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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

10 Trends for 2010: Piecing Together a Technology Strategy

Baseline
By Samuel Greengard
2009-12-08
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. …
Following are the 10 most significant technology trends for next year, based on a survey of almost 1,200 technology and business managers, conducted by Ziff Davis Enterprise Research.
1 Green Computing and Energy Efficiency
… Skyrocketing energy costs and tight budgets, coupled with growing public and government pressure, have forced companies to put this issue on the front burner. …
…Better energy auditing tools, a more thorough understanding of carbon footprints, improved engineering and design, and a developing ecosystem for managing equipment from cradle to grave all make green computing more feasible.
In addition, organizations are adopting new and improved tools for managing computers and ensuring that they’re in sleep mode when they’re not in use. Many organizations are also getting serious about training employees to switch systems off when they’re not needed.
Fisher adds that manufacturers are beginning to place data about energy usage on their products, and companies are accelerating refresh cycles to take advantage of technology advances and energy savings. …
2 Public and Private Cloud Computing
… Two-thirds of Baseline survey respondents plan to expand the use of public clouds, which reside on the Internet, provide access to shared computing resources and are operated by third-party providers. Sixty-four percent said they’re interested in private clouds, which, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, are “owned or leased by a single organization and operated solely for that organization.” …
Organizations are also turning to clouds to keep mobile data in sync. Apple, Research in Motion and other vendors have simplified syncing contacts, e-mails, notes and calendar items across multiple devices. …
3 Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
…Interest in VDI is growing rapidly. The technology virtualizes a desktop and stores it on a remote central server. By making desktops and data more uniform and available—across various platforms and devices in the enterprise—it’s possible to weather a natural or human disruption with minimal downtime or loss in productivity. …
4 Mobility, Telecommuting and Virtual Meetings
…Wireless networks are becoming ubiquitous, devices are advancing rapidly, and an array of tools and technologies are making virtual meetings, collaboration and telecommuting a seamless proposition. Thirty-five percent of Baseline survey respondents said they’re expecting the use of these tools to increase in 2010. …
This connected and collaborative environment also promises to usher in better desktop video conferencing, along with more advanced telepresence capabilities. The widespread availability of high-bandwidth networks, along with more sophisticated and less-expensive technologies, makes it possible for organizations to work virtually and seamlessly. …
5 Centralization, Standards and Governance
…Baseline’s survey of IT executives indicates that 85 percent of organizations will boost their investment in governance processes and applications in 2010. Mobility, managed services, cloud computing, virtualization, Web 2.0, security, SLA management and an array of other initiatives—often revolving around more effective asset management—have prompted organizations to focus on developing better governance and standardization strategies.
In addition, businesses find themselves facing a growing array of government and industry regulations. As a result, governance, risk and compliance (GRC) play an important role in corporate strategy. …
6 Knowledge Sharing, Business Intelligence and Social Networking
…Web 2.0—including blogs, wikis and social networking—has transformed the landscape and made knowledge sharing a reality. At the same time, XML-based tools and service-oriented architecture (SOA) components have made it easier and simpler to share documents and data.
… More than two-thirds of Baseline respondents indicated increased interest in social networking at their firms, and 60 percent said their companies are gravitating toward knowledge and document management applications. …
In some cases, organizations are adapting social media and combining these tools with business intelligence to provide real-time analytics on how data, information and knowledge are flowing throughout the organization—and beyond. … Other enterprises are tapping social media to assemble teams, document practices and expertise, and to identify subject matter experts who would have fallen between the cracks in the past. …
Meanwhile, many other organizations are using social networking to handle everything from sales to customer support.
7 Security, E-Discovery and Business Continuity
Cyber-security, business continuity and managing risk are all core issues for any organization. Although the Internet and increasingly sophisticated technology have created enormous business opportunities, the risk of a security breach and the threat of downtime are growing. Worse, the cost of a failure can prove catastrophic. …
Unfortunately, as the calendar rolls over to 2010, this laissez-faire attitude about security and other risk-oriented issues—including business continuity and e-discovery—could prove costly. Baseline found that 70 percent of companies expect little or no significant investment in security, and 71 percent expect little or no significant investment in business continuity. …
8 Advances in Application Infrastructure
…One of the biggest trends is the widespread use of open source code. From running operating systems to handling Web programming, it has changed the face of computing.
…Baseline found that 22 percent of IT executives expect increased investment in application infrastructure next year.
At the same time, Manes sees ongoing interest in software as a service, SOA and business process management. Major enterprise applications are also opening up through APIs, and many of them are moving into the cloud as well. Not surprisingly, mainstream software providers are tweaking and adapting their applications to keep pace with the growing demand. …
9 Investments in Hardware Infrastructure
…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. …
10 Collaboration, Workflow and Productivity
…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. …
In fact, mobile access to SharePoint, BI, reporting dashboards, document viewers, databases and CRM apps is fast becoming the norm. …
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. …
How We Conducted the Research
A two-stage study was conducted for this article by Ziff Davis Enterprise Research. In the first stage, 300 technology and business professionals and managers involved in technology at organizations of all sizes were polled using an open-ended questionnaire. …
These responses were then analyzed, so that the trends that were mentioned most often could be tested in the second, quantitative stage of the study. The trends list arising out of the first stage was supplemented with input from the editors and experts to ensure completeness and clarity. In the second stage, a multiple-choice questionnaire was fielded to 878 technology and business managers in firms with at least 100 employees: 248 in firms with 100 to 499 employees, 398 in firms with 500 to 9,999 employees and 232 in firms with 10,000 or more employees. Of the 878 respondents, 230 had vice president or higher titles, 236 had director titles and 412 had manager titles.
The second-stage survey asked a series of questions about each trend in order to gauge the relative strength of each, as well as the chief factors that might be driving or potentially hindering it. The trends covered in this story are the 10 that received the strongest results because of widespread adoption, intense (highly committed) adoption or both.