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Deloitte discusses Tech Trends 2012. Are you making best use of disruptive technology?

Deloitte has done a good job summarizing some of the fast-moving developments and applications of the latest business technology in their Tech Trends 2012: Elevate IT for digital business. The summary page includes a short video discussion that is worth reviewing before reading the report.

The publication lists and discusses 5 “disruptors” and 5 “enablers”, each of which are interesting topics.

The disruptive technologies are:

  • Social Business
  • Gamification
  • Enterprise Mobility Unleashed
  • User Empowerment
  • Hyper-hybrid Cloud

The enabling technologies are:

  • Big Data
  • Geospatial Visualization
  • Digital Identities
  • Measured Innovation
  • Outside-in Architecture

Here are some of the points that caught my eye:

  • It’s an uncommon, and perhaps even unique, time to have so many emerging forces – all rapidly evolving, technology-centric and each already impacting business so strongly. Whether or not you have previously thought of your business as inherently digital, the convergence of these forces offers a new set of tools, opening the door to a new set of rules for operations, performance and competition. This is an opportunity for IT to truly help elevate business performance.
  • Each of these 2012 trends is relevant today. Each has significant momentum and potential to make an impact. Each warrants timely consideration. Forward-thinking organizations should consider developing an explicit strategy in each area – even if that strategy is to wait and see. But whatever you do, step up. Use the digital forces to your advantage. Don’t get caught unaware or unprepared.
  • Leading enterprises today are applying social technologies like collaboration, communication and content management to social networks – the connected web of people and assets that impact on a given business goal or outcome – amplified by social media from blogs to social networking sites to content communities. Yet it’s more than tools and technology. Businesses are being fundamentally changed as leaders rethink their core processes and capabilities with a social mindset to find new ways to create more value, faster.
  • Millennials joining the workforce are wired to use social and mobile channels to bond, socialize and solve problems. Organizations that lack internal, governed social media and computing channels may find their younger employees using public tools as a well-intentioned, but risky, alternative.
  • Mobility has evolved from an issue within a few niche industries and functions (think oil & gas and logistics services) to a potential source of innovation across wide-ranging vertical industries, processes and business models. And while many of the underlying components have been evolving for decades, the break-out potential is only now being realized.
  • Early experiments in business-to-consumer and early business-to-business scenarios are leading to more compelling, complex applications across the enterprise value chain, making integration, security and manageability more critical.
  • Organizations need policies and tools to authenticate users; control devices, applications and data; provide end-to-end encryption while at rest, in flight and in use; run content filtering and malware protection; and allow security event monitoring, logging and response. Security policies and profiles should be tied to specific users and scenarios, focusing remedies on likely incidents, not the infinite range of risk possibilities.
  • Developing, deploying and supporting mobile solutions is quite a bit different than traditional IT. Doing it well requires a special blend of business insight, deep technical chops and strong design. Companies that recognize this required mix of business, art and science can set themselves apart from their competition and help to reshape entire industries.
  • End users have plenty of opportunities to bypass IT and procure off-the-shelf or low/no-code solutions that are just good enough to meet their needs. Through mobile and desktop application (app) stores, cloud-based marketplaces and rapid development and deployment platforms, business stakeholders are one swipe of the corporate credit card away from procuring rogue “almost-enterprise” applications to fulfill their unmet needs. As a result, CIOs should consider adopting a design-led, user-centric approach to new application development, while also accepting the inevitability of business users directly sourcing apps. BYOA (bring your own application) will likely become part of many organizations’ solution footprints.
  • Whether your organization will shift to cloud services is unlikely to remain an open question. The question now becomes how that shift is likely to happen. Will your approach add complexity to your technology environment – or will it bring elegance and simplicity? The choice is yours.
  • The potential of big data is immense. Remove constraints on the size, type, source and complexity of useful data, and businesses can ask bolder questions. Technology limitations that once required sampling or relied on assumptions to simplify high-density data sets have fallen to the march of technology. Long processing times and dependencies on batch feeds are being replaced by on-demand results and near real-time visibility.
  • Organizations that put big data to work may pursue a huge competitive edge in 2012 – and beyond.
  • These emerging technologies are driving business transformation and bold new applications – sources of both sustaining and disruptive innovations. Social business and enterprise mobility are changing the way business is conducted and, increasingly, allowing new operating and business models to emerge. IT organizations should be educating their business counterparts on the potential of these new technologies – and preparing for the groundswell of demand once the implications are understood.
  • Creating a vision for driving innovation is the often-forgotten third role of CIOs. Beyond running the business of IT and delivering IT to support the needs of the business, CIOs should be leading the charge toward innovation through emerging solutions and technologies.

What does this mean for boards, executives, and risk and assurance professionals? My view:

  1. Does your organization have an organized strategy and plan for adopting and optimizing the use of technology? This applies both to the technology that is selected and the technology that is not selected
  2. Are the CIO and his team working cooperatively with the business? Are priorities shared? Is the business doing its own thing? Is IT a visionary leader, or a reluctant irrelevance?
  3. Are the risk, compliance, control, and information security functions involved early and throughout the strategy-setting and deployment phases? Are risks and controls thought of before or not until after there is a problem?
  4. Are you sure you will not be left behind by a competitor who leverages the new technology better than you?

I welcome your comments and perspectives.

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