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Business and technology trends 2013

01 Feb 2013

The top trend in technology for 2013 is the continued corporatisation of consumer and mobile technology. Expect more consumers to step up their use of tablets in conducting workplace activities, while the desktop PC gradually becomes a niche product used for specialised activities. Businesses are generally embracing this new reality by issuing more tablets to employees, particularly senior managers, middle managers, sales teams and field force teams within their organisation.

More businesses are also planning to allow employees to use personal tablets to access their corporate networks over the next three to five years.

As industries become more competitive and dynamic, businesses will continue to become more nimble and agile, with IT as a key enabler.

Businesses will continue to look to IT to become more agile. Building on the ability to bring applications and services to market weeks faster using server virtualisation technologies, new software-defined datacentre models will enable services to be provisioned in seconds or minutes.

These models will orchestrate pools of network, compute and storage as a single ‘virtual datacentre’ – effectively doing for infrastructure what virtualisation has done for servers.

The likelihood of greater global economic uncertainty will see businesses continue to focus on extracting value from IT. They will want to see greater efficiency and transparency from their IT investments.

As companies continue to face ongoing economic uncertainty and structural changes, they will continue to seek greater value from IT by pushing for efficiency and transparency. The growing penetration of cloud computing will see more organisations move from investing capital in IT to buying compute, storage and other resources on demand from third-party cloud providers. They will also continue to introduce chargeback models that ensure resources are allocated to business units more efficiently.

2013 Technology Trends

Security will meet Big Data to create the next generation of protection for organisations

Now more than ever, IT infrastructure has become the cardiovascular system of an organisation. Protecting its health by keeping it safe is now mission-critical. This is being complicated by the fact that infrastructures are extending from corporate datacentres to hybrid and public cloud environments. In this dynamic environment, static security technologies are inadequate.

Businesses instead need to take a real-time, predictive approach to managing threats. This can be done by using the wealth of event and log information generated by the infrastructure and network traffic flows. By applying Big Data predictive analytics to IT security, businesses can achieve a deep forensic capability to minimise threats presented by socially-engineered malware and other types of attacks.

Businesses will use Big Data to gain a competitive edge Businesses that leverage Big Data to create value and compete more effectively will quickly leave their less-progressive rivals in the shade. ‘Gut feel’ and experience are no longer enough for decision-makers to consistently choose the right path. As the intelligence being shared over social media and mobile devices increases, so does the chance to identify new insights.

The opportunity for businesses is considerable. The recent EMC-sponsored IDC Digital Universe study found that only a tiny fraction of the world’s Big Data potential is being realised, though the volume of useful data is expanding.

For the IT function, the challenge is to make use of data, regardless of size, type or how quickly it is generated, to support decision- making and create value.

Modernising IT infrastructure and applications creates a unique opportunity to take advantage of Big Data technologies and methodologies. By changing processes and bringing together IT and business teams, organisations can ensure that the insights generated from Big Data can be quickly used to advantage.

New IT roles come with cloud computing The continued take up of cloud and Big Data technologies is having a profound impact on the IT function. A number of new job roles are being created: while the Chief Information Officer continues to become more business- rather than technology-focused. In many larger organisations, a Chief Technology Officer is assuming responsibility for technology and operations.

Businesses that combine private and public cloud services into a hybrid cloud model are seeing the following changes:

  • Technology specialists are moving to positions where they can interact with business units to make improvements and changes.
  • Infrastructure architects are becoming system or cloud architects. Their new role includes assembling services, creating data architectures and resolving integration issues.
  • Data scientists are being employed to deliver the real-time analytics needed to obtain value from Big Data. These people combine deep technical and mathematical skills with an ability to relate to and understand the business. The intelligence of these people and training required to enable them to perform their roles makes them extremely valuable and the industry is currently experiencing a shortage of skilled candidates.
UFB affects business thinking

Over the next few years, the rollout of ultra-fast broadband (UFB) will reach a stage where organisations need to plan new services and new delivery mechanisms enabled by high-speed connectivity.

Some industries, such as media and entertainment, will need to transform quickly. Others, such as retail, will experience greater competition. From cloud to teleworking to remote healthcare, UFB will revolutionise service delivery in New Zealand.

To exploit the opportunities presented by the new network, organisations have to ensure their ‘house is in order’. Highly agile IT infrastructures will enable organisations to respond and enter new markets quickly.

EaaS – Everything as a Service – will emerge as a business reality The shift to consumption-based pricing of infrastructure and software is now well understood. However, there is growing demand from businesses to adopt this model for services across the board. In particular, organisations with peak or ad-hoc requirements are likely to benefit most from the ‘as a service’ approach.

The software-defined datacentre takes the stage

In coming years, the software-defined datacentre will take the abstraction of IT infrastructure to a new level. By virtualising the entire datacentre, the software defined datacentre will eliminate the silos that stop organisations sharing compute, network and storage between applications.

What the software-defined datacentre sets out to achieve is to orchestrate pools of storage, compute and network as a single entity, while maintaining built-in, in-depth security. This will enable you to specify a service level requirement and a compliant virtual datacentre will be provisioned to provide that service. Such services will be measurable to enable the detailed allocation and control of costs.

In comparison to the physical world, in which it took weeks or months to provision a service, or the ‘virtual’ world where it was reduced to hours or days, in the software-defined datacentre environment, the time to provision new services will to be seconds or minutes.