Gazing Into The Crystal Ball

It is that time of the year when CXOs reflect on the year gone by and plan strategies for the coming year that have the potential to take their organisation to the next level. As IT is a strong business differentiator, onus of building innovation through various technology initiatives lies on the CIO. With the New Year ushering in, CIOs will have to gauge new technology trends and pick what works best for their company to give it a business edge.

We saw many new technology trends take centre stage in 2011; to name a few, widespread adoption and acceptance of tablet computers, emergence of social media, etc. Now that we have come to an end of 2011, we look forward to what 2012 will bring in.

So what does 2012 have in store for us? Will we see emergence of new next-gen technologies that will radically change the way business is conducted? Will there be a paradigm shift in the way IT drives business?

We spoke to few leading IT leaders to cull out the top game-changing business technology trends for 2012…

Social Platforms

The coming year will see an even wider acceptance of social media to leverage business opportunities. Marketers today treat customer intimacy as their topmost priority. Social media presents one of the biggest opportunities in this arena as it allows individuals and groups to broadcast, publish critique or simply voice their opinions.

“Social platforms are predominantly used by people, especially youngsters, to share opinions and give suggestions on their likes and dislikes. We will see companies actively using social media to gather this data to improve their products and services,” says TG Dhandapani, Group CIO, TVS Motors.

There is abundance of valuable data that is available on social platforms. If this data is cultivated right, it can be a key differentiator for an organisation. The challenge here is to capture this valuable customer insight within the myriad online global conversations.

“2012 will be the year of social media evolution. We expect to see many more integrated tools and technologies to help capture this information. And, such tools, when coupled with ‘contextually aware systems’ can go a long way to enhance the quality of interaction with end-users,” shares Ashish Mathur, CIO, WNS Global Services.

Next-Gen Business Analytics And Data Mining

Almost every organisation is sitting on a mountain of critical data that can help profile customers better, enhance products and services and enable informed decision-making. However, businesses have failed to turn this data into useful information. This has forced organisations to recognise the value of business analytics and data mining tools.

Businesses have come to realise that analytics can help identify and manage risks, enhance customer insight, improve product, pricing and channel efforts, enable optimisation, and above all, track collaborative decision-making, explains Mathur of WNS Global Services.

“As a growing number of companies augment their investments in business intelligence (BI) systems, analytics will continue to be a hot technology in 2012,” he adds.

Organisations will turn to business analytics to make sense of the data collected over the years. “2012 will witness an urge to cull out mission-critical information with the help of business analytics and data mining tools to drive bottom-line growth, and help understand customers and the organisation better,” says Dhandapani of TVS Motors.

Cloud Computing

A lot has been said about cloud in the last few years. But we did not see many companies implementing it full-fledged. But that will change in 2012. Focus will be on reducing operation cost in 2012 and cloud computing will be the catalyst for it. The range of scalability and flexibility that cloud offers will play an integral role in its widespread adoption in the coming year.

“Cloud will gain even more momentum. I believe private clouds will offer enhanced infrastructure efficiency with extended uptime for a large enterprise. The cloud model will be of commercial interest also to reduce management overhead and assist limited existing IT infrastructure,” says Kamal Sharma, CIO, Mindlance.

“Cloud will move beyond being a discussion point to a viable business proposition,” says Arun Gupta, Group CTO, Shoppers Stop.

Umesh Jain, CIO, Yes Bank is of the opinion that there will be a move towards public cloud from private cloud.

Enterprise Mobility

Today’s global organisations demand technologies that enable conducting business on the go and speed up decision-making. Expectations now are to have access to all the applications, information and overall computing power anywhere, anytime and in the most convenient manner.

“Mobility fits the bill well and now it is also supported by 3G availability. One can expect the mobility trend to be marching ahead very fast during 2012,” opines Satish Pendse, CEO, Highbar Technologies.

There will be an even stronger demand by customers for different delivery channels in addition to the Web in the coming year. Enterprise mobility has the potential to provide such customer service and heightened customer experience.

“Enterprise mobility will continue to have a high impact on the way we use and manage information in 2012. The complexity of these technologies is going to change, so we need to be aware and keep pace with it,” cautions Vishal Salvi, CISO, HDFC Bank.

Consumerisation Of IT

IT is no longer the monopoly of elite IT professionals or younger generation. The consumers across ages, geographies, gender, and economic strata will lap-it up in 2012.

We will see increased momentum towards BYOD as businesses will allow, and even encourage, employees to bring their own devices into the workplace and access corporate applications.

