Still Wondering, Still Worrying
December is always a time for reflecting on the events of the past 11 months and planning for the next 12. This time, things are a little different.
Our expectations are lower than they’ve been in years past, and our worries are growing as we read news accounts about a Congress that can’t make decisions about our country’s future, an economy that seems perpetually stalled in neutral, a Middle East constantly on the verge of exploding and a European debt crisis that threatens to topple the global economy.
After surviving the past three very tough years, we’re all hopeful that our fates and fortunes—and those of our families, friends and companies—will improve significantly in 2012. But many of us are undoubtedly concerned that things won’t be much better next year.
Despite any misgivings you may have, those of you who participated in our annual “Top 10” trends survey seem primed to make technology decisions that will give your businesses a fighting chance to succeed in 2012. We want to thank you for your input, which enabled us to produce a report that’s based on facts—your facts—not our opinions. (See “2012 Top 10 Business Trends”.)
While some of these trends were expected, some surprised us. We did expect that tablet PCs would show dramatic growth, but we didn’t think it would be the No. 1 trend for next year, with half of you expecting to increase investments in tablets.
On a personal level, we’re pleased that business use of tablets is taking off because you will start receiving digital versions of Baseline on a monthly basis next year instead of print. Starting with the January issue, you’ll be able to read us on your tablet, as well as on your PC and smartphone. (Turn to page 4 for more details about our new direction and how it will benefit you.)
Another surprise was the No. 2 trend: technology’s increasing role in marketing. Both user demand and support from the finance department for CRM and social communications are expected to increase sharply next year.
The recession undoubtedly made businesses more aware of the need to interact with their customers more often and in a variety of ways that work best for them.
Republic Services is a good example. “We want the customers to dictate how they communicate and interact with us,” Director of IT Doug Saunders told Research Director Guy Currier. “It’s not just phone calls anymore; it’s video.”
Though security moved from No. 1 last year to No. 8 in this year’s survey, there is “a continuing high investment level in security and the related areas of business continuity,” according to Guy, who wrote: “A high proportion of organizations we surveyed expect significant deployments in 2012.” In fact, 53 percent of the respondents expect significant security deployments next year, and 37 percent anticipate significant business continuity deployments.
So why was security only No. 8? Because investments have already been substantial, so the acceleration predicted for 2012 is not as great as it is in some of the other technologies.
We weren’t surprised that the consumerization of IT made the top 10 (in the No. 9 slot)—and you probably aren’t either. Whether or not you’re a fan, you know that smartphones and tablets have invaded corporate America this year, and the invasion is sure to escalate in 2012.
“The consumerization of IT goes well beyond BYOD [bring your own device] and extends to mobile apps, the cloud and social tools,” Phil Garland of consultancy PwC told Baseline.
Speaking of clouds, the development of customized clouds was the No. 7 trend, with one development standing out: platform as a service, “cloud-based programming of custom cloud applications or of cloud architecture.” The use of PaaS is expected to nearly double from 2011 to 2012.
“While other forms of cloud computing will remain more common,” Guy wrote, “none is growing as quickly as PaaS.”
We hope you’ll find our top trends story of value as you plan your own 2012 technology investments. We also hope that you’ll watch your email in mid-January for a link to our new digital edition. And, please, let us know what you think of our “green” and interactive Baseline.