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What to expect in the world of IT in 2013

Innovation trumps cost cutting

By Network World Staff, Network World
January 15, 2013 12:49 PM ET

Network World - The economic recovery is moving at an unsteady pace, but the emphasis on cost-cutting that dominated IT agendas in recent years is sharing the spotlight with a more interesting imperative: innovation.

Companies have always relied on IT to increase efficiencies, and for years IT leaders have talked about better aligning IT with business objectives to spur innovation. What's different today is the sense of urgency.

The global financial crisis, which knocked the stuffing out of IT spending, created pent-up demand for technology, and companies are still in catch-up mode. At the same time, the mainstreaming of new technologies, specifically cloud computing, is putting pressure on organizations to rethink their approach to IT.

IDC says worldwide IT spending in 2013 will exceed $2.1 trillion, up 5.7% from 2012. The biggest driver of that growth will be sales of smart mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, which will grow by almost 20% in 2013. IDC is also forecasting healthy growth in global software and services spending.

As cloud, mobility and virtualization deployments continue, there's an opportunity for IT to play a more active role in driving new business growth. It's a daunting transformation for IT, and it won't happen overnight.

Juniper sponsored a study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit that asked 474 IT and business executives from the U.S., Germany, Japan and the U.K. about how the role of IT is changing. When survey respondents were asked to describe the primary job of IT, their top three answers were telling: to improve efficiency in business processes (cited by 52%); to fix hardware and software issues (32%); and to improve security to mitigate potential IT-related threats (25%).

Very few businesses said they're successfully collaborating with IT on strategic initiatives such as identifying new market opportunities (9%), identifying new innovations (6%) and developing a competitive strategy (5%).

To change that, IT practitioners need to come out from behind the scenes, get to know the line-of-business executives and end users and become more collaborative.

To read more about what 2013 has in store for IT, become a Network World Insider (free registration is required). You will also find out about the five technologies to watch, what cloud security will be like this year and what are some IT resolutions.

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

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