Trends 9 and 10

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print

Despite a brutal economy and tight budgets, organizations are making plans to deploy the technologies that are most likely to drive their business in 2010. Here are 10 business and technology trends that will help solidify those plans.

9 Investments in Hardware Infrastructure

The last few years have brought enormous changes in hardware and how organizations manage their data centers. But no technology has made a bigger impact than virtualization, which has moved into the mainstream and helped organizations consolidate servers.

Many organizations are already using server virtualization in production environments, and the use of storage, desktop and application virtualization is growing as well. According to industry surveys, more than half of mission-critical tasks will take place in a virtualized environment within the next 18 months.

Zeus Kerravala, senior vice president at Yankee Group, says that virtualization will continue to gain momentum in 2010. Driving the trend is more mature software, more advanced processors and IT departments that have gained experience with virtualization.

“Intel’s release of the Nehalem processor is spurring greater adoption,” he says. “It is the first CPU optimized for virtualized environments.” Kerravala believes that Nehalem could accelerate server refresh cycles as well.

To be sure, organizations are looking to step up hardware and networking investments. Approximately 43 percent of respondents to the Baseline survey plan said they expect their companies to spend more on hardware, and 42 percent said their firms will increase spending on storage or storage systems.

In addition to virtualization, organizations are looking at Fibre Channel over Ethernet to build a more unified computing infrastructure. They’re also seeking more advanced management tools and investigating ways to integrate cloud computing into the internal IT environment.

An emerging trend is the use of solid-state drives, which offer greater dependability and energy savings. Prices are dropping, and hardware vendors are incorporating them into systems, including notebooks, and these drives are likely to appear soon in storage devices and other systems, Kerravala predicts.

10 Collaboration, Workflow and Productivity

Collaboration and workflow certainly aren’t new concepts. However, rapidly maturing technology and a changing business landscape are introducing a spate of new challenges, says Ted Schadler, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research.

The extension of productivity and workflow to the mobile environment is a huge trend. Thirty-five percent of Baseline survey respondents said that mobility systems will expand at their company in 2010.

“The use of smartphones to manage and extend productivity, collaboration and workflow is altering business,” Schadler says. “We are rapidly moving beyond e-mail and into content and collaboration applications.”

In fact, mobile access to SharePoint, BI, reporting dashboards, document viewers, databases and CRM apps is fast becoming the norm.

Ad hoc real-time collaboration is also gaining traction, Schadler notes. As social networking features merge with applications like WebEx, Adobe Acrobat Connect and GoToMeeting, a more spontaneous, flexible approach to collaboration and project development will unfold. Likewise, services such as Google Wave represent a next-generation tool kit for communication and collaboration.

Document and file sharing are advancing in other ways, too. About 25 percent of the survey respondents said that workflow apps will be more prominent at their companies. Thanks to technologies such as SharePoint and Adobe Flex, paper and static forms are bowing to workflow automation, data capture, e-forms, e-signatures and collaboration tools.

“Workflow and data capture are coming of age,” observes John Rigg, chief of the Bureau of Automation for the State of Illinois Department of Human Services in Springfield. For example, using Adobe LiveCycle Digital Signatures, the agency has converted more than 1,000 paper forms into interactive PDF forms, thus automating data capture and storage, as well as eliminating redundant business processes. The initiative has resulted in approximately $6 million in annual savings.

Savvy organizations should take notice, says Forrester’s Schadler. “The value of productivity and workflow tools is proven, but they have not been widely adopted yet,” he points out. “2010 may be the year businesses turn the corner.”

This article was originally published on 2009-12-08
Samuel Greengard is a freelance writer for Baseline.
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