Ten Tech Trends That Will Change IT in 2013By Samuel Greengard Print
The new year promises to deliver significant opportunities, along with risks, for IT and business. Here are 10 technology trends you should be watching.
By Samuel Greengard
Although information technology is synonymous with change, it's safe to say that the rate of change has never been faster. Over the last few years, cloud computing and mobility have gone mainstream, and social media and analytics have invaded all corners of the enterprise.
At the same time, organizations have had to address the massive growth of data, as well as growing security and business continuity threats. All of this has created new risks … and opportunities. "The combination of systems is enabling a higher level of technology enablement," observes David Nichols, America's transformational leader for consulting firm Ernst & Young.
To be sure, 2013 may serve as a pivot point for enterprises. The intersection of various technologies—combined with more advanced networks and computers—promises to deliver entirely new challenges and rewards.
Choosing where and how to invest is perhaps the biggest challenge, according to Stephen Minton, an analyst for IDC. "Despite a down economy, there are so many compelling drivers for IT spending at the moment," he points out. "Yet it's impossible to be everywhere at once."
Here are 10 of the IT trends (in no particular order) that promise to rock the enterprise as the calendar turns to the new year.
1. Big data goes mainstream.
It's difficult to go a day without hearing the buzz about big data. Many bristle at the term, but whatever description you use, there's a growing need to corral the mind-bending load of structured and unstructured data flying by.
Paul Daugherty, CTO at Accenture, predicts that 2013 will be the year that many companies plunge into big data in a big way. "We will see the underpinnings of core systems that serve as the foundation for big data projects," he says. The cloud and more sophisticated analytics algorithms promise to unlock big data in new and valuable ways.
However, simply embracing the concept doesn't automatically ensure success, notes M. Eric Johnson, director of the Center for Digital Technology at Dartmouth University. "While we will see some significant leaps in tools and capabilities, we will continue to see a good deal of disappointment," he says. "There is still a lot of naivety and inexperience, and a lot of companies are clueless about how to unlock the value that's tucked away in their data."
2. The digital enterprise emerges.
For years, businesses have juggled digital and analog systems. Paper has persisted, and getting data in and out of systems—and tapping into its full value—has been extraordinarily difficult. As a result, productivity gains have been incremental rather than groundbreaking.
While the last few years has produced IT systems that venture beyond process automation, a confluence of technologies and systems is now ushering in an era of digital acceleration. Clouds, mobile technology and social media increasingly make proprietary hardware and software platforms irrelevant.
"We are removing the physical limitations that have shackled organizations in the past," states Bill Briggs, global lead of Deloitte Digital and deputy chief technology officer for Deloitte Consulting. "There is an immense interrelationship among various digital technologies. They are profoundly reshaping business and creating enormous opportunities."
This new digital order means rethinking the fundamentals of business and re-examining everything: innovation, procurement, research and development, marketing, sales strategies, operations, cost structures and much more.
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