Recently, I read a Huffington Post article that outlined 20 technology-driven trends that cover everything from the rapid growth of Big Data to social business and the gamification of training to visual communications.
My first thought after reading this – wow, this list is long. Today’s IT landscape is filled with numerous technology trends organizations can choose from to develop business priorities. Business success often means leveraging the right technology, in the right order, to move your business forward. But how do CIOs keep up with these long lists of tech trends?
Out of the many IT choices out there, I think you can categorize the myriad of trends into four key areas that are driving the industry:
1. Cloud Computing: When we talk cloud, it is important to note there are several different types of cloud experiences. There are private, public and hybrid clouds. There are clouds for infrastructure, platforms and applications. Lots of choices. Ultimately, companies need to build the strategy and roadmap that helps them focus and delivers the most value to accelerate their business. It’s about finding which deployment model works for you and what pace of change you can tolerate.
2. Big Data: Executives that we’ve surveyed tell us that they have an insatiable desire for more data. And, the media has definitely shown that to be true. Companies are addicted to data. But, whether executives can ride the wave of big data to a more successful business depends on how they use their data.
While creating new data is easier than ever, the challenge is acting on, and generating value from that information. Collecting data from existing and new sources, storing that data, sharing it across networks and continents, searching and analyzing it becomes increasingly more complex as the amount grows exponentially. Unless you’re one of the very few companies who have mastered the lifecycle of moving data into insight, there’s still progress to be had.
3. Consumerization of IT: The enterprise workplace environment is being reshaped as the boundaries between corporate and personal lives blur through the collision of overlapping devices and applications. Avanade recently released the findings of its latest global survey that dispelled several myths around the topic of consumerization of IT – including employee device preferences, hesitance of business leaders to embrace the trend and executive perspectives on Millennials. Despite the notion that business leaders are resisting the shift, we find that companies are investing in staff and resources to enable greater worker productivity that the consumerization of IT enables. In 2012, the focus will be on integrating and optimizing personal technologies for an enterprise environment.
4. Natural User Interfaces: Consider this: the QWERTY keyboard was invented in 1874. Yet more than 100 years later, we are still using this same design. While technology has become faster, cheaper and improved productivity greatly over the past decades, human interfaces have lagged behind. Now, new user interfaces and experiences present the opportunity to improve the last mile between our brains and all this computing power.
Natural user interfaces transform the way that we interact with digital information, collaborate with each other and serve customers. Right now, companies are focused primarily on experiences geared for the consumer market, centered on web, mobile and touch. As the technologies continue to mature, we expect these rich user experiences will move further into the enterprise, tailored to address industry specific and employee needs.
While longer lists are out there, I think most predictions are just a subset of these four major topics. For example, visual communications is a type of natural user interface and social business is really about consumerization of IT. If you focus on these key areas and have a clear point of view for them (even if the point of view is to wait and see), that’s enough for now. As we consider these four trends, what are your key priorities are for 2012?