“Consumerisation has opened a completely new field of opportunities for IT professionals and IT organisations. Mobiles, notepads, playbooks, etc, is going to drive IT over next decade,” says Pendse of Highbar.

According to an estimate by Morgan Stanley Research, the sale of smartphones will exceed those of PCs in the year 2012.

“High speed connectivity, coupled with the tremendous rise in mobile applications, are making these devices more and more powerful and giving the traditional PC and laptop a run for its money,” feels Mathur of WNS.

Focus On Growth

CIOs predict that economic conditions will improve by mid 2012. Focus will then move to growth initiatives. IT leadership will have to be the catalyst for this growth. Though, companies will focus on growth, there wont be a free hand when it comes to IT spend.

“We will see a strong focus on growth. IT will have to play a critical role to support that growth. At the same time, the pressure on cost will continue to stay. Balancing between cost control and growth will be key here,” says Anoop Handa, EVP and CIO, Fullerton India.

“The first half of next year might be difficult but towards the mid of next financial year, things will start improving. This will make our job more difficult. There are so many new use cases that need to happen but there are not many technologies that can bring about a drastic reduction in the existing cost structure. Thus, the CIOs will have to do a balancing act of reducing cost and making investments in new technologies,” opines Jain of Yes Bank.

IT Adoption By SMEs

SME sector even in India is fast realising the power of information technology and its value to the business. This one business trend has caught on during 2011 and will only accelerate during the year 2012.

“Fast growing SME organisations are feeling the bottleneck due to non-existence of scalable processes for sustaining rapid growth. Many companies used low-end IT solutions and have realised its pains in the longer run,” shares Pendse of Highbar Technologies.

“Cloud computing-based solutions will address small enterprises’ financial constraints as well as risk-taking issues with reference to IT spending. SME is going to be the sector for IT penetration in India over the next five years,” he adds.

Evolved Security

There has been a natural progression to the importance of security and role of IT Security leaders in organisations. “Two years ago we were focusing on establishing ourselves, creating credibility, engaging with business and showing value. Today, people are looking up to us for assurance and for that we have to stay ahead of the curve in delivering value,” says Salvi of HDFC Bank.

He explains that the need of the hour for CISOs and CSOs is to engage more with business to understand their needs and strategies. In times to come, they have to proactively align to business requirements and ensure security early in the lifecycle of any project.

“Evolved companies are at a stage where security is thought through before any implementation,” he further adds. This will be a key trend going forward and we will see other companies emulating this phenomenon.

Continue to the next page for a quick take by IT leaders on the trends that will shape 2012...

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A Quick Take On The Trends That Will Shape 2012

 Gazing Into The Crystal BallSatish Pendse, CEO, Highbar Technologies
“Cloud is moving from conceptual stage to acceptance stage. Business leaders are embracing it faster than even the IT leadership. The SME sector will see widespread adoption of cloud in 2012.The key drivers being CAPEX turning into OPEX, de-risking with convenient exit options, non-requirement of large in-house IT teams, and maturing security technologies.”

Anoop Handa, EVP and CIO, Fullerton India
“We will witness emergence and adoption of social CRM in the coming year. We will see unidirectional as well as bi-directional usage of the social platform. Unidirectional, wherein we will see it being used to drive new marketing initiatives and bi-directional, wherein companies will leverage customer blogs and comments to get feedback on products and services. This will be prevalent mostly in retail and services industries.”

Umesh Jain, CIO, Yes Bank
“We will see many implementations of mobile technology use-cases at both, consumer and enterprise side. The second trend to watch out for in 2012 is social media. With a lot already spoken about it, the enterprise cases will start emerging. Social media has already been lapped up by the consumer side. The commercialisation of social media will pick up pace in 2012.”

Vishal Salvi, CISO, HDFC Bank
“RBI has come out with a comprehensive set of guidelines on InfoSec, cyber frauds, business continuity management and IT governance. This will keep us busy in the next 12-18 months. Security teams of most banks will focus on complying with this RBI circular. Indian banks will be able to build a good credible strategy that will fill the gaps in its existing Infosec programme. Our main focus will be on cyber fraud in terms of how we can manage and respond to such malicious happenings.”

Sanjeev Kumar, Group CIO and Group President - Business Excellence, Adhunik Group of Industries
“We will find that cloud computing, outsourcing, enterprise mobility will be growing very fast in the coming year. People handling will also see a change. It’s not only about the money that we pay to our work force. The facilities we give, the growth opportunities we provide, how we handle and create emotional wealth of the people, is equally important.”

