Personal clouds, the Internet of things and social collaboration are among the tech trends that will significantly impact the enterprise in 2014. Are you ready?
By Samuel Greengard
It's time to pull out the crystal ball and examine some of the tech trends likely to shape the enterprise in 2014. Here are six trends that CIOs should keep an eye on over the coming months:
Personal Clouds Roll Into the Picture. As adoption of mobile technology soars and the consumerization of IT accelerates, workers are embracing a spate of cloud-based applications, including Evernote, Google Apps, Dropbox and Microsoft Office 365, to name a few. As a result, data and content is increasingly available anywhere and at anytime, independent of the user's device.
The Industrial Internet Connects to the Enterprise. For a few years, there's been growing discussion about the Internet of things. Now we're seeing sensors appear in everything from heavy machinery and transportation systems to medical equipment and household devices. In fact, the Internet Business Solutions Group at Cisco predicts that the number of Internet of things-connected devices will hit 25 billion by 2015 and reach 50 billion by 2020. The resulting data is creating new business opportunities.
Social Collaboration Rewires the Corporation. Although most organizations have social listening systems in place and the majority interact with customers via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, many have dabbled but not fully developed social collaboration. Internal systems that allow unfettered communication—and knowledge sharing—are poised to take off in a big way.
The Digital Enterprise Takes Shape. Over the last few years, mobility, social media, cloud computing and big data have fundamentally changed the stakes. In addition, better software and tools have crumpled the inefficiencies of paper and put pixels into focus. Organizations are now finally embracing the digital enterprise. They're integrating channels and building an infrastructure to fully support anywhere, anytime communication, collaboration and interaction across all departments and out to customers.
The Consumerization of Everything Takes Place. The iPhone and iPad introduced consumer-centric devices to the workplace. Now, the consumerization trend extends to Website design and functionality across multiple browsers and devices. It also includes software and app design. In fact, responsive design and usability are at the center of the new IT.
Big Data Initiatives Start to Pay Off. BI and analytics tools are advancing rapidly, and IBM's Watson technology is opening new vistas for understanding complex relationships. In addition, organizations are beginning to connect the dots and understand big data and what it offers. McKinsey & Company reports that an organization's ability to put data to work—including social media feeds and the Internet of things—"will become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth… and innovation."
Like its predecessor, 2014 is shaping up to be an exciting and challenging year for CIOs. Are you ready?
About the Author
Samuel Greengard is a contributing writer for CIO Insight.