Seven key technology trends CIOs must consider for 2015

UXC LogoSydney – September 30, 2014 – CIOs and business leaders must be agile and capable of balancing short and long-term investments for business gain and to take advantage of the key technology trends that are set to shape the industry in 2015.

In launching Forecast UXC, an annual technology and business outlook developed by Telsyte, UXC’s independent technology research and advisory business, Cris Nicolli, Managing Director, UXC Limited, said, “While technology developments can improve business processes, create new avenues to customers and markets, and deliver competitive advantage, there are risks. CIOs must be prudent with the rate at which they innovate to effectively manage integration requirements and security risks.

“CIOs who can master this balance will spearhead agile organisations that can further adapt to change and deliver real value to the business across multiple dimensions.”

Forecast UXC, which draws on research and survey findings from 461 Australian CIOs and IT decision makers identifies seven key trends that will drive technology adoption and use across business in 2015:

1. Business unit IT spending will affect budgets
IT spending is increasingly being driven by line-of-business needs and facilitated by non-centralised budgets. Employees are combining mobile devices with cloud services and applications to bring their own IT to the workplace, relying less on corporate IT. This non-sanctioned investment brings risks. Forecast UXC shows that about one-third of Australian businesses have experienced problems resulting from IT-related purchasing outside of the IT department*.

However, IT still has the responsibility of managing and securing all information used by the organisation, including from services procured outside of the IT department’s control. As a result, CIOs must be aware of what IT services are being purchased by line-of-business and take appropriate steps to integrate and secure them as appropriate.

2. Service-centric delivery will lead to ITaaS
To maintain relevance in the face of increasing self-service, CIOs should consider transforming IT operations to be more of a business partner with a service-centric delivery capability rather than being focused on managing discrete projects.

IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) describes a structure where lines of business act as customers of IT and the cost of the IT services they consume is accounted for as if the IT department was an external supplier. ITaaS lets the centralised IT department represent costs in a way that makes it easy to compare with off-the-shelf or outsourced solutions. Better IT cost accounting and business agility are the result.

In 2015 and beyond, organisations need to start evolving to ITaaS to remain competitive and consistent with other delivery models. All IT projects should include long-term costs and how business units are charged to consume the service. This shift will take time as traditional IT departments adapt to being part of an overall enterprise services architecture.

3. Businesses will continue to shift to the cloud
The appetite for cloud computing remains strong and it is likely that cloud computing will continue to become more diverse and cater for workloads traditionally seen with on-premise IT. More multinational providers are likely to establish cloud operations on Australian soil, potentially alleviating concerns around data privacy.

More locally-developed clouds will also give Australian organisations more choice while maintaining compatibility with international services. According to Forecast UXC, nearly 40 per cent of Australian companies using cloud services use an international provider that hosts data offshore.

In 2015 the availability of cloud compatibility and management tools will mature, letting CIOs manage data based on how complex and sensitive it is. Organisations that prepare for a hybrid on-premises and cloud delivery model will be most successful.

4. Collaboration will replace communication
The future of unified communications (UC) is strong and will be driven by an on-demand procurement model. Many organisations will need on-premise systems as well as cloud UC, forcing them into a hybrid approach that combines PABX systems and cloud providers.

As existing equipment reaches end-of-life, more organisations will look to moving enterprise communications to cloud services. Effective communication and collaboration tools facilitate the modern workplace and future-proof communications. Cloud-based UC can overcome the implementation and integration challenges of large UC projects.

5. Big data will bring new business intelligence
Forecast UXC shows that big data use among Australian organisations is well established with 25 per cent of respondents already using big data. A further 42 per cent of organisations are investigating the need for big data and its associated analytics. Integration with data sources has been a barrier to big data adoption.

Organisations should look at where big data can add the most value before capturing information indiscriminately. Effective big data analytics will deliver a competitive advantage and is an emerging opportunity for third-party integration. Big data analytics platforms and formats will become more widely implemented and being able to integrate with third parties on the same level will be as important as interfacing with older Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and more recent web-based services.

6. Location-free workplaces will increase
‘Work’ is no longer a location but an activity, with more and more workers able to leverage existing technology such as smartphones and high-speed broadband to work remotely. The ability to work outside the office depends on the person’s role and the nature of the business but Forecast UXC indicates that 65 per cent of teleworking organisations expect the number of people working from home to increase over the next 12 months.

To prepare for this, CIOs must have applications and security procedures in place to keep staff productive while ensuring the information they access is secure. Improved support for remote working will also help organisations remain productive in case of disruption, such as natural disasters, fires, vandalism or other factors.

7. Wearables will become the next business devices
Just as smartphones and tablets defined the ‘post-PC’ era, wearable devices are set to have a profound impact on business. Wearable devices have many applications from operator assistance to safety and alerts. For example, the medical industry has developed wearable computers for patient monitoring and the security industry uses wearable devices for access control. Employees are already beginning to bring their own wearable computers to work, such as Google Glass. This trend is likely to accelerate in the next 18 months as more wearable devices become available. Business leaders should begin investigating how wearable devices can improve productivity, balanced with security risks.

