After in-depth research, the common wisdom is to put predictions aside when indicating information technology (IT) trends for 2012. Specifically, when you are evaluating tendencies in the market it probably has more meaning, and is concise, if you analyze trends industry by industry. Because IT is so critical to a firm’s performance, let’s start there. InformationWeek, a leading IT industry professional journal has done some impressive “homework” in this area. For example, InformationWeek’s research team generated hard data about what’s up (Analytics) and down (Windows Mobile) in 2012.
InformationWeek advises that you analyze your peers’ IT plans. What are they doing? God forbid, but maybe they are using a strategy, tool or personnel that you didn’t consider. If so, shame on you!
Furthermore, InformationWeek recommends that you take notice when;
- A trending survey shows a 10% or 20% year-over-year swing.
- A much-hyped tech firm barely manages to squeak up five points in 12 or 18 months.
If you’re sick of experts at the end-of-the-year that provide their outlook backed up by nothing but speculation, then by all means take a look at the following IT trends–and you’ll notice that InformationWeek research backs their reported trends with actual hard data.
- Not all IT budget news is bleak – 2012 Outlook survey reports that 18% of those polled claim their budgets will increase by more than 10%…and just 6% state they’ll be hit with a decrease of the same amount. However, the largest section representing 28% of those sampled, see flat budgets on the horizon. It’s going to be a long, slow recovery, kids…so buckle in for the ride and pack a lunch.
- Cloud services on the rise for disaster recovery – In 2010, 34% of IT professionals reported they were using or considering cloud-based services as part of their business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) strategies. In 2011, that number climbed to 43%. The biggest reason not to do DR in a cloud environment remains security, respondents claim. Those voicing this concern continue to become more prevalent, despite all the efforts vendors are making to sooth concerns.
- It’s been a banner year for data analytics – For the first time, less than half of those surveyed report data quality problems as the biggest barrier to the implementation of business intelligence (BI) analytics. However, 46% claim quality is still the leading concern…followed closely by the emphasis on ease-of-use in the face of complex analytics packages. This would seem to indicate that there will be a trend toward bridging the gap between the complexity of tech applications and the user-friendly nature of these tools.
- Cloud progress will slow down a bit in 2012 – The cloud survey found 60% more IT firms report using cloud services. This finding represents 31% versus 18% the previous year. In 2011, there was a meager two-point gain, with 33% of those surveyed claiming that they’re using cloud services. The easy stuff has been done. Integration challenges and security concerns are as real as they ever were.
- Windows 8 Server prospects are good. Windows Mobile…not so much – Currently, 63% of IT professionals claim that Windows 8 will run on at least 50% of available servers. Only 30% of respondents maintain they’ll run the phone/tablet version on a fraction of devices. Many experts are surprised the findings are that high.
- The year of unified communications…not quite yet – Unified communications (UC) defined? UC are integrated services such as instant messaging, video conferencing and internet protocol television (IPTV). Now that you have a perspective to the findings, today as was the case two years ago, other projects just have a higher priority. It’s been a long, slow slog for UC. That number has now risen to 36%.
- IT’s predominate attitude toward tablets has flipped 180 degrees – In the past three years, IT pros have been asked whether tablets would be a “non-event.” In 2010, some of you were convinced that the popularity of tablets would be. In 2011, many of you still thought this would be the case. Finally, for 2012, IT pros are somewhat disagreeing with the “non-event” statement, though some still are “on the fence” as to whether tablets will be the chosen tool of road warriors and whether adequate support will be available. Hey, no one wants tech without support. What’s the “common wisdom” say? Tablets will be popular, there will be tech support, and there will be pretty substantial numbers during the next few years that will be buying this cutting-edge tech.
- Server memory configurations are way up – Remarkably little changed in an annual “State of Servers” survey…except when it came to memory configurations. The survey showed a 50% increase in the number of servers configured with 33 GB to 64 GB of memory, and a whopping 100% increase in the number of boxes configured with 65 GB to 128 GB. No wonder users revolted against VMware’s 2011 move to price its software based on server memory used.
- IT no longer leads the charge to monitor social networking – In 2010, 44% of people surveyed claimed IT was on the hook for monitoring activity on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. In 2012, just 32% of respondents will be doing the monitoring. That 12 point drop is offset by a 13 point increase in the number of respondents who report that their marketing departments now take the lead in monitoring these sites. What’s the good news? Only 25% report that their companies have no formal plans for monitoring social networking; that percentage was 43% back in 2010.
- You’re serious about server “virtualization” – If you don’t plan to “virtualize” the majority of your servers by the end of 2012, you’ll be firmly in the minority. The largest growth came in those respondents who say they’ll “virtualize” 75% to 90% of servers. Just 13% planned to do that back in 2010. This year, the number almost doubled to 25% providing evidence to support this trend. Server consolidation was the determining factor by far when it came to “virtualization” efforts in 2010. This trend is tied to a firm’s desire for high availability, better disaster recovery, and improved flexibility and agility.