Andrew Carr, sales and marketing director for Bull UK & Ireland, looks at how user needs are reshaping the IT landscape.
Having been ‘pushed’ by technology since the 1970s, innovation is now being ‘pulled’ by usage. What counts now are users’ needs - and technology’s role is to meet these in a simple, secure and effective way.
Four major trends are emerging for 2012 that are likely also to be key facets of the digital revolution over the coming years. Taken together, these will have consequences for the information systems used by public and private sector businesses. Increasingly, they are likely to have a profound impact on the role of the IT department within these organisations.
The first key development is the ongoing explosion in processing needs. Between the origins of man and 2003, around five exabytes of information were created. Today, we produce that in two days. By 2013, 1,000 billion devices will be connected to the Internet, and the resulting traffic will increase nine-fold, putting pressure on hardware systems to deliver vast processing power and to prove their total reliability.
Second, we are seeing a transition to as a service delivery. In a constantly evolving IT environment, most users are focused above all on accessing the most appropriate tools for their needs rather than owning them. In other words, they want to subscribe to a made-to-measure, configurable service, instead of having to conform to the constraints of a nonflexible system.
The third trend is the growth of business computing. Now that users have more say in the choice of tools, functionality and ergonomy, they also have an expanded role in information systems governance. As analyst, Forrester, sums up, the challenge of new technologies will now be to create value for the business. Users will expect their computing tools to mimic their working habits and usage, and to deliver real operational added value.
Finally, we are witnessing a growing focus on security. If today’s users are to fully adopt technology, it has to inspire their trust, which is why security is now the number one concern when it comes to all digital solutions. Equally, the more value inherent in information assets, the more costly any damage to them becomes.
These developments are fundamentally changing the way IT services are delivered and consumed and they are redefining the role of IT departments and the scope of their interventions. Some tasks that have previously weighed them down are being removed – either upstream, to suppliers of outsourcing or cloud services, or downstream to users – but they remain the indispensable guarantors of the security, coherence and sustainability of information systems.
The IT department will also remain the main source of ideas when it comes to using emerging technologies to tackle challenges of business innovation, operational excellence, customer relationship and risk management, and regulatory compliance. To do this, it has to rely on partners who can support it with both the technological and business aspects. And this, in turn, offers great opportunities for technology providers who have both technical expertise in IT infrastructures and an in-depth understanding of end-user challenges.