Archive for the ‘IT predicitions 2012’ Category

Focus on 2012: 5 key areas in Enterprise IT

December 19, 2011

According to the industry analysts, experts and professionals, some of the changes and novelties introduced in the last few years are set to become actual trends in 2012. Influenced by the ever-challenging economic climate, disillusioned yet careful outlook on industry best practices and need to obtain measurable efficiency from any IT project, these are the five key areas that will acquire growing importance next year:

1)      Larger use of non-desktop-based applications

This is due to of a growing need for mobility and flexibility. Users need to be able to work while travelling, from any desk or office (for instance, in the case of large/international companies) and from home, as home-working is growing due to the financial benefits involved. It is also a good choice to guarantee business continuity in the case of unforeseen circumstances such as natural disaster or strikes which leave the workers stranded or unable to reach the office. As well as cloud applications, virtualised desktops are becoming a must-have for many organisations. Companies with older desktops which need updating anyway will find this switch more financially convenient, as well as those which have a large number of mobile users which need to access applications from their smartphone or laptop while out of their main office. It can also give those organisations considering or embracing home-working more control over the desktops, as they will be centralised and managed by the company and not at user level.

2)      Larger use of outsourced management services

The ‘doing more with less’ concept that started to take grip at the beginning of the past recession has translated into practical measures. These include handing part or the whole of the Service Desk to an external service provider which, for a fixed cost, will know how to make the best of what the company has, and provide skilled personnel, up-to-date technology and performance metrics. Managed services, IT outsourcing and cloud services will become even more prominent in 2012 and the following years due to their convenience from a practical and financial point of view. With the right service provider, the outcome is improved efficiency, less losses deriving from IT-related incidents and more manageable IT expenditure.

3)      Management plans for ‘big data’

There is much talk around the current topic of ‘big data’, which describes the concept of the large amount of varied data organisations have to deal with nowadays. There are some practical issues that arise from this – mainly how to store it, share it and use it, all without breaching the Data Protection Act. However, at the moment it is still very difficult to understand how to take the next step: using this data strategically and to create business advantage. This is something companies will have to look at in the years to come; as for the next year, they might just concentrate on dealing with data safely and efficiently, possibly storing it on a private virtual server or using public cloud services.

4)      A more balanced approach to security

This new approach sees the over-adoption of security measures dropped after the realisation that it might affect productivity as it may cause delay in carrying out business operations; it could also diminish opportunities that are found in sharing data within the sector to allow organisations to improve and grow; lastly, it can be counter-productive, with employees bypassing the measures in place in order to make operations quicker. Although being compliant with on-going regulations is becoming vital, there will be more scoping and tailoring than large technology adoption. Organisations will be analysed to understand which areas are in need of security measures and to what extent. This way, heavy security measures will be applied only to high risk areas rather than throughout the whole organisations, with less critical areas able to work more freely. In this approach, risks are balanced against efficiency and opportunity and the end result is a tailored solution rather than a collection of off-the-shelf products.

5)      Less budget control

Due to the challenging economic climate, other departments, in particular the financial department and therefore the DOF, will have more control over IT investments. CIOs and IT Managers will have to be able to evaluate if their IT project is necessary or just a nice-to-have, and how it can bring business advantage.  All proposed IT investment will have to be justified financially; therefore, it is important to analyse each project and find a reasonable ROI before presenting it to the finance decision-makers. This implies that IT professionals have to learn ‘business talk’ and manage to translate difficult technical descriptions in business terms.

All in all, developments within IT will not come to a halt next year – investment and changes will continue but with a more careful outlook and a stronger focus on efficiency, safety and Return on Investment rather than on following trends or adopting the latest technology for the sake of it. Because of this, the difficult economic climate could also be seen as a good thing: organisations make wiser and far-sighted choices that will create a solid base for any future decision that will be made when times are less tough and spending capacity rises, increasing the efficiency potential of IT for business purposes.

Tony Rice, Service Delivery Manager

A new lease of IT life

February 11, 2010

The latest Gartner predictions state that by 2012, 20% of businesses will own no IT assets. Is IT following the paths of cars and mobile phones and will we end up leasing it?

It is actually not difficult to imagine. The growth of utility computing means organisations are already purchasing software and storage on demand, leaving its management to a third party. They don’t only do it because it is convenient economically speaking, but for a more important reason – it spares them from the responsibility of managing something that is not the main function of their business. As the trend grows, technologies are given the right incentive and resources to mature and develop even more, and this is already starting to affect other markets: with the evolution of new technologies happening with increasing regularity the need to update or replace hardware and software becomes more business critical and this of course comes with a heavy financial burden. So it is not too far-fetched to imagine that in the future all hardware and software will be at some point leased and not owned, in order to make constant updates and replacements less expensive in the long run, at least for businesses.

It is not unusual for this to happen with high-evolution technology. In their first twenty years, mobile phones only changed in shape and size, but all models did the same thing: make and receive phone calls. At some point the SMS function was added but could often be activated on older machines, so one could have had the same mobile phone for a decade without being too ‘obsolete’. Then suddenly everything started to change at high speed: some mobiles had a camera, some had polyphonic ringtones, some had both, and when you bought the one which had both, another mobile would come out on the market with ‘real tones’, a much higher resolution camera and the new MMS function, and as soon as you become accustomed to this, there came the new ones with video function and internet browsing and so on. Leasing mobile phones, then, seemed really sensible for a company, to be free to upgrade to the new technology with ease and without having to purchase each phone at full price. Maintenance and substitution are easy when management is in the hands of the provider – you only pay monthly fees to have all the services you need.

The same happens with cars – a company surely wouldn’t use the same car for ten years, and wouldn’t want to spend an awful amount of money every couple of years to buy a new model and perhaps go through the struggle of selling the old one, not to mention repair, revision and all the rest. So it sounds reasonable to pay for a service that provides you with perfectly-working cars, substitute them as soon as they start being faulty, and cares for maintenance issues.

Gartner analysts are probably right in their prediction, then. Just like mobile phones and cars, many organisations will see ownership of their hardware as ‘nonstrategic’, as they define it, but it is important to note that this is actually nothing new: in the past, there have been attempts to rent IT equipment which in the end proved unsuccessful. It is difficult to know if the new technologies will change that fate, however what is obvious is that with organisation switching their IT spending toward operational rather than capital expenditure, it seems they are happy to delegate the responsibility of managing IT assets and services to the experts, in order to increase ROI and efficiency and, nonetheless, to be free to focus on the important parts of their business – making it as successful as it can be.

Richard Forkan

 

Richard Forkan, Director of Business Development

A shorter version can be found in the comment section of CRN – Channelweb:  http://www.channelweb.co.uk/crn/comment/2257649/lease-life