IT priorities for 2012
The first US IT Priorities report can be taken as a generalization for global ITbased setups. There have been a number of major shifts in IT priorities observed in 2012. For instance, improving business processes and efficiency and improving productivity using new technologies are among the top priorities for companies in 2012, while meeting customer or partner expectations has fallen down the list. This has been explained by an industry player who says that the shifting priorities were to equip companies to better engage customers in the future and not the opposite.
The report helps in observing trends and surveys the underlying agenda of the companies. The top priorities for companies were found to be improving business processes and efficiency; reduction in overall IT costs; aligning IT priorities with business growth; and improving productivity through new technologies. Retail has also has been found a priority industry in which forging relationships with customers and investing in technology for better customer connectivity has become very important. According to one industry representative, “We are trying to move technology aggressively to uncover findings about our customers and benchmark it against best practices so that it will improve customer relations.”
For making the systems more robust, investment in next- generation technology, such as cloud computing, is also a priority area. This is because people today look at the value of what IT brings and whether it can provide transparency. It is believed that once the architecture and infrastructure are in place, value can be brought to customers.
A great positive impact from cloud tools has been improving Data Mining and Business Intelligence for decision support. A large part of the problem related with data mining and business intelligence capabilities is the amount of computing resources that these activities require. They usually involve complex queries that can tax a system and cause problems for everyone. Cloud offers several ways to reduce this impact:
First, companies can adopt cloud servers, whether public or private, for data mining. They would spin up a server, run whatever data processing job is required, fetch the results and bring the server down, greatly reducing the investment in infrastructure.
Second, companies can leverage the available big data processing tools - anyone of the several Map Reduce frameworks out there - to process their own data, regardless of volume or size. Once again, this could bring down costs while improving responsiveness.
Moreover, the area of IT training is also considered a top technology priority for companies in Southeast Asia, India and Australia. IT training has proved to be important to drive staff engagement, although the approach to training in today’s “new world” had to be different from the past. For example, creating thick training materials and getting employees to attend “rote” training sessions that fail to equip them adequately do not work anymore. This is because most people getting hired by IT companies have grown up on video games and e- learning, and not thick software manuals.
To provide complete enhancement, instilling business skills into employees to turn them into best IT professionals is also seen as a priority, because a combination of technical skills and keen business sense is what is driving the IT companies of today. As one analysis says, “Business people have become more IT- savvy and everyone is now an IT expert. As such, IT folks must realize and understand business as well.”