Hopefully you have allocated a portion of your 2012 budget to technology, whether it is to become more mobile, move to the cloud or modernize some of your older legacy systems. Phil Garland, of PricewaterhouseCoopers US CIO Advisory Services, says, “Many, or most, of the investments for 2012 are focused on either gaining agility or pushing innovation, cost reduction is still big, but there’s an even greater emphasis on the other two.”
Where did you commit your precious tech dollars to?
The gambit of new and innovative products and applications now available for organizations of all sizes can streamline, transform or even eliminate some internal processes. Information technology can also be leveraged to improve customer engagement and drive revenue. This trend will be driven by your personal experiences with mobile devices, social networks and applications. Your eyes should now be open to the endless possibilities for your business. Are you familiar with your day to day business processes, are operations conducted in the most cost effective and efficient manner? Determine where wastefulness exists and look to technology to assist in differentiating your business and adding value to your unique brand.
“The cloud” got a lot of attention in 2011 and this will continue into 2012. Businesses large and small should investigate migrating some, if not all, of their services to a cloud solution. By avoiding capital expenditure and infrastructure costs, clouding computing, created with economy of scale in mind and as a “pay as you go” model, will run your applications as a service shifting the burden of technology management to experts in the field, leaving you time to do what you do best – run your business. People want to be connected everywhere they are. This poses new risks and will necessitate spending some of your budget on information security. You must be in control of your data: protect it in transit, control access and prepare for the worse. A cloud service provider should have a proven track record and extensive experience with managing customer information. The solution should offer efficient and rapid data storage and restore, be it a single file or a whole site. Insure your cloud service provider provides not only encryption but strict policies and procedures in the event of physical intrusions and acts of nature. Your vendor should make the security of your data and your ability to access and utilize it, their highest priority. When was the last time you tested your business continuity plan? A cloud solution gives you an offsite copy of your data, helping you meet disaster recovery requirements at a fraction of the cost.
Consumerization of IT continues: 2011 brought us BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), web applications and enterprise data on tablets and smartphones. Forrester Research Inc. predicts that e-commerce sales will reach $279 billion by 2015 up from $176 billion in 2010. Businesses need to understand how effective their various marketing strategies are. Are your customers reaching you from your website, newspaper and television advertisements, Facebook or Google searches? Is your website design working? Your business needs to track who is on your site, how long did they stay, click through rates, steps to make a purchase and even abandoned transactions. Do you have the right content to spark add on sales? First and foremost you need to know your customer’s web experience to insure it portrays what you envision.
A demand for information technology innovation will abound in 2012. Foster innovation through openness and collaboration between all departments encouraging creative out of the box thinking and appropriate risk-taking. Allow your workforce leverage in flexibility and creativity to harness the ever increasing power of consumer technology.