Three of the largest trends shaping the IT landscape right now are:
- Mobility and
- Social solutions.
Cloud is changing the way IT approaches infrastructure. For various reasons—cost, agility, new features and many others—IT departments are considering cloud as an option for providing compute resource. Cloud is not necessarily the new infrastructure; although some organizations are more aggressive than others, most will settle on some sort of hybrid approach, utilizing cloud resource alongside on-premise resource. Given that, the integration of cloud systems into legacy systems will continue to be a major issue.
Mobility is changing the way we access data. For end-users, this means the ability to get necessary data at any time from any place. This flexibility has the potential for large productivity gains, so businesses are clearly interested. For IT teams, though, this means the spread of data beyond a controlled perimeter, along with a wide array of non-homogenous devices to manage. IT will need to take a central role in managing expectations as the business side asks both for the productivity gains of mobility and the security of data.
With social solutions, we are changing the way we communicate with each other. Either through public social networking sites or internal social enterprise tools, individuals are now driving conversations more than they have in the past. Organizations are finding that they have far less ability to control a message, but they are also finding that they are gaining the ability to build communities and collaborate in real time. Social concepts are moving from the marketing department into the overall communications strategy.
What’s the Net Result?
The management of IT is becoming increasingly complex. Smaller IT departments may start to find that they are not equipped for some tasks, even if those tasks may be affordable and in line with business objectives. For example, many companies are starting to explore mobile applications, either to connect with customers or to provide a portal to internal applications for mobile employees. Using Platform as a Service or Infrastructure as a Service in the cloud makes this affordable, but there may not be software development skills in-house.
What’s the Opportunity?
This opens the door for managed service providers. The latest study on managed service from CompTIA Research finds that 89 percent of managed service users are satisfied or very satisfied with the service they receive, and 62 percent are planning on increasing their spend on managed service over the next two years. While 46 percent also have cut IT expenditures by moving to a managed service, an overemphasis on cost could lead to unacceptable cuts into margin. Instead, MSPs can focus on the value they bring, especially in managing added complexity or filling in skill gaps.
Ultimately, there will be a growing need for IT orchestration. In very large organizations with self-sufficient IT departments, this happens naturally at the CIO level. With smaller IT departments using some amount of managed service or with small companies who completely outsource their IT function, a similar role needs to be played. The level of complexity may even result in MSPs needing to partner together to fulfill a customer’s need, with the orchestration happening externally as well. As orchestration becomes more important, best practices will emerge—such as the development of metrics for demonstrating the value produced by an overall IT solution.
CompTIA will publish a full report on 2012 trends and outlook in January, exploring various hot topics for the upcoming year. We welcome your feedback on the topics you think are going to be big and how the direction of IT will change.