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OUTLOOK 2013 - ILLUSTRATION: Skip Sterling

Best IT resolutions for 2013

Here are 8 suggested New Year's resolutions that could boost your career prospects.

By , Network World
January 02, 2013 06:03 AM ET

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Alwin Brunner, senior vice president and CIO at Heidrick & Struggles, says he plans to measure the return that his company sees from its Salesforce and Chatter investment. "By looking at the customer holistically, we should see that we are filling requests faster and increasing our share of the customer staffing by our global customers," Brunner says.

6. Mine your unstructured data for strategic advantage.

Expect the hoopla over Hadoop to continue in 2013. Spending on Big Data technologies and services will reach nearly $10 billion in 2013 on the way to over $20 billion in 2016, IDC predicts. Companies will be investing in tools that go beyond search to discover hidden patterns in quantitative data and rich media, IDC says. That's the challenge facing Quantcast, a San Francisco firm that measures online audiences for targeted advertising. Quantcast processes close to 30 petabytes of data a day, says CEO Konrad Feldman. To handle this massive amount of data, Quantcast built its own distributed file system - dubbed QFS - which it released to open source in 2012. For 2013, Quantcast is focusing on adding new analytical capabilities while continuing to scale up its data processing and hold down operating costs. "Big data is a rich ecosystem for real-time and batch processing," Feldman says. "In 2013, you will see us do more innovation around reducing the latency of batch processing so we can get more answers quickly.'' Feldman expects Quantcast's Big Data systems to continue growing next year. "Whatever we do now, we will have more in the future: more data centers, more machines, more data,' he says. "We've always been really cost conscious. We've paid attention to how much computing per dollar we achieve...Next year, we'll be looking for ways to achieve better efficiency and better cost/performance"

7. Use IT to slash business costs.

The top priority for CIOs in 2013 is likely to be the same as it was in 2012: Using IT to increase business productivity and reduce overhead costs. That was the No.1 IT management concern of CIOs in a recent survey sponsored by the Society for Information Management. CIOs aren't so much focused on IT cost-cutting in 2013, but instead on using IT to increase the profitability of the business. That's the main focus for Bob Keefe, who serves as both CIO and CTO of Mueller Water Products, an Atlanta manufacturer of products for water treatment facilities. "In 2013, I'm looking at business productivity and cost reduction," Keefe says. "We're going to focus more on manufacturing cost reduction. We have a lean Six Sigma operation. Now we're going to see how some of our IT systems work to...get better results."

Mueller is already reaping the rewards of similar investments in the past.

"We put in a SaaS-based transportation management system that dropped transportation costs for us, and it's lucky it did because our shipments have been more numerous and smaller in quantity lately," Keefe said. In 2013, Mueller also will deploy new ERP software and a CRM service from Salesforce.

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