As we look ahead into 2011, companies will need to address the importance of aligning new offerings in IT with the needs of business. IT shops learned long ago that it is difficult and expensive to build systems from scratch and operate them solely with internal resources. As businesses continue responding to competitive challenges and opportunities with increasing agility, and IT delivers cost-effective solutions that extend business operations into new markets and geographies, the IT management model will need to change and IT shops will increasingly become brokers of services procured from a variety of sources.
It is ironic that after years of espousing the principles of technology standardization and vendor consolidation, most IT shops will realize in 2011 that they need to deal with a wider variety of service providers and, to some extent, lose control of their technology blueprints in leveraging the ever expanding catalog of software, infrastructure and support services that are emerging in the market.
In 2011, here are four trends that I believe will reshape IT’s conventional command and control approach to designing, building and operating business systems. Ultimately these trends will lead to increased innovation in a post-recession era.
The consumerisation of IT is booming. From iPads to Androids to Windows Phones, the use of personal mobile devices for business use is rapidly expanding – largely outside of IT’s control or knowledge. Employees are building their own customized ‘productivity environments’ by piecing together a network of devices and services; accessing e-mail, SharePoint and other internal services; while still logging into conventional administrative applications. In a good year, most IT shops may deliver one to two hundred major enhancements to existing applications or completely new business systems. But to put this in context, iPhone and Droid developers are routinely delivering over 10,000 applications to the marketplace per month. Even though a majority of these apps have narrow functionality, IT shops are fighting a losing battle trying to restrict the use of these new mobile tools. With markets becoming more competitive and customers becoming on-demand, real-time consumers, the consumerisation of IT is becoming real. In 2011, we will see IT attempt to regain control of its assets amid increasing risks for security, compliance and compatibility.
Cloud and Virtualization
In 2011, we will see a shift in IT from theoretical consideration to practical deployment of the cloud. Interest in cloud computing this coming year will no longer be a simple question of what the cloud offers but how to deploy it as companies introduce a mix of SaaS, virtualization technologies and public cloud providers into their infrastructures. There are still risks that early cloud adopters could fail to put in place disciplined strategies for agility and cost reduction, however 2011 will see companies get smarter with IT financing and utilisation levels in order to justify additional capacity procurement
However, enterprises won’t immediately accept the cloud. Business departments will resist the loss of asset ownership, network teams will face less visibility and control and storage must upscale to provision infrastructure. In addition, service delivery times will shrink rapidly and it is likely that IT will feel pressure from the business to deliver against increasingly demanding SLAs as we move into 2011.
Collaboration technologies such as Salesforce Chatter, Jive and SharePoint tools will continue gaining popularity in 2011 as businesses look to technology to help them engage a greater range of stakeholders and audiences on a near real time basis. These cost-effective, open platforms will explode in 2011, although business need ensure significant management to ensure the platforms deliver. Unmonitored usage levels, minimal business gain and spiraling costs are three issues that could contribute to the downfall in collaboration technology next year, if the CIO does not ensure a carefully controlled and managed plan is in place. The ability to derive business benefits from these tools is not a technology issue but rather a governance issue in terms of how interest groups are created, focused and nurtured.
As businesses become increasingly data-dependent and interconnected, the potential threat and resulting impact of security breaches will be higher than ever. Threats are becoming progressively more pervasive, sophisticated and global, intensifying an ongoing challenge between IT security groups and perpetrators. While this struggle is not new to IT, the increased use of third-party applications and unapproved technology assets in the environment means doesn’t make the struggle any easier to tackle.
IT management has seen security-related spending increase year over year, even through the recession. IT executives are struggling to establish effective risk management strategies that can either stop or reverse this trend while still reducing their risk exposures. Security expertise is difficult to afford, recruit and retain in most organizations which inevitably leads to greater dependence on third party services to plug the holes in a company’s security infrastructure.
These four priorities for 2011 are undoubtedly topics with a high price tag for CIOs. In the coming year, cash-rich IT super-vendors are going to continue their spending sprees of 2010, looking for bargains and innovative technologies to add to their portfolios. Big companies willing to pay premium prices for strategic acquisitions still have large cash war chests to invest in high potential markets such as cloud computing. And hopefully VC spending on technology startup companies will return to pre-recession levels – investment in the technology that could unlock the flood gates of post-recession innovation and acquisition in 2011.
Tags: The Cloud