2013 review

Top 10: The top business application articles of 2013

Cliff Saran

The so-called IT megatrends of social, cloud, analytics and mobile have influenced the types of applications organisations are deploying.

Gartner calls it the nexus of forces; this is the integration of social, cloud, analytics and mobile to derive new business value. It is what CEOs believe will enable them to deliver major growth in the coming years as the economy starts to recover. 

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For instance, Jeff Immelt, the IT savvy CEO of GE, used an event in Battersea Power Station this year to show GE’s customers his vision of a sensor network, that would enable companies to monitor turbines and engines in a way that has never been possible before, to increase availability of machine parts through predictive maintenance.

Many organisations are thinking about what the internet of things means to them. British Gas, for instance, launched its Connected Homes service, which provides internet-controlled central heating.

Software licensing is an on-going issue for IT departments. As software firms move from perpetual licensing to subscription models, IT departments are finding costs escalating. Adobe’s Creative Cloud scheme, for Instance, was attracted for its high costs and inflexibility.

1. Can IT survive digitisation?

The role and operations of IT are set to change, as departments build up their own IT expertise. Businesses are looking to derive value through digitisation, where they become providers of digitally enabled services driven by contextual data. The technology elements of this are too important to be left to an IT department according to Forrester CEO George Colony.

2. GE creates partnership to build industrial internet

GE has built an industrial internet platform using Amazon Web Services (AWS) to process real-time data from machines. The company has developed a system and a service using Hadoop-based software for high-volume machine data management. The platform will be used for predictive maintenance on jet engines and healthcare systems.

3. Buyer beware: Millions lost from rip-off software licences

Software buyers are vulnerable to exploitation due to the demise of traditional user groups combined with aggressive sales targets. In an attempt to redress the balance, IT asset management (ITAM) specialist Martin Thompson has launched the Campaign for Clear Licensingto give users an independent voice against rogue contracts and the confusing terminology used in software licences.

4. Using software to support your firm’s creative stock

Organisations may already have the blueprint for their next big thing without knowing it. How can human capital management systems unlock the company’s most valuable assets?

5, Irish Life migrates mainframe workload onto Windows

Insurer Irish Life has migrated 97% of its mainframe workload on to a Windows server environment to save costs and help expand its business. Irish Life has used an IBM mainframe for 40 years but found that overnight batch processing was taking too long.

6. CW500: Internet of things to pose 'huge security and privacy risks'

The emergence of the internet of things will expose businesses and individuals to security risks of unimaginable scale. By 2020, trillions of sensors will be feeding data across the internet, recording everything from people’s movements to what they have just bought.

7. A business case for games play at work

We investigate the psychology behind games play and why businesses should be adopting gamification. Gameplay is hardwired into our DNA, from how we attract a mate to winning a race. "Gamification is about taking the essence of games and applying it to real business purpose," says Will Grobel, a manager in marketing insight at Deloitte Consulting.

8. The IT industry must come clean on software licensing

Businesses are accused of software piracy if there is a licence shortfall, but software companies are making it difficult for IT departments to buy legitimate software. IT directors have told Computer Weeklythere is a lack of direction or guidelines from software publishers to enable buyers to track software compliance. Suppliers are unable to give users a clear answer as to how many licences they require.

9. Executive interview: Andrew Brem, Connected Homes, British Gas

We speak to British Gas about its strategy to develop technology to help people monitor and control their energy usage. Creation of the Connected Homes business unit at British Gas was a strategic decision. The people who design the product sit next to the people who write the code. 

10. IBM interns join ShopDirect to combine gamification and Twitter analysis

ShopDirect group (SDG) worked with a group of interns who spent the summer with IBM on a project to look at using gamification to engage with customers. The team of IT and management undergraduates, worked on a 12-week project, which enabled ShopDirect to assess how a fantasy football-style game, linked to Twitter, could improve customer engagement.


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