Enterprise IT is changing dramatically and will continue to do so next year. As companies more readily embrace cloud computing, big data, BYOD (bring your own device) and social media, expect to see shifts in spending and how funds are allocated to IT. CIOs are more increasingly business professionals rather than exclusively senior IT experts, and they are moving IT at the speed of business.
The following 10 trends are taking root in enterprise IT:
1. The Cloud – Cloud computing is affordable, efficient and flexible. That has a lot of businesses going out of their way to adopt it wherever and however they can.
2. Virtualization is the new standard – No longer do you need a single server for each major application. A server might now support four applications, each running on a different operating system, all thanks to virtualization. Your apps and the cloud apps you likely use all depend on it.
3. IT is part of business – CIOs no longer operate in isolation. IT decisions are not handed down without discussion. Expect business managers from all departments to be involved in selecting and implementing new technology that suits their specific interests and requirements.
4. Web-based sales – Having multiple sales channels can be a good thing, and the web adds another medium for customer interaction. This is particularly true in the case of social media where a “like” or “retweet” from a customer can propel sales.
5. Open Source and Freemium – Free and open source software has permeated every level of IT in every industry. One would be hard-pressed to find an area of IT without an open source option. Even Microsoft has implemented full Linux support in Azure virtualization. Moreover, many companies are adopting a freemium approach to services, allowing for the “pay for what you need” methodology.
6. Changing workflows – Today’s business professionals are mobile, doing work from their laptops, tablets and even phones. They sign documents digitally and often make sales to customers they never meet. Furthermore, customers have come to expect instant gratification.
7. Security is no longer a perimeter issue – It is not enough to simply secure your outer network. Employees bring their own devices, and any point of entry is a potential security risk.
8. Data is power – Big data is more than just a buzzword. The more data you can actually use, the more insight your organization can glean. But keep in mind that having more data does not automatically mean you can use it. For that you will need comprehensive data analysis.
9. The need for speed – Faster apps mean more efficiency for your business. Something as simple as an on-board flash cache can greatly reduce latency and increase overall performance on a server. Having speedier authentication and logins for users reduces time wasted waiting for things to happen.
10. User-friendly interfaces – Just as a customer would expect you to show up at a meeting looking professional, they expect your website, your mobile app and any interface you require them to use to be professional, clean and easy to use.
Information technology is now more business-specific and customer-oriented than ever. It no longer exists on an island as a novelty. Technologies your business uses are real-world tools that should increase efficiency and improve the overall business process.