Ashish Mathur, CIO, WNS Global Services
“While 2011 has seen the cloud finally land, the industrialisation -- and its consequent commercial viability – will be its key driver in the coming years. This trend will further help organisations move to customer-friendly “pay-per-use” models and therefore help CIOs reduce their large upfront IT costs and manage variability in the business.”

Vijay Sethi, VP-Information Systems and CIO, Hero MotoCorp
“Social media will see widespread adoption in the coming year. We, at Hero MotoCorp, plan to target the youth and we will leverage the social platform to drive our marketing initiatives. We are already piloting internal social media and the external facing will take place soon.”

TG Dhandapani, Group CIO, TVS Motors
IT is a strategic tool for businesses. Even if economic conditions deteriorate in 2012, it will not affect IT spend. On the contrary, it will increase focus on IT as companies will realise that they can reap far more advantages by a small amount spent on IT.

Arun Gupta, Group CTO, Shoppers Stop
“Mobile-based customer engagement will overtake internal mobile applications in the next year. However, I feel that Big Data will remain hyped with very few adopters.”

Kamal Sharma, CIO, Mindlance
“We plan to develop heightened level of data security for our cloud computing environment as all of our client’s critical data will reside outside the conventional corporate firewall. Cloud services, security and Big Data will be the areas of priority in 2012.”

G Suresh, VP-IT, RK Swamy BBDO
Enterprise mobility is a trend we need to watch out for in 2012. Mobility gadgets such as smartphones, iPads, etc. will find a huge number of buyers. SOS: Storage–Outsourcing–Security will be on top of my priority list.

Daya Prakash, CIO, LG Electronics
“The top five business technology trends in 2012 will be cloud, social media, green IT, virtualisation, and unified communication.”

Subramanya C, CTO, HGS
“Our industry will see a few cloud migrations. We will witness an increase in ‘pay-per-use’ model of computing and social media strategies. Bundled offerings on IT and ITeS services and products will continue. Self service and automatic speech recognition technologies will evolve in multiple sectors.”

Lem Lasher, Chief Innovation Officer, CSC
“Companies will deploy the consumer model inside the enterprise, providing IT at subsidized rates or for free as companies look to reduce their IT costs. The coming year will see IT operate like a business within a business. Because of the pervasiveness of IT, it will grow regardless of the economy, increasing its share of corporate costs. This will lead to a drive for efficiency and expedite the shift of IT to India.”

Hu Yoshida, Chief Technology Officer, Hitachi Data Systems
“The big hype in 2012 will be around Big Data. The explosion of unstructured data and mobile applications will generate a huge opportunity for the creation of business value, competitive advantage, and decision support if this data can be captured, stored, managed, accessed, analysed, and visualised. Companies that provide these capabilities for Big Data will be targets for acquisition, much like we saw in past years with thin provisioning technology companies.”

Unnikrishnan KP, Director Marketing-APAC, Brocade
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) will change IT procurement. Using personal devices to access company applications will allow application availability at anytime, from anywhere, and will help business slash procurement costs. The smartphone/tablet phenomenon will fuel this trend, and will drive uptake of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), wireless networking and end-point security solutions in the corporate arena.

Manan Kothari, Executive Manager, Corporate Strategy, Tricom India
"We are extremely optimistic for the year 2012. The industry is rapidly growing in spite of the turbulent times and we expect it to grow at 12-15 percent in 2012. Also, we predict the focus on rural BPO, which has gained prominence this year, to garner greater momentum in the year to come."

Dr Niranjan Thirumale, Chief Technology Officer, EMC India Center of Excellence
“In 2011, we saw Big Data Analytics shed its image as a high-end niche technology, and start becoming a part of every IT conversation. We anticipate that 2012 will be a year where this trend picks up steam. Companies from a variety of industry verticals will increase their push towards extracting actionable intelligence from all available information assets.”

Ajay Goel, Managing Director, India and SAARC, Symantec

"Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are increasingly being brought into the corporate networks by employees themselves, and consumerization of IT is a growing trend that we expect to gain steam in 2012. With Indian enterprises actively discussing cloud in 2011, we expect to see more businesses adopting cloud technologies. We will witness an explosion of information – particularly unstructured data such as spreadsheets, emails and documents – in the enterprise. As critical information gets buried under mountains of non-critical data, technologies such as data insight – that help identify ownership and usage of data – will become popular."

With inputs from Shipra Malhotra, Abhishek Raval and Revathi Raghavan.

Updated Date: Feb 02, 2017 23:22:55 IST