CSC’s IT-Business Predictions for 2012

by Lem Lasher of CSC

With 2012 now in full swing, it’s already looking to be an exciting year for enterprise IT. As consumer products evolve at the speed of light, the technological line between personal and work continues to blend, and the role of the IT professional continues to evolve. Now more than ever, businesses must adjust to this changing landscape in order to stay on top of the game.

So what does 2012 hold for the world of IT and business? Here are a few things I see happening:

Emergence of advertising inside cloud enterprises – Most of the consumer cloud — from Facebook to Gmail — is paid for by advertising. In 2012, we will see more companies looking to deploy the consumer model inside the enterprise; providing IT at subsidized rates or for free as companies look to reduce their IT costs.

This isn’t a new concept. Anyone in the consumer cloud is already getting ads. However, if companies are not prepared to allow advertisements, they will end up paying a premium for services.

Security concerns will prove to be the biggest barrier to adopting advertising within the enterprise, especially for the public sector. Corporations will want their data protected. Yet as long as security is preserved for the company, many organizations will eventually move to this new model.

Similar to the cable television industry in its early days, most early subscribers did so for one main reason: to watch uninterrupted television with little or no commercials. Now, we all have grown accustomed to watching our favorite cable TV programs full of commercials. The same will happen with the private cloud: its users will eventually become accustomed to advertisements.

This will present an attractive opportunity for advertisers to more precisely target their advertising, but the big winner will be Google who will be able to command premium pricing for such distilled customer segmentation data. The future of data is that it will all be available for a price.

Enterprise data walls come crashing down –Companies have lots of fire-walled data on customer spending, purchases, satisfaction and so forth, but lack apredictive pictureof what clients will buy more of or less of in the future. This year we will continue to seeincreased transparencyfrom companiesas they providemore available information ontheir consumersand employeeswhich, in turn,will allowvendors to do moreresearch and developmore targetedproduct plans.

The extent these walls will come down will vary by constituent segmentation, for whichdiscretionpolicies will have to be developed. Will this affect privacy? Most definitely. But the reality of 2012 and beyond is that consumers must learn to live with less privacy online.

In the past, as consumers, we have given away sensitive information about ourselves (for example, our buying behaviors). Now,businesses too will explore waystosellinformationabout customers and employeeswithout infringing on their privacy rights. It will be a balancing act, for sure, but all parties will be better off for it.

War for data leads to proprietary systems – Technology companies know the gold is in owning and mining the customers’ data, and the trends in this technology development in 2012 will continue the gradual shift from open systems to proprietary systems. This isn’t a new concept, but is continuing to develop in new, unique ways, and will be a permanent shift in the system as companies look for more sophisticated ways to analyze and crunch data.

This is particularly true in the financial sector where companies are creating innovative and increasingly proprietary modeling and forecasting systems that will change the future of the industry. The proprietary nature of the technology at the analytical level is going to increase, allowing for the correlation of data in different, more sophisticated ways. Ultimately IT is about the data.

IT will operate like a business within a business – While historically IT has operated as a service center to the rest of the organization, this will begin to change this year. Businesses will begin to demand that IT function like a business within the business. So rather than responding to business needs, IT will begin to set its own agenda and business goals that align with the rest of the business units within the corporation.

Because of the pervasiveness of IT, this model will grow regardless of the economy, further increasing its share of corporate costs. This will lead to a drive for efficiency and intensify the shift of IT services offshore, particularly to India, which has the price points and scale of talent needed to drive this change.

Despite some potential for IT staff budget cuts over the next year in the traditional investment areas, IT’s development in the near term will be holistically optimistic — especially when you consider that the intensifying adoption of consumer products connected to the Internet inside the enterprise.

Overall, there is positive acceleration in the multitude of ways global enterprises are deriving value from technology. Come 2013, it will be interesting to see how many of these, if any, have become reality and what global trends are influencing the next wave of IT innovation.

LemLasheris president, Global Business Solutions, and chief innovation officer and president for CSC’s Office of Innovation. Lemjoined the CSC European Group in 1992 as director, Network Integration Europe, where he was responsible for CSC’s network and telecommunications activities in Europe. He joined CSC in 1990 as director, Commercial Programme Development for the Network Integration Division in Herndon, VA. From 1984 until joining CSC,Lemwas Vice President for Integrated Software Resources, Inc, a software consulting and engineering firm in the airline telecommunications industry. Prior to this, he held the following executive positions: President, Deca Group, Inc; Executive Vice President, Aitta, Inc; Director, Investment Seminars, Inc; Director, North American Operations, Elan Vital, Inc. Lemattended Baldwin Wallace College, Berea, OH and Friedrich Wilhelms University, Bonn, Germany, where he studied German Literature and Philosophy. He speaks German, French, Dutch and Spanish.