Cris Nicolli said, “Australian companies must prepare for larger-scale changes that the onset of new technology brings. They must be agile enough to balance the immediate and the longer-term requirements to invest appropriately for a competitive edge.”

You can download Forecast UXC here: http://www.uxc.com.au/forecast-uxc-2015

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About UXC LIMITED
UXC Limited is anis an S&P/ASX 300 listed Australian business solutions company, and the largest Australian owned ICT consultancy firm. UXC services medium to large entities in the private and public sectors across Australia and New Zealand.

UXC provides a range of unique, unmatched and formidable ICT Solutions in Consulting, Business Applications and Infrastructure that support our customers to plan & design, implement & enhance, and operate & manage their ICT requirements.

UXC strives to create simplicity and meaning in a complex world through the power of people and technology, by being the leading Tier 1 Australian IT Services and Solutions Company, delivering value, innovation and responsive business outcomes with excellent people. For more information visit: www.uxc.com.au.

About Telsyte
Telsyte delivers strategic insights and advisory services to businesses that are producing, or are impacted by, disruptive technologies. Telsyte publishes studies into emerging consumer and business markets and provides custom research and advisory services. Our market leading coverage includes mobility, enterprise IT, digital media and telecommunications. Telsyte is a wholly-owned independent business unit of UXC Limited. For more information visit: www.telsyte.com.au.

Red Hat technology predictions for the year ahead

Redhat LogoAs some businesses think about planning for the new financial year, it is crucial that they keep up with the latest technology trends. Red Hat provides its outlook for the year ahead.

1. BYOD gives way to BYOC. As if IT didn’t have enough to think about when it comes to supporting associates and their phones and tablets of choice, the coming year will continue the internal adoption of both public cloud-based applications (including SaaS) and in-house deployments of private clouds targeted at specific use cases. This will give way to a whole new set of integration and support challenges for IT.
– Brian Stevens, executive vice president and CTO, Red Hat

2. The cloud will be hybrid. “Traditional” infrastructure deployments are losing ground to hybrid deployments that include virtual and cloud infrastructure. When it comes to new applications, this trend will only accelerate in 2014. During development, companies will increasingly seek to use Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to rapidly build, deploy, and scale applications.
– Mark Coggin, senior director, Product Marketing, Platform, Red Hat

3. Open source offerings will continue to cut into proprietary market share. In 2014 there will be more credible enterprise options for open and interoperable solutions. There will also be a continued growth of KVM (Kernel-based virtual machine) and other open source virtualisation technologies. Also, the use of technologies like OpenStack, which are more cloud-focused, continue to grow.
– Chuck Dubuque, director, Product Marketing, Virtualization and OpenStack, Red Hat

4. Convergence will lead us to the Business-Driven Cloud. Red Hat sees the integration of business rules, cloud management and cloud infrastructure platforms enabling the Business-Driven Cloud (BDC). Decisions about cost, service levels and resource allocation will therefore move up to the business owners.
Bryan Che, general manager, Red Hat CloudForms

5. Compute and storage convergence will force the overhaul of IT operations. With private cloud and SaaS environments proliferating in enterprises worldwide, the integration of compute, networking and storage infrastructure is changing the way technology services are defined, enabled and delivered. This will necessitate re-thinking of core IT tools, principles and staffing to support the converged infrastructure.
– Ranga Rangachari, vice president and general manager, Storage, Red Hat

6. Government agencies will increase their focus on infrastructure management. This year, Australian government agencies will increase the rate of virtualisation and movement to private and public clouds. As a result, they will allocate more resources towards new solutions for managing and orchestrating their infrastructures. While several government agencies have already started the virtualisation process, over the next year, many more will move to public clouds and adopt virtualised networking and storage solutions.
– Gunnar Hellekson, Chief Technology Strategist, U.S. Public Sector, Red Hat

7. Big data moves from batch to real-time response. Consumers and businesses alike are creating data at an amazing rate. By some estimates, the world’s generated data is doubling every two years*. Turning a problem upside down, the industry is learning how to extract knowledge from these massive data stores, and using it to shape many aspects of their business.
– Brian Stevens, executive vice president and CTO, Red Hat

8. Services and tools for cloud visibility and controlled access on the rise. In 2014, visibility into cloud is going to be the key to security. Businesses will want more visibility into how cloud works – whether it is infrastructure or PaaS. Right now the cloud is still in a “black box” sort of state where users don’t know or understand what’s happening. 2014 will focus on services or tools that enable visibility as well as setting up controlled access.
– Krishnan Subramanian, director, OpenShift strategy, Red Hat

9. A year of challenge and change. 2014 is going to be a year of challenge and change. Many businesses have already embraced change, adopted new business models and are thriving despite the global economic conditions in which we operate. They have already created their competitive differentiation and have already moved to where their customers want to be in the future.
– Max McClaren, general manager, Red Hat Australia

Reference
* http://www.emc.com/leadership/programs/digital-universe.htm

 

UXC Eclipse identifies key business and technology trends for 2014

UXC Eclipse LogoNovember 4, 2013 – Australian businesses looking to overcome current market challenges could benefit by following the key trends predicted for 2014 according to UXC Eclipse, a leading provider of intelligent business solutions to the enterprise and mid-market.

