Tech Trends 2011: Business & IT Converge

The next 18 months will be pivotal for widespread adoption of technologies.

May 24, 2011

Ten “re-emerging enablers” and “disruptive deployments” will play a crucial role in how businesses operate over the next 18 months, according to a report by Deloitte.

“Tech Trends 2011: The Natural Convergence of Business and IT” outlines five technologies many chief information officers (CIO) have embraced in the past (re-emerging enablers) and five “disruptive deployments” that showcase new business models and transformative ways to operate.

The re-emerging enablers:

1. Almost-enterprise applications

Quick and agile solutions like the cloud and software- and platform-as-a-service (SaaS, PaaS) appeal to the business end. But are they “enterprise enough” for information technology (IT)?

Many business leaders embrace such “almost-enterprise” applications, and CIOs should get in front of this democratization and self-service trend.

2. CIOs as revolutionaries

With the cloud, social computing, and mobility shaking up business models and transforming how business is done, the technology agenda should be considered as tantamount to the business agenda—and CIOs are the executives positioned to pull them into alignment.

 3. Cyber intelligence

While it still may be necessary to build a rapid detect-and-respond cyber security function, organizations should consider going beyond adding tools to learn and adapt, protect against upstream threats, and connect the internal and external dots to assess probable risks.

In the process, they’ll move from reactive to proactive.

4. ERP abides

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) can be an enabler of tomorrow’s innovations, not a fading footnote of yesterday’s legacy.

Organizations are still able to tap ERP applications to transform processes with reduced risk—at a lower cost and at a quicker pace.

5. Visualization

Visualization deserves a fresh look given the evolution of the underlying tools and the rich potential represented by unstructured data.

It can provide a new way to tap into millions of internal e-mails, instant messages, and documents, as well as trillions of social media objects, tweets, text messages, blogs, and other content of potential concern or opportunity.

Next: Disruptive deployments

The disruptive deployments:

1. Applied mobility

New mobile solutions are being designed to serve the full spectrum of transactional, analytical, and social computing capabilities, and allow organizations to define real and lasting value in applied mobility solutions and business enablement.

This could be the year that businesses will truly begin harnessing these features into rich, yet simple and intuitive applications to solve real business problems.

2. Capability clouds

Capability clouds have the potential to move beyond the building blocks of capacity clouds to deliver finished services that can address business objectives and enterprise goals.

CIOs should be prepared to answer how they leverage the ecosystem of capabilities, services, and value networks delivered by the cloud.

3. Real analytics

As the economy resets, analytics can offer improved visibility to help companies drive operational efficiencies.

Analytics can also offer an opportunity for growth by helping companies address heart-of-the-business questions that can guide decisions, yield new insights, and help predict what’s next.

4. Social computing

As more of our personal and professional lives are transacted via technology, rich trails of preferences, opinions, and behaviors are being created.

Beyond the immediate benefits of empowering stakeholders, this “digital exhaust” can be mined, providing a rich source of insight on market positioning.

5. User engagement

The proliferation of consumer and Internet technologies has raised expectations for IT tools at work. They can empower employees to find new insights and improve how business occurs.

Enterprises should seek to learn and understand how to turn newly connected consumers into new revenue channels and identify ways they can empower employees to better connect the dots and improve efficiency and effectiveness.

“The next 18 months will be pivotal for widespread adoption of technologies such as cloud, social computing, analytics, and mobile technologies,” says Bill Briggs, director of Deloitte Consulting LLP and co-author of the report. “Whether they’re re-emerging enablers that are already somewhat at play at large among enterprises or disruptive deployments that offer new, transformative ways for organizations to operate, CIOs should keep ahead of these trends to help generate top returns not just of IT, but the business of the business.”

View a full copy of the report here.