Ten Tech Trends That Will Change IT in 2013

By Samuel Greengard Print this article 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.

3. Social media gets sophisticated.
Social media has swept over the business world like a giant tsunami. But, so far, many of these tools have operated as islands, and many organizations have struggled to create a holistic social media strategy. This situation is likely to change in the coming year.

"Social is becoming a way to rethink business processes and interact in a more collaborative way," points out Accenture's Daugherty. Like mobility, social media breaks down linear processes and patterns, and creates real-time point-to-point communication and exchange.

Others, such as Prashant Malaviya, associate professor of marketing at Georgetown University, says that social media is rapidly moving into the center of the enterprise—both for internal and outside use. "Organizations are only beginning to discover that the combination of mobility, social and location-based services has the ability to transform the enterprise," he says.

4. Clouds are everywhere.
A confluence of factors—including a more mature Internet, high levels of adoption related to virtualization and better IT systems—has unleashed the power of cloud computing. Adoption rates are spiking as more and more organizations flock to private, hybrid and public clouds. In fact, more than 97 percent of major organizations surveyed by the Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA) report that they are already using clouds or plan to deploy them.

"The cloud means that you can act on a larger body of information and use it in a far more effective way to create a sum greater than the individual parts," says Accenture's Daugherty. "It also translates into greater agility and flexibility."

Nevertheless, many organizations are approaching clouds in a methodical and cautious manner. For instance, at Baptist Healthcare Systems, a chain of five acute-care hospitals based in Louisville, Ky., CIO Jackie Lucas says that the organization already uses a private cloud, but must weigh HIPAA and security issues involving patients.

5. IT stocks talent.
Despite a growing reliance on infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software as a service (SaaS), organizations are loading up on IT talent and building centers of technology excellence to spur innovation. "In an environment where skill shortages exist, it's viewed as a way for organizations to gain a competitive advantage," Minton says.

For example, last September, General Motors said that it plans to hire as many as 1,500 workers to staff a new computer technology center near Detroit. Other major companies have made similar announcements in recent months.

"The demands on an IT department are changing rapidly," says Eli Rosner, vice president of global software engineering at NCR. "Mobility and social media are leading to very short cycle times. There's a need to deploy applications and tools into production environments rapidly."

As a result, there's growing demand for IT talent that can think in a strategic, business-focused way, rather than simply managing servers and storage devices.

6. IT means business.
After years of chatter about IT becoming more strategically focused, the dial has suddenly slid from desirable to mandatory. CIOs and other IT executives are beginning to recognize this fact, but initiating the necessary change isn't easy.

"We're at the point where you cannot separate business strategy from technology strategy," explains Deloitte's Briggs. In fact, business units are increasingly deploying their own systems and mobile apps, and IT departments must fully understand how these systems work—and integrate them into the overall fabric of the organization. Organizations that do not break down the silos and connect data pools are at a huge disadvantage.

"Siloed organizations cannot act in the highly agile manner that's necessary," Georgetown's Prashant warns. He says that organizations must create cross-functional teams and engage in practices that help IT and business executives become more fluent in each other's domain.

This article was originally published on 2012-12-20
Samuel Greengard is a freelance writer for Baseline.
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