A few days ago (Oct. 2), ZDNet's Enterprise Web 2.0 columnist Dion Hinchcliffe put together an insightful article about the next five years in IT.
His top five IT trends for the next half decade are as follows:
1. Next-Gen Mobile: Smart Devices and Tablets
"Enterprises must start treating tablets as equal citizens in their IT strategies," Hinchcliffe writes. However, he adds, smart devices and tablets currently have a poor enterprise ecosystem. Another obstacle to widespread enterprise use of smart devices? Structured IT is resistant to many of the inherent advantages of smart mobile (e.g. app stores, HTML5, large and easily accessible mobile app platforms, etc.)
2. Social Media: Social Business and Enterprise 2.0
Hinchcliffe says social media use has already surpassed e-mail for communication and collaboration. CRM is becoming increasingly social and social businesses are seeing higher profits than non-social ones. Challenges to social media adoption: a) as with mobile, social media is something enterprise IT resists, and b) traditional ROI metrics don't apply to social media and businesses need to rethink the way they measure the value of social media.
3. Cloud Computing
"Business agility, vendor choice, and access to next-generation architectures are all benefits of employing the latest cloud computing architectures," he writes, "which are often radically advanced compared to their traditional enterprise brethren." IT departments, he adds, are concerned with controlling the cloud, as well as its reliability and performance.
4. Consumerization of IT
Hinchcliffe says consumers are dictating a lot of technological innovation these days. But consumerization bypasses enterprise complexity in favor of usability. "Enterprises which don’t steadily consumerize their application portfolios are in for even lower levels of adoption and usage than they already have as workers continue to route around them for easier and more productive solutions."
5. Big Data
"The term 'big data' was coined to describe new technologies and techniques that can handle an order of magnitude or two more data than enterprises are today." Enterprises will have to train IT staff on how to use new data platforms and become more effective with big data, Hinchcliffe writes. In addition, meaningful use of big data requires considerable buy in across the business and with external vendors. "Not an easy task."
Take home message: What does this all mean?
A company's IT department is not typically associated with innovation and business leadership, Hinchcliffe says. "Yet that might have to change as some of the biggest advances in the history of technology make their way into the front lines of service delivery." In short, businesses need to evolve toward increased use of mobile, social, cloud, data-maximizing and consumer-friendly technology in order to stay competitive.