Assessing the Business Benefits of New Technology
In addition to exploring the market-based factors in the adoption of emerging technology, one of the key features of our Emerging Technology study year after year is the attention we pay to the business benefits that are driving interest in and deployments of the latest and greatest in IT. Whatever the economic conditions, your organization is probably pursuing all three goals of profitability, versatility and growth--at least for different initiatives--and our survey can show you pretty clearly which new technologies are likely to be best for achieving each of these goals.
This is especially true of the more-established technologies we asked survey respondents about (those that are relatively new, but not new enough to call "emerging"). For example, you might not associate an application infrastructure technology such as service-oriented architecture (SOA) with business growth. But it seems that in the era of distributed computing, big data and mobile applications, the interoperability that SOA provides means opportunities for the initiatives running on them. More respondents cited this as promoting business growth than any other of the more-established technologies we asked about.
Using the study, we also get a real understanding of what's driving certain technologies in today's business climate. Cost savings are a particular benefit organizations have experienced from storage virtualization, cloud-based storage, and desktop Linux; but for storage virtualization and Linux at least, the benefit is definitely not business growth.
Neither is it business versatility, a benefit closely related to cost-savings. Business versatility has risen in importance recently as companies understand that the ability to react quickly to market conditions and opportunities is one of the chief protections they have against business risk. Here is where smartphones, in particular, show promise. And to understand the adoption of esoteric technological areas such as enterprise search or grid computing, look to the need for business versatility.
After all, the reasons for technological progress are benefits-based. We didn't jump on tablets because the iPad happened to have a particular feature set, any more than we jumped on virtualization because VMware's ESX Server 3.0 had achieved a particular performance level. Both tablets and virtualization had been around for years. What made these emergent was the swiftness of the market's reaction, once it began in earnest, to the alignment of these technologies with broadly held business needs.
So it's not surprising to see that tablets are recognized as helping with all three major business goals today. This is what is making them such a hotly developing area of IT. This "cure-all" image is driving UC and private clouds as well. But, inversely, you might find real benefits even from technologies that are considered niche (at least for now). Some examples include video VoIP if you seek more flexibility in your operations or service offerings, or user self-service if you want to manage IT costs. Our detailed and comprehensive approach to emerging technology aims to help you understand and justify the most visible trends, as well as to help you identify the hidden gems.
About the Author
Guy Currier is Senior Editor/Research for CIO Insight. He can be reached at Guy.Currier@cioinsight.com.