Business technology trends in 2012

While economic uncertainties in the world continue, the momentum behind business growth and innovation remains strong. Global IT, business process and outsourcing company, CSC, recently published its top technology trends for enterprise IT in 2012 and predicts that technology innovations will continue to drive the agenda of enterprise IT.

Here are some key findings:

Cloud bandwagon rolls on

Cloud offerings are continuing to mature. The five key elements of Cloud — scalability, on-demand, pay-peruse, shared infrastructure, and Web access — are now becoming norms of IT service. Both IT and the business desire the increased agility and reduced costs promised by the Cloud. According to Gartner, the Cloud represents the industrialisation of IT capabilities and a new disruptive business model.

There are still some issues with the Cloud, however. Issues around transparency and governance, data sovereignty and trust are gradually being addressed by voluntary industry codes of conduct. Enterprises are currently leaning towards private Clouds that are provided by reputable suppliers.

Legacy transformation

The digital age has stretched legacy systems to their limits. These legacy systems are holding businesses back from fully utilising innovations, such as the Cloud, mobility, and consumer technology. More and more businesses are starting to consider legacy replacement/transformation strategies. The benefits of modern legacy systems are beginning to exceed the costs and risks of replacing legacy assets.

Greater data visibility

Due to the demands of the digital economy, more and more business data is becoming available online. In the era of the internet, business processes need to be agile. Customers, partners and suppliers at the other end of these processes also demand companies’ data have greater visibility. Enterprises can no longer lock their data in internal silos.

Instead, enterprises need to consider whether confidential data and information can and should be made available online.

Consumerisation of IT

As more people are using smartphones, tablets, context-aware devices and applications, interacting with PC desktops/ laptops is increasingly becoming considered old fashioned and limiting. Companies will increasingly need to reach people using these mobile devices. Build-in location awareness, augmented reality and sensors are redefining how we interact with technology.

Enterprises can differentiate themselves by leveraging these new consumer technologies and designing enterprise applications and lightweight ‘app’ libraries that improve productivity and customer experience. This can also enable developers of applications to acquire new skills.

Big Data

Many businesses are gradually beginning to understand the value of gaining useful insights from vast amounts of unstructured data.

With 1.2 billion consumers participating in social media via blogs, Facebook and Twitter, there is a lot of information about customers and businesses on the internet, including data from YouTube, videos and podcasts. This large amount of unstructured data presents a challenge and an opportunity. The large amount of data from a variety of sources, company data, social media, video and audio is a challenge to manage and analyse.

But those businesses which can extract meaningful intelligence from this data about customer needs, behaviours and trends have the potential to reap large rewards.

Work anywhere, anytime

With mobility, users are able to work from anywhere, anytime. Many new offices are designed with no designated desks, allowing users to work from any desk, conference room, or shared space. Travelling staff wish to access company systems using not only laptops and desktops, but also smartphones, tablets and other devices from a variety of locations. Universal access raises concerns about perimeter security. Data theft from mobile devices is also a concern. Enterprises will need strategies to make security robust, while the enterprise perimeter continues to expand.

Green IT

Rising energy costs and the new carbon tax will force enterprises to think seriously about the costs of computing. As Australia produces most of its electricity from coal, electricity costs are expected to rise rapidly. Within the IT industry, the use of electricity is expected to grow four-fold by 2020, according to CSC.

As a result, energy sustainability will need to have a place on the IT agenda. Tools will be needed for better visibility and reporting of energy use by business units across IT. Efficient energy and water use and ethical waste removal will become important. CIOs should begin developing strategies for reducing energy use and improving sustainability.

Knowledge retention

With thousands of baby boomers retiring every year, business knowledge is walking out the door every day. In many cases, there may not be a sufficient number of new staff to learn from the retiring generation. Businesses need to make targeted investments in rapid knowledge capture, storage and transfer.

CSC believes new human computer interfaces like Kinect and augmented reality may allow some retirees to continue to work on the job remotely. Leveraging principles from the gaming industry can improve education and knowledge retention.

Globalisation of talent

Enterprises will search for resources globally in order to find talent at a competitive price. There will be an increased emphasis on the offshoring of knowledge work and business processes in 2012. Crowd sourcing and social media may also begin to play a role for skills, content creation, reviews and feedback. Enterprises should consider investing in tools that facilitate collaboration and virtual workplace technologies and improve teamwork in distributed teams across countries and time zones.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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