Consumer technology disruptions will determine business agendas even within large enterprises, CSC chief technology and innovation officer, Bob Hayward, said.
In a report, Top 10 Technology Trends: Enterprise IT in 2012, Hayward stated that this year is looking to bring businesses a great deal of uncertainty and slow economic growth, especially with the European economic outlook.
“Business will pare IT budgets to the bone. Everything that can be pushed back or deferred will be. Unless something changes soon, economic growth will be slow during the next several months,” he said.
However, he claimed that enterprises are still investing in technology to enable business growth.
Analyst firm, Gartner, has predicted that global enterprise spending on information and communications technology(ICT) will surpass $US2.7 trillion this year.
CSC’s Leading Edge Forum (LEF) identified that enterprises’ view of IT spend is shifting from having to choose between lower costs and more value to cheaper and better.
As a result, Hayward said that to reduce back-office focus and keep up with the explosion of technology, enterprises should keep abreast of the technology trends of 2012.
“Innovations, products and concepts from the consumer world continued to dominate enterprise technology during 2011. This trend started more than 10 years ago and shows no sign of slowing down,” Hayward stated.
He put together a list of 10 technology trends for enterprise IT in 2012 that reflect the acceleration of digital technology innovation and how it reshapes the dynamics of global business. They include:
1. The Cloud
The Cloud bandwagon rolls on, transforming and re-defining service availability in its path.
According to Hayward, businesses that faced tough times in 2011 managed a turnover by implementing Cloud solutions.
He stated that the five defining elements of a Cloud service – elasticity, on-demand, metered consumption, shared resources and Web access – are beginning to become the default means by which new IT services are rolled out and implemented.
Businesses these days are faced with having to choose from a wider range of Cloud models - public, private, community and hybrid.
However, Hayward mentioned that there are subtle changes underway with the overall increasing adoption of the Cloud.
“The growing need for transparency, trust and governance will gradually lead to the emergence of voluntary industry codes of conduct, trust marks and conformance to emerging standards, like the CloudTrust Protocol,” he said.
Currently, growing concerns surrounding data, privacy and security has hindered enterprises from using global public Clouds. Businesses lack the interest in running the majority of their portfolio in offshore Clouds, or Clouds that might be reached through the public Internet using fraudulent credentials and currency.
As such, they implement Clouds inaccessible from the public Internet – usually community or private Clouds. Participation is by invitation only to selected like-minded enterprises, tend to be in-country, and service delivery is by reputable providers that handle sensitive enterprise needs.
2. The demise of legacy assets
The report claims a huge inventory of legacy systems and applications is a vital aspect of many enterprise IT portfolios. However, it requires the same exciting innovation from consumer technology, Cloud and mobility.
“Something has to be done. Legacy systems cost a fortune to operate. They voraciously consume scarce energy using outdated hardware and lazily operate obsolete software/languages with dwindling expertise,” Hayward said.
In 2012, enterprises are starting to seriously consider retiring, replacing or decommissioning legacy assets. Many of them are looking to transform legacy assets into more contemporary languages (Java, C#, Ruby) and environments (x86, Cloud) using an increasing array of automated and semi-automated tools available in the market.
The cost of inaction is now outweighed by the benefit of using more contemporary IT environments, Hayward said.
3. Big Data
The phenomenon of ‘big data’ arose last year as well, giving enterprises the potential to use a growing variety of data architectures to more optimally support diverse workload requirements.
The potential value of gaining insights from analysing large and increasingly unstructured data sets has hit mainstream, so enterprises need to be prepared for ‘big data’ questions, according to Hayward.
“Big data means big backups and big recovery. Enterprises that do not engage comprehensive disaster recovery planning are playing with fire,” he added.
A recent report by CSC’s LEF, The Data rEvolution, showed the range of data-intensive technologies, applications and future possibilities.
However, Hayward mentioned that the gap between the promise and the reality of big data usage is still wide.
The report showed that in 2012, many organisations will try to apply the new shared-nothing architecture and distributed processing frameworks to store, process and manage business information.
By the end of 2012, the IT strategy and architecture vocabulary will grow to include terms like MapReduce, Direct Record Access or Queries, NoSQL Databases, Parallel Relational Databases and Hadoop (MapReduce engines).
4. Convergence of IT and OT
This year, businesses will look to take advantage of the growing convergence between traditional information technology (IT) used across enterprises and operational technology (OT) used to support production and control assets.
The convergence of the technologies aims to integrate machines with enterprise systems, driving value-based optimisation and increase reliability.
However, though IT has matured in reliability, its convergence with OT will not rapidly expand the traditional patch of enterprise IT, Hayward said.
“The convergence is happening at different paces and it depends on the operational stack you are talking about (e.g., MES/SCADA, control, intelligent sensors) and the industry you are dealing with (e.g., manufacturing, mining, defence),” he stated.
Nevertheless, it is expected that in 2012, enterprise IT will increasingly work in the operational space. Hayward suggested that the focus for enterprise IT must address the divide between OT managers (mainly engineers) and their IT counterparts.
5. Information Transparency
After the 2011 disclosures of hundreds of thousands of US State Department diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks led CEOs, enterprise management have been seeking ways to secure their organisation’s information.
However, Hayward mentioned that regardless of whether they want to or not, businesses have to become more transparent.
As part of the CSC LEF research, the company found that organisations practicing strategic leaking will have more advantages over their competitors in diverse ways, namely: better publicity; deeper customer loyalty and trust; more satisfied and motivated employees; stronger links to vendors, contractors and partners; improved recruiting; and better relations with investors.
CSC predicted that in 2012, more strategic firms will take a different approach and ask a completely different question: “What data and information that we’ve always considered confidential should we be making available online — and how could we leverage the disclosure of that information?”
Click this link to view trends 6-10.