Tech Trends for 2013

Daniel Maycock is one of Slalom’s acknowledged thought leaders in the realm of new and emerging technology.

There were many significant technology advances during 2012 in a number of key areas, including the mainstream adoption of LTE, Big Data, and analytics dominating the enterprise IT agenda.

Companies went from adopting cloud platforms and services to leveraging those services and transforming their businesses.

  • Windows 8 has shown just how important Internet connectivity will be for computing in many capacities.
  • Every major IT vendor has focused to some extent on the convergence of mobile, cloud, analytics, social, and helping companies make IT a central part of their business in every aspect.
  • From SalesForce to Azure, cloud-based solutions are expected to grow even more in 2013.

As more and more companies begin waking up to this new reality, the question is not if adoption of key technologies such as cloud and mobile will take place, but how quickly and what can be done to make them work for the business as fast as possible. Furthermore, as these technologies are integrated deeper into the enterprise, it will be critical to keep in mind what other technologies will follow in their path.

While technology adoption was a big focus in 2012, application and convergence will be big themes in 2013. The emphasis on Big Data in 2012 will lead to trending and predictive analytics now that the tools are in place and accessible both off-premise (SAP Hana in AWS) and on-premise (IBM, SAP, Oracle).

The mobile ecosystem

In 2012, companies focused on mobile device management and determining how BYOD (bring-your-own-device) would work in an environment prone to only allowing corporate data on corporate controlled devices. Smartphones and tablets are now common place in most every enterprise and blurring the lines of personal computing. As a result, companies will focus on how devices can work together in a way that adds to the productivity of employees, and not simply become novel accessories that bog down IT help desks. Having a single ecosystem that supports production, consumption, and interaction will a big focus for IT orgs going into 2013, as the governance and policies drafted in 2012 go into effect around personal content versus corporate content. These policies cover how areas such as e-discovery will be managed on a personal device, accessing corporate data, and traveling between regional offices in multiple countries with different laws around information protection and privacy.

Though there aren’t many legal examples of how to best manage grey areas like this in mobile workforces, vendors are getting smarter about anticipating where enterprises need the most help. Mobile security and management are becoming the number one topic in IT orgs when it comes to mobility versus apps or services. Tablets further complicate things, with devices such as the Microsoft Surface being considered as laptop replacements down the road. Tablets have vastly different ways to manage tools–from different replacement cycles and SLA agreements to a lack of whole disk encryption and imaging capabilities—that have been in place for several years in most IT organizations.

In 2013, key advancements will not necessarily be around tools, but about the management and effectiveness of more screens in more places instead of one multipurpose device. What’s clear is that device proliferation isn’t getting smaller. People will find different tools working better for different tasks and a growing number of best practices around what device does what tasks the best. The one-size fits all approach toward desktops and laptops is going to be replaced with a mobile ecosystem that maximizes the form factor and services based on the situation, role, and task of the employee. This means more emphasis on how to manage and utilize the ecosystem, and having a clear plan in place for areas such as BYOD and information/data governance for mobile devices.

Prosumers

Since the iPhone first entered the consumer scene, enterprises have been flocking to adopt consumer devices in droves. Enterprises once had the coolest technology in the market, with consumers using devices in a lower price range. The iPhone flipped the trend and caused enterprises to begin buying third-party tools and services to help adopt traditional consumer technology in greater amounts. This trend will continue in 2013 to a greater degree, as more millennials join enterprises and bring their technology with them.

Traditional enterprise vendors are becoming more influenced by consumer trends, and technologies that work in the marketplace are quickly being built to run inside the enterprise. As traditional IT services move to the cloud, greater numbers of employees will work collaboratively around the world. The prosumer trend means focusing more on how consumers are adopting and using technology as a way to anticipate how enterprise teams will eventually be leveraging the same set of tools. Nimble, agile enterprise solutions that enable ideation and thought leadership to flow freely throughout the enterprise and create richer dialogue with consumers to establish greater brand loyalty means porous boundaries between the executive, the employee, and the consumer.

Focusing on building a system to support multiple layers of transparency is critical. Having the policies and planning in place to handle technologies that create a more blended organization will help lessen the pressure groups place on the IT organization, and enable organizations to adapt a new set of best practices that embrace the best IT has to offer.

Services vs. apps

With the rise of the iPhone and Android platforms, apps enabled devices to act as a Swiss army knife, linking millions of people to their online workspaces. However, as the use of apps increased, so did the number of complications—from platform compatibility to maintenance and obsolesce based on upgrades or feature changes.

With more cloud-enabled services, enterprises are looking for ways to avoid building apps and instead build functions and services that can be reused as much as possible. Ideally, this would be done without building  apps in silos that have to be individually maintained and managed. Though HTML5 has a ways to go before being all things to all devices, it’s certainly the space enterprises are heading—and a SaaS-based mindset is where enterprises want to be.

Though SOA/SaaS are not new topics to the enterprise, extending them out to mobile devices and tablets instead of building apps to enable functions is something every enterprise should consider in 2013. Mobile enterprise application platforms, along with mobile consumer application platforms, have a handful of benefits. But having to manage a third-party platform, with specific training and development expertise, is still not as compelling as a fully implemented SaaS strategy that partners with cloud services.

