The fundamental aims of IT Managers and CIOs won’t change in the new year, and we expect improvements to business efficiency, increased productivity and reduced costs to remain priorities.
What may change, however, are the technologies that businesses turn to to achieve these goals.
In 2012, there’s no single, looming innovation that stands ready to revolutionise the relationship between business and technology (at least not to the degree that cloud computing has, for example).
But there are technologies that we’re expecting either to make inroads into the mainstream or to come-of-age. And for businesses who can see benefits to their implementation, the rewards will be there for the taking.
Here are a few technologies to watch for:
By the end of 2012, expect mobility to be seen as standard across most (if not all) business applications, from email to CRM and ERP.
Innovations such as HTML5, better mobile devices, faster network connectivity, more standardised platforms and better compatibility across the board for mobile applications will make the mobility task easier, and also more intuitive and palatable for end users.
For businesses, the driver is the often-mentioned ‘anywhere, anytime’ capability: the need to perform tasks with equal speed and efficiency whether in the office, on the road, or on a client’s premises.
This won’t be a need that will lessen in 2012, with the demands of customers driving mobile expectations.
Expect to hear the term ‘bring-your-own computing’, or BYOC, a good deal in 2012.
BYOC is an attempt to provide employees with greater freedom in their choice of devices, allowing them to bring their own equipment to the business network.
On the plus side, the freedom to choose their own computer, smartphone or tablet allows employees to fashion their working environment in a way that they feel will make them most productive.
On the downside, this ‘bottom-up’ approach brings both technical and compliance risks. IT Managers will see less control and increased security threats, as well as more opportunities for customer and business information to leak – essentially opening the door to everything that IT policies have thus far tried to stop.
2012 however, will likely bring new tools that seek to manage these concerns. One is VMware’s latest virtualisation solution for keeping business and personal environments separate on Android phones, recently demonstrated at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show.
2012 will be another bright year for the cloud. Many more businesses who have waited to get the most from their existing infrastructure before making the switch will get on board, with technology refreshes presenting an opportune time to take advantage of the cloud’s financial and productivity benefits.
Cloud technology will also continue to make its mark in areas outside its now traditional software- and infrastructure-as-a-service applications, such as in disaster recovery.
For many businesses, how successfully they use technology in 2012 will be determined by their ability to embrace the technologies that have proven their maturity (such as the cloud), while also putting emerging technologies to imaginative uses in areas where they see a chance to outperform their competitors.
Customer service initiatives are one such prospect, with mid-market businesses having the edge on bigger but slower moving and technologically encumbered challengers.
Stephen Sims is General Manager Sales & Marketing, Brennan IT