IT pri­or­i­ties for 2012

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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.”

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