Innovation out of recession: what’s ahead in 2011

The technology sector has played a leading role in recovery from the downturn and IT departments will have to get to grips with being the brokers of IT services, writes Mark Settle, CIO of BMC Software.

Many technology suppliers are experiencing strong growth in both revenues and margins, while the allure of cloud computing has created an aggressive environment with suppliers making major investments in IT infrastructure, offered as on-demand, variably-priced services.

In 2011 most IT shops will realise the need to deal with a wider variety of service providers and, to some extent, lose control of their technology blueprints in leveraging the ever-expanding catalogue of software, infrastructure and support services that is emerging in the market. Companies will need to address the importance of aligning new offerings in IT with the business, as IT shops increasingly become brokers for services procured from a variety of sources.

In 2011 there are four trends that will reshape IT's conventional command and control approach to designing, building and operating business systems, leading to increased innovation in a post-recession era.


The use of personal mobile devices for business is rapidly expanding. Employees are building their own customised productivity environments' by piecing together a network of devices and services; accessing e-mail, SharePoint and other internal services. With up to 10,000 applications being released by iPhone and Android developers each month, IT shops are fighting a losing battle trying to restrict the use of these new mobile tools. In 2011, we will see IT attempt to regain control of its mobile assets amid increasing risks for security, compliance and compatibility.

Cloud and Virtualisation

Interest in cloud computing this coming year will no longer be a simple question of what the cloud offers but how to deploy it as companies introduce a mix of SaaS, virtualisation technologies and public cloud providers into their infrastructures. 2011 will see companies get smarter with IT financing and utilisation levels in order to justify additional capacity procurement.

However, enterprises will not immediately accept the cloud. Business departments will resist the loss of asset ownership, network teams will face less visibility and storage must upscale to provision infrastructure. Service delivery times will shrink rapidly and it is likely IT will feel pressure from the business to deliver against increasingly demanding service level agreements.

Collaboration Technology

Collaboration technologies will continue to gain popularity in 2011 as businesses look to technology to help them engage with a wider range of stakeholders and audiences. To ensure these platforms deliver, comprehensive management must be implemented. If not, unmonitored usage levels, minimal business gain and spiralling costs could contribute to the downfall of collaboration technology.

Information Security

As businesses become increasingly data-dependent and interconnected, the potential threat and impact of security breaches will be higher than ever. Despite increases in security spending IT executives are struggling to establish effective risk-management strategies, and in 2011 we will see an even greater dependence on third-party services to plug the holes in companies' security infrastructures.

These four priorities will see big companies pay premium prices for strategic acquisitions in growth markets such as cloud computing. Hopefully venture capital spending on technology start-ups will return to pre-recession levels - investments that could unlock the flood gates of post-recession innovation and acquisition in 2011.

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