Your Top 10 Tech Trends for 2011

Most people like to read Top 10 lists, and I am no exception. As the editor of Baseline, I was particularly interested in learning your top picks?the technology trends and strategies that will play a major role in your enterprise in 2011.

Almost 400 of you filled out our very extensive survey this year, and we really appreciate your input. Now we get to share your insights and predictions with the rest of our print and online readers. (See ?The Top 10 Tech Trends of 2011? )

There were some changes this year from last year?s survey. One surprising?but needed?shift was in security, which moved up from No. 7 last year to No. 1.

Actually, we were more surprised by how low security ranked last year, when many respondents told us that tight budgets would keep them from investing in security technologies in 2010. Also, many felt that the security they had in place was ?good enough.?

Then came the 2010 parade of security and privacy breaches involving a frighteningly large number of public and private organizations?including some well-known technology companies. Many IT and business leaders had a rude awakening: Clearly, their information security was not good enough.

So security jumped to the top of our 2011 list, with almost half of the survey respondents reporting that their organizations were expecting to make a significant investment in this technology next year.

Smart move! If you?re going to spend vast sums gathering, analyzing, sharing and archiving information, you?d better make an investment in keeping that information secure. If not, you may find yourself facing angry customers, employees, government agencies and other stakeholders. And don?t forget the press, who will make sure that the world finds out about any security breaches.

Another technology that moved up quite a bit this year is business intelligence: It climbed from No. 6 to the No. 2 spot. That move was not a surprise, as a growing number of business and technology executives?as well as end-users?have come to realize how essential BI is to their enterprise?s success.

Our research director, Guy Currier, believes the driver of this increased interest in BI is ?the need to corral all these new, usually disorganized information sources? such as social networking and collaboration technologies.

In another surprise, cloud computing dropped from No. 2 last year to No. 6 this year, pushed down the list by security, business intelligence, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), mainstream virtualization and mobility. Some of the survey respondents may have jumped to the cloud already, with either public or private cloud deployments. Others may be taking a wait-and-see attitude, hoping for clarification on the pros and cons of public, private and hybrid clouds, as well as the development of cloud standards.

Among entities that are jumping into the cloud in a big way is New York City. The city is in the final stages of a deal to unify dozens of software agreements in a cloud-based solution that will affect more than 100,000 city employees. The initiative is expected to save at least $50 million during the next five years.

Deputy Commission for IT Services Mike Bimonte had this to say about the city?s move to a software-as-a-service cloud platform: ?This will allow us to move quickly while reducing overall costs.?.

One technology area that stands out by its glaring absence in this year?s survey is green technology, which was No. 1 in the 2010 survey. It didn?t make the list at all this year, possibly because those organizations pursuing green technology made their investments this year.

Also, green has become so enmeshed in today?s hardware that it may no longer have life as a distinct IT category. Notably, 43 percent of the survey respondents said their enterprises were expecting a significant investment in hardware next year, and 37 percent plan to increase the hardware consolidation efforts. Read ?green.?

This year?s survey turned up some interesting information, and we hope that you will find our research valuable as you finalize your own 2011 technology plans.

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