Identity management

From identity theft to enterprise identity authentication, identity management is going to continue to be a hot topic in 2013. Microsoft has made significant strides moving its identity management services into the cloud, and more and more identity information is now being stored there–from Facebook to Mint.com. However, questions still exist around how secure is secure enough when it comes to off-premise identity management. Enterprises are also weighing the benefits of having a single place tying in an employee’s credentials for on-premise applications along with SaaS-based applications compared to hosting the keys to the enterprise in an off-site location managed by a third-party.

Identity management is going to be a major factor as companies consider what can go into the cloud first, what should stay on-premise, or what should be hosted as a service in a hybrid cloud configuration. Having a clear idea of how it all plays into a cloud roadmap will be critical to leveraging the right services in the right places.

Internet of things

The majority of cellphone users in the US are using a smartphone. With more and more tablets, watches, and other widgets getting 3/4G connectivity, the next question for carriers is where else can data plans be sold? Furthermore, with Over-the-Top (OTT) services cutting into data and minute plans, and more and more cellphone traffic being transmitted via Wi-Fi over mobile phones, there is a scramble to outfit everything from soda machines to ATMs with data plans that leverage M2M pipelines. These are the same pipelines that larger enterprises use to monitor stationary hardware such as HVAC machines and oil pipelines in remote areas.

However, with 2G networks being phased down as 4G/LTE becomes more prevalent, there will be a focus on not only upgrading existing M2M plans to new networks, but also getting more devices connected. In 2013, we’ll see a big effort by carriers to focus on connecting more stationary devices via cellular networks as a way to manage everything from supply chain logistics to building management. This will create incentives and expand new networks beyond just mobile devices and tablets, as well as create media buzz.

The heterogeneous cloud

While cloud technology made major advances in 2012, in 2013 we’ll see a more heterogeneous mix of services being migrated. From Infrastructure-As-A-Service to Security-As-A-Service, more services enterprises have come to rely on will have competitive cloud offerings to help manage the back office more effectively.

The easy-to-migrate services most companies are consider moving will have already had planning put around them. So the next round of off/on premise discussions will take place as cloud vendors mature, and become a better augmentation for services currently run entirely on-premise. With Amazon increasing its enterprise offerings, services such as SalesForce growing into new domains, and Microsoft integrating more of its desktop and mobile services with the cloud, 2013 will be a maturity year for cloud–going from an augmentation and/or niche to a true enterprise utility.

Predictive analytics and useful Big Data

In 2012, many companies wondered what to do with the information they gleaned from Big Data. With services in the Big Data space becoming more accessible to companies around the world, and the services themselves maturing with their new found fame, more practical ways to leverage the technology are just around the corner.

In 2013, areas such as predictive analytics will become buzz words that rely on Big Data services. These areas will also have a practical angle that will produce better results and remove the question marks in enterprise IT leaders heads around what to do with Big Data. There’s no doubt that Business Intelligence groups will continue to harness the power of Big Data to develop more robust reporting. But having clear value-adds around predictive analytics coming from crunching large amounts of data will create a clear cost benefit towards bringing on data scientists and high priced infrastructure, and begin to migrate Big Data as a hyped buzzword to a critical part of every enterprise IT organization.

DIY and the future of manufacturing

In 2012, 3D printing went from a hobby to a serious conversation in the IT hardware space. Possibilities were considered that ranged from printing replacement parts that were once sold by companies to mass production of gun parts that were once controlled by strictly enforced gun laws.

With the strong growth of Arduino communities in partnership with 3D printing, the DIY movement is picking up steam in a big way. Though it’s still a couple years from truly being disruptive, it’s worth considering now how to leverage this momentum. The lower-cost of consumer grade technologies versus commercial-grade fabrication equipment will mean quicker prototyping and innovating in smaller groups within an R&D-focused department. Furthermore, capitalizing on how to create new business models from the diffusion of rapid prototyping, both on a software and hardware side, means new possibilities the likes of which enterprises haven’t experienced in some time.

Is Your Company Ready?

With these technologies entering the enterprise arena in 2013, it’s important to be prepared to have conversations around how your company can take advantage of the capabilities they will offer. Many of these technologies are built on platforms and services that already exist inside enterprises. Having a clear strategy on what makes sense to adopt, and how your company can begin adapting to what’s coming soon is critical. Technologies often shift rapidly and leave little time to built a plan before adoption begins on it’s own.

Slalom Consulting has expertise working with companies in areas such as dealing with legacy constraints when moving forward, social media analytics, and mobile adoption strategies. Our key practices often work together to provide comprehensive solutions for our client’s most strategic initiatives. Contact us today to learn more about how Slalom can help your company take advantage of technology trends in 2013.


About Daniel Maycock
Driven & passionate IT thought leader with several years experience working with companies to help solve their most difficult technology issues. Focus is around successful adoption of emerging technologies, such as Mobile & Cloud technologies, and providing the tools & expertise to help companies successfully adopt these technologies where they make the most business sense.

5 Responses to Tech Trends for 2013

  1. Pingback: Building The Expo | Tech Trends for 2013 | Building The Expo

  2. I’m looking forward to know about the heterogeneous cloud. Is it a mix of different services like PaaS, SaaS, IaaS or is it something different?

  3. Pingback: ITKAN Introduction to Big Data | nAblement

  4. Pingback: IT KAN Continued Discussion of Big Data | nAblement

  5. Pingback: ITKAN Big Data Workshop | nAblement

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