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Big Data, Security & Cloud Computing Identified as IT Super Themes in 2012

CIOs to become major enablers of innovation for the business, playing a central role in operational & commercial strategy

"Big data" analytics, security and cloud computing will be three of the most significant drivers of technological change in 2012. The predictions for the coming year also include the growing impact of social networking platforms on enterprise collaboration strategies, convergence of selected software-as-a-service (SaaS) CRM and marketing services, and the consumerization of IT, which looks likely to accelerate the adoption of self-selected SaaS by line-of-business owners and the deployment of mobile device management solutions to support bring-your-own-device strategies.

The independent technology analyst  also expects the role of chief information officer (CIO) to continue evolving next year as it faces strong pressure to develop operational and investment models that embrace technology-led innovation from all functional units within the organization.

The adoption of new smart devices and sophisticated web services in the consumer market is accelerating, extending the gap between user expectations and the services being delivered by corporate IT. To minimise this disconnect the CIO will need to act as an enabler of innovation for the business, and this creates the opportunity to play a central role in both operational and commercial strategy.

With an increase in the number of employee-owned devices being used in the workplace, data security and best practice will remain a top concern for CIOs next year. Organizations will need to protect and secure corporate information, whilst also providing access to corporate data on self-provisioned devices. However, selecting the right mobile device management or mobile desktop virtualization solution must be accompanied by consideration of both country-specific employee data privacy and industry-specific compliance requirements.

We expect these overarching themes to be pivotal to the success of business strategy next year. Only businesses considering the opportunities that each trend presents, and the challenges that may exist, will ensure that they remain at the forefront of their respective industries.

Key Predictions for 2012
Cloud Computing: 2012 to be the year of PaaS

Organizations' approach to cloud will shift from a low-level infrastructure-as-a-service/cost-cutting discussion to a higher-level platform-as-a-service/SaaS discussion. Access to innovative mobile, social and collaborative apps underpinned by analytics and management reporting will drive adoption.

Big Data & Analytics: new data sources create transformation opportunities
Applying analytics to social media, machine-to-machine and location data will create new business opportunities and drive new investment in business intelligence and data warehousing infrastructure. However, only organisations using big data and analytics in a transformative way will realise substantial benefits. The advanced "social media command/control centre" will increase in appeal as more organisations engage directly with their markets and constituencies through the vehicle of social media, rather than via marketing services agencies, and look to measure the effectiveness of their investments in this channel.

Security: mobility multiplies the data leakage points
Going forward, organizations must learn to live in a state of compromise and should plan and act as though they have already been breached. The flip of the consumerisation of IT is that customer complaint will increasingly take the form a malicious attack on the corporate network. The use of employee-owned devices also will continue to grow the number of data leakage points for the enterprise. This will continue to drive both the need for more rigorous penetration testing and advanced MDM capabilities.

IT Consumerization: a source of contention in the workplace
The consumerization of corporate IT will create contention within the workplace as line-of-business owners confront the CIO, arguing that the corporate IT function is no longer able to satisfy the particular requirements of the department. "Personal computer" gives way to "personal cloud" as users consume mobile and web apps, making bring your own software (BYOS) more common than bring your own device (BYOD). Consumers will increasingly provide new sales channels for vendors to sell into the enterprise, so the role of the CIO has to change in order to deal with "proliferative innovation" - technological innovation driven from all parts of the organization.

Social Media: rapid growth in social enterprise platforms
The social networking market will not see any major disruption to its current growth trajectory in 2012, and Facebook will continue to drive the evolution of employee communications as organisations look to enterprise social networking software. However, as Facebook has turned its social networking service into a platform, there will be a growing focus on third-party application development for emerging social enterprise platforms such as Jive and Yammer. Ovum expects to see innovative new services pushed into the enterprise through this channel by new market entrants.

Mobility: tablets deployed as an enterprise tool
Mobile apps in both the commercial and public sectors will mature to become a lever for change and innovation in 2012. The debate over native apps vs. browser-based apps will continue to be driven by the growing exploitation of HTML5 and CSS5. The tablet computer will continue to see deployment by the enterprise for specific roles, particularly for customer-facing staff in service industries, as a tool to close the knowledge gap with customers who themselves are increasingly armed with product and price search services on their own smart devices.

More Stories By Tim Jennings

Tim Jennings is Ovum’s Chief Analyst for Enterprise IT and an Ovum Research Fellow. In this role, he is responsible for leading Ovum’s Enterprise IT research agenda, developing the product portfolio, and liaising with key clients. Tim is a regular speaker at both Ovum and external industry events, and his views on IT issues are frequently quoted in both trade and national press. Tim graduated from Aston University in 1983 with a BSc in Computer Science.

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