29 Apr 2014

IT Trends: How to prepare for the new financial year

It’s that time of year again; the end of the financial year is looming, and among the bustle of accountants and book keeping, it’s also time to sit back and consider where to make strategic technology investments for the new financial year.

As always it’s a dynamic time for technology, with some real opportunities for organisations equipped to seek them out, and alternatively some real technology-based risks for organisations that are unprepared for both policy and technology-lead change. Here are three of the most prevalent key trends that almost every single organisation will need to grapple with in the new financial year;

1)      Update Your Version Of Windows

Earlier this month Microsoft formally ceased support for Windows XP, an operating system that, despite being superseded by three new versions of Windows, still accounts for an estimated 33 percent of all PCs in businesses environments. Furthermore, 76 per cent of organisations have at least one Windows XP system in the network somewhere.

Windows XP systems are going to rapidly become very costly (to pay Microsoft for continued “custom support”), or they’re going to become a dangerous security risk, as hackers and others with malicious intent start to play with exploits that Microsoft will no longer patch. Clearly, getting XP out of the office should be the #1 priority for the new financial year.

2)      Big Data, Big Opportunities, Big Privacy Concerns

The new financial year will see a “Chief Digital Officer” become a term we see more and more of. Chief Digital Officers will be responsible for the organisation’s Big Data initiatives, and using quality data captured from customers to deliver quality insights for the business.

According to a recent Torque report, 78 per cent of organisations believe the ability to design and implement a strong big data strategy will define their business for years to come. So the stakes are high and this area will be critical to organisations in the new financial year.

But, by the same token new privacy laws will require organisations to be more careful with the data that they collect and store. According to privacy expert, Alec Christie, as many as 60 per cent or organisations are not properly prepared for these new privacy laws, and the costs of being in breach of them should be enough to rocket data handling to the top of an organisation’s new financial year resolutions.

3)      Cloud’s Not Going Away. It’s Just Going To Be More Important Than Ever

There is still a skills gap when it comes to cloud adoption, and with the technology becoming a key differentiator and competitive advantage, this is something that organisations will need to resolve in the new financial year.

Recently, Gartner Research managing vice-president, Ian Bertram, made the claim that organisations would face big challenges in having the right skillsets internally to manage cloud environments. “I think this is going to be a big challenge where we are going to find skills gaps moving forward over the next couple of years,” he said.

This is coupled with a recent Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey that found that 66 per cent of organisations consider themselves ‘weak’ in their ability to provide a focused leadership program for millennials (gen Y). Considering that this is where the cloud managers in the future will come from, organisations will want to spend the next financial year getting both their management skilled up, and attracting the right people to the organisation, so that they can fully realise the benefits of the cloud.