1. Risk mitigation remains key
With continued global economic uncertainty likely to continue into 2014, businesses need to mitigate the risks associated with large projects and software investments. Stakeholders are looking for security and guaranteed project outcomes.

Anne Callaghan, COO, UXC Eclipse said: “Business must demand their implementation partner offers quality assurance for all projects to mitigate the inherent risks associated with the software implementation lifecycle. Large-scale ERP implementations are often business-critical so it’s important to do your due diligence before you start, so that everything can run smoothly.

“It is equally important to have senior executive sponsorship from the implementation partner.  With an ERP implementation, you’re putting your business in the hands of another company, so you want to be sure that they will deliver the project. Having a direct line to management means that any concern can always be addressed immediately.”

Companies should also be aware of upcoming privacy law changes, which come into force in March 2014. Organisations will need to have the correct procedures and safeguards in place when sharing customer data with other entities. Companies will have to appropriately manage and protect their information and that of their customers, since failure to do so may lead to significant fines.

Anne said: “Organisations have to understand how the new privacy laws will impact their business. It’s important to act now to be ready for the changes.”

2. Platform and architecture transformation will speed up
The choice of cloud or on-premise deployment is now available for most applications, from Microsoft Office to large Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions.

Cloud has emerged as a great way for organisations to save money, perform more efficiently and flexibly and bring products to market faster. It will only grow in popularity as benefits become more widely documented.

William Moore, Senior Executive – Enterprise Solutions and Services, UXC Eclipse said: “Companies have to decide on the right applications to suit their operational needs and the method of deployment. This platform, whether cloud, on-premise or a hybrid approach, must then be integrated into the business, which adds a new layer of complexity.

“This type of transformation can be extremely valuable to reduce costs and increase flexibility but it is essential for companies to clearly understand their business requirements and options available to choose the right solution.”

3. Business intelligence goes real-time
Large and small organisations continue to seek benefits from data. Used effectively, data can reveal many opportunities for businesses to operate more effectively. In 2014 businesses will keep improving how they interact with data including where and how they can view the data, making sure it is relevant and using it proactively to make informed business decisions.

Mark Weimann, Senior Solutions Architect Manager, UXC Eclipse said: “Stakeholders and end users want integrated, user-driven dashboards that let them see the information they need at a glance. Making smart, informed decisions is more important than ever in the current business environment. That’s only possible when the information you need is available in real time and is accurate and comprehensive.”

4. Mobility will become ubiquitous
Mobility is no longer a hot topic but a mature technology across most businesses. It is expected to be seamlessly integrated into business applications as part of the whole delivery experience for both customers and employees.

William Moore, Senior Executive – Enterprise Solutions and Services, UXC Eclipse said: “Many businesses will be playing ‘catch up’ in 2014 to bring this end-user reality into their work-day application environment. Companies have mainly been focusing on external audiences when it comes to mobility but the internal aspects will be increasingly important.

“BYOD (bring your own device) or CYOD (choose your own device) will become more prevalent as companies realise the benefits of making business applications available securely on users’ own mobile devices.”

5. Projects have to deliver stakeholder value
Projects have to deliver ongoing value to stakeholders to justify the cost and be considered successful. Businesses will increasingly demand proof of value in 2014. Due diligence at the start of an IT project will help to assess the potential return on investment.

Russell Gordon, Practice Director – Business Process Management, UXC Eclipse said: “Delivering value to the stakeholders means understanding and agreeing on project deliverables from the start. Formally documenting business processes and having company-wide agreement on those before a project kicks off is a powerful way to ensure that the desired value and outcomes are understood and then delivered, particularly with ERP and CRM projects.”

6. ERP continues to be relevant
As business complexity increases, the need for an effective ERP system to tie it all together and provide a single source of information also increases. ERP will be highly relevant in 2014 and continue to evolve to suit business needs.

Mark Weimann, Senior Solutions Architect Manager, UXC Eclipse said: “ERP is likely to become more simplified and easier to use and access. User interfaces will become more tailored to user roles and user groups, while more advanced analytics tools should provide better, faster access to data. Specifically, more predictive analytics will help improve the decision-making process.”

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About UXC Eclipse
UXC Eclipse is a leading provider of intelligent business solutions to the enterprise and mid-market.

Established in 1991, UXC Eclipse’s success has been built by providing the highest levels of service and offering a choice of solutions from leading software vendors.  UXC Eclipse also delivers industry-specific (vertical) solutions on the Microsoft platform to meet ERP and CRM requirements.
 
UXC Eclipse’s service offerings include applications business consulting & project management, applications development, corporate performance management and business process management.
 
With a team of over 400 people across 14 international offices (Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Canada and the United States), UXC Eclipse is committed to supporting over 1,300 customers.

For more information, visit our website at http://www.uxceclipse.com.