leaderboards, achievements, and skill-based learning.

We’ve already seen examples of gamification becoming quite popular in the consumer market with Foursquare.  But Foursquare is not the end-all of gamification since it’s a simplification of gaming mechanics.  Foursquare is just badges and points; 2012 will see the development of more complex gaming simulations.  A company to watch regarding unlocking another element of gamification is Nectar, a loyalty program in the UK.  Nectar participants can make purchases to earn Nectar points on a variety of websites that partner with Nectar. They use their points for  other purchases.

Big Door is another company that offers gamification services to businesses.  Dell used Big Door’s gamification platform for their annual event, Dell World, and it was a huge success.  The attendees really enjoyed winning points and badges for sharing content, proving that even IT executives like to play games.

Hybrid Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is not a new idea but what is new is the challenge of managing both cloud-based and server-based systems inside one company.  I’ve even encountered this problem within my own business.  My PR consultant advised me on a media tool that could be embedded into our website.  But when my PR consultant and my webmaster met together about doing this, complications appeared.  The user interface of the application didn’t match up well to the UI we had on our website already and ultimately, the project didn’t go through.  Though the project was scrapped, there will be similar projects down the line with applications we deem absolutely essential. 

How do IT departments keep the balance between cloud systems and on-premise systems?  This is a question that many departments will be faced with this year.

So, there you have it. The three trends that, in my opinion, will affect CIOs most in 2012. What do you think? Agree or disagree? Let me know!