IT supplier predictions for 2014, including Bring your own wearables

I have received some predictions for the IT sector in 2014. I asked for predictions in a blog just before Christmas and here are a few I received.

They come from Steve Browell, CTO at Intrinsic Technology, Tim Patrick-Smith, CIO at IT services provider Getronics and Lori Williams, European general manager at cloud services provider Appirio. If you have any predictions please send them and I will publish them.

Steve Browell, CTO at Intrinsic Technology

Smart Organisations

2013 saw the Government launch its Smart Cities initiative, which aims to improve the everyday lives of citizens through smart technology. However, as the UK slowly begins to creep towards economic recovery, 2014 will also herald in the era of the smart organisation. We will see businesses receive support and guidance from the Government on using IT to drive innovation, agility and growth, as businesses become the next technology initiative in the Government’s ‘Smart’ campaign. Whether through the use of mobile device management to empower a more mobile workforce that can use whatever devices it chooses, or intelligent analytics to provide real-time feedback to enable businesses to be more agile, smart organisations will come to the fore and need recognition. With technology spend now transcending the boundaries of the IT department, 2014 will bring a dramatic shift in employee understanding of how IT can drive business change. Smart Organisations will accelerate the pace of change. Smart Organisations are where the new generation want to work.

Bring-your-own-Wearables (BYOW)

We’ve seen the BYOD phenomenon sweep across organisations of all sizes over the past few years. Expect to see employees bring their own wearable technology in 2014. We will see more use of smart watches and fitness wristbands in the office to boost employee wellbeing and productivity. Adoption will likely increase as organisations realise the staff engagement benefits attached to these devices. As the size of the mobile workforce continues to balloon, wearable devices will deliver new levels of flexibility and keep colleagues connected regardless of location. The provision of collaborative tools and consumer-grade gadgets will become a key differentiator for organisations looking to attract and retain the best talent in 2014.

Hybrid cloud gets real

Perceptions of hybrid as the most sensible deployment model will shift dramatically as a mix of public, private and on-premise IT becomes a real destination for many organisations. 2014 will see increased investment in hybrid as businesses realise that security, control and performance related to public cloud are highly manageable risks and not reasons to not act. Tech-savvy users have already worked this out and have devised personal cloud solutions that leverage local and cloud based applications and data. Corporate IT needs to work this way too. Growth in cloud brokerage technologies and services will continue to rise as organisations look for guidance on solving challenges around interoperability and integration.

Shadow IT

Tech-savvy employees are bringing in a range of different devices and services thick and fast. Next year will see CIOs move from being cautious to accepting, realising the productivity benefits. The IT department will become more collaborative with the wider organisation, seeking regular feedback on devices and services being used to ensure any risks are mitigated and consistent policies are set out. Corporate IT needs to enhance the way it delivers applications and data to provide a flexible workspace for users that is truly device agnostic. Managing that workspace will become paramount so that corporate IT remains agile and the organisation keeps its competitive edge. Understanding the drivers behind employees deploying shadow IT will also help inform better decisions on tech investment.

Unified Communications

For those organisations seeking to become more agile, UC will become a necessity in 2014 – traditional email and phone comms simply won’t cut the mustard. Employees are more technically savvy than ever before, so it’s the job of the IT department to reduce the complexity of traditional systems and deliver efficient and collaborative ways of working. Staff need to know if a colleague is online, and they need to be able to send them a quick message, or click to call, or click to change the meeting to a video call, and then easily collaborate and bring others into impromptu and planned group meetings. When all this is at an organisation’s fingertips then quick decisions can be made and market opportunities exploited. We will also see smart organisations utilise UC both on-premise and through cloud services to boost their customer service ratings across all touchpoints – voice, video, email and social, and to allow all the UC functionality to be available to all staff, wherever they are and regardless of the device they have chosen to use.

Tim Patrick-Smith, CIO at ICT services provider Getronics:

Mobile device management (MDM) becomes workspace management

IT departments will have to learn to cope with end users bringing their personal area networks (PANs) to work with them, as BYOD continues to gain speed. With this in mind, MDM will expand in to the more general workspace management role with solutions aimed at enrolling, managing and securing all of these different end points. Understanding the workplace as a whole rather than as a series of end points will be key to managing IT environments in this internet of everything world.

Increased investment in data security

In the wake of the PRISM scandal, demand for greater transparency in communications will place a burden on maintaining confidentiality and ownership of corporate data. Data security will become increasingly valuable to global business. Therefore, a key trend for next year has to be developments in digital rights management and the capability to protect and secure what can be done with data and documents even whilst outside the direct control of the organisation.

Getting the house in order to reap cloud benefits

Businesses have been looking to reduce costs through virtualisation of their IT systems and the migration of these systems to hosted cloud services. However many of the savings and efficiencies that will stem from this “cloud revolution” have yet to be achieved because they require changes in the core business processes themselves. The cloud merely provides the technology on which these process changes can be delivered to a modern business organisation. The redevelopment of business processes into aggregated and orchestrated cloud processes will be a key development throughout 2014 and beyond.

Lori Williams, European General Manager at cloud services provider Appirio:

Crowdsourcing goes mainstream

The past few years have seen early adopters use the power of the crowd to fuel growth and innovation. 2014 will see crowdsourcing move from niche to mainstream. We will start to see even cautious sectors, such as financial services, experimenting to find the best technical solutions to their business problems. Crowdsourcing will become a key consideration for organisations wanting to move quickly and maintain their competitive edge, and will also revolutionise how we approach talent management. Harnessing an online community gives businesses quick access to on-demand expertise and a wide range of skills they may not be fortunate enough to have within their own organisation. For developers specifically, the crowd is a great way of honing skills as well as marketing themselves to prospective employers.

Employee Engagement driving IT Investments

The way that employees, managers and executives are being serviced today is completely different; they’re now provided with information w herever and whenever they need it. As a result, we’ll see organisations drive higher productivity and employee satisfaction by using tools from 2013, not 1993. The focus will be on providing content and data through tools and applications that allow employees to be more connected internally, while also providing them with more direct feedback from customers and peers to provide context on how their job impacts the wider business.