With the new year kicking off, it has been customary again to gaze into the crystal ball and envision – even predict – IT developments for the next 12 months or so (who starts these customs?). Instead I would like to take a slightly different tack based more firmly within the realms of reality; I would like to suggest 8 specific areas where your business can innovate today to ensure readiness for whatever the coming months and years will challenge us with.

Understand your business models

Why?

Because economics, commoditization and globalization are driving the change agenda.

What can you do?

  • Ensure you understand the value as well as the limitations of your assets (not just from a financial basis)
  • Create a model allowing you to understand the impact of your strategy (and possible scenario’s)
  • Ensure you are prepared to move fast – pace is everything

 

Embrace social media

Why?

Because social networks are growing stronger – as are the opportunities they provide and because external forces will impact your organisation – positively & negatively.

What can you do?

  • Ensure a proactive strategy to secure your digital channels – Yes that means processes and governance too! Who is accountable for Social in your organisation?
  • Ensure Digital Strategy Innovation is part of your Business Transformation agenda
  • Ensure your employees have the right tools to collaborate – Assuming they haven’t already chosen their own!

 

Intelligent devices everywhere

Why?

Because, according to Intel, there will be 15 billion connected devices and over 3 billion connected users by 2015. New devices offer new channels to market (e.g. Smart Meters and Digital Signage) and they are new sources of information.

What can you do?

  • Ensure business-led understanding of new devices / IP-connected sensors impact (who will own, secure, manage and integrate) – The art of the possible?
  • Utilise new Devices as an enabler to work closer with the business to drive Transformation of business information and deliver new ‘real-time’ decisioning and analytics solutions
  • Think ‘Next-Generation’ – From ‘Devices and Connections’ to ‘Locations and Interactions’

 

It’s all about the data

Why?

Data has value and is increasingly being used to grow new revenues (e.g. Nasdaq) and because your market now expects you to respond in seconds, not weeks.

What can I do?

  • Plan for massive data growth and changing/maturing legislation
  • Classify data/information needs now – including by sensitivity and also by accessibility/storage requirement (use the appropriate full range of suitable tiers of services)
  • Yes ‘Big Data’ will be big – but ensure you understand the ROI and new skill-sets required to deliver promised results (hint: predictive analytics, fraud prevention, process optimisation, etc.)

 

Adopt consumerisation and ‘BYO’

Why?

Because these devices and Apps have already started to impact your business but the management of services and their integration is paramount.

What can I do?

  • Plan now for new roll-out of Windows 8 / IOS devices
  • Ensure internal processes are relevant (especially support) for changing working patterns – it is happening!
  • New UX models are being demanded – Application Readiness is a device and an OS issue
  • Ensure ‘end-point security’ is not an afterthought!

 

Prepare for ‘cloudification’ and the rise of market-places

Why?

Why not, more likely! The proliferation of everything ‘as a service’ will continue – resulting in everyone behaving as a service consumer and a service producer. We are moving from the ‘playground to production’ … giving rise to the cloud service broker.

What can I do?

  • Ensure innovation around integration and interoperability for true end-to-end services!
  • Strongly encourage Cloud organisational process and support readiness
  • Ensure control remains of your organisational data. Protect your data from the data centre to the end-point.
  • Leverage new ‘software defined’ data centres, software and connectivity design innovation & technologies. They will make a difference!

 

Be secure.

Why?

The number of attacks on both the public and private sectors is rising and protecting critical infrastructure becomes even more of a challenge as businesses strive to offer 24/7 service to their clients, partners and employees.

What can I do?

  • Ensure you conduct a regular security/threat assessment – this should be ‘business as usual’
  • Embrace new chip-level technologies (such as Intel’s vPro) and enable advanced security features!
  • Always take a pro-active approach to the increasing threat landscape (Think Security information and event management and System on a Chip – SIEM and SOC).
  • Ensure you are protecting your data at rest and in transit (and hardware everywhere)

 

Implications of Innovating your Services Ecosystem

Why?

Not only is IT procurement changing (consider the rise of smart-sourcing/micro-sourcing/multi-sourcing but IT budgets are moving out of the control of IT departments, which means IT must reach out to the business.

What can I do?

  • Ensure you have a single interface between the business and its multiple IT service suppliers
  • Ensure governance & process for new and existing services are aligned to changing business needs
  • Consider creation of a robust Service Integration capability when the complexity of your ecosystem is inherent or expanding

 

No doubt you have read many, many predictions about what the IT world has in store for your business in the coming months; my suggestions here will help you to benefit from the predictions that come true – and minimise the chance of you burning your fingers on the ones that don’t.