2012 Information Technology Trends

What's really going on in IT in 2012?

Publishing lists of 2012 information technology trends is so cliché that it's almost cliché to write about how cliché it is.

But we can't get enough of them. Why? Because it's far more fun to dream about the year ahead, than look back on 2011. Because while the past 12 months were most likely full of transition, budget restraints and other challenges, 2012 is the "future" - a bright beacon of hope promising to finally bring us the flying cars and robot maids we dreamed of as kids.

Well, we're halfway through month one of 2012 and here's what I see: more transition, more budget restraints, and more challenges ahead as a result. Don't mistake my realism for negativity. I don't doubt that we'll be talking a lot about cloud, virtualization, context-aware computing, big data management and mobility in 2012 - but how many of us are moving toward execution on any of these?  

I know I'm not being completely fair - IT trend lists are just that: trends. They're not necessarily meant to be a realistic view of what IT shops will face over the course of the year. So I decided to create my own list - a list of 5 things we'll really be dealing with in IT for 2012:

Asset management issues

Whether you're virtualizing your environment or not, organizations are running out of room to simply stash away old servers, on top of unused CRT monitors and towers, switches and the like. Planning for how to re-use, re-sell or recycle old IT equipment is a pesky job that doesn't exactly rate high on the "fun" factor - but eventually, someone's going to come up with a better use for that storage closet where you've been hiding everything, and you'll be stuck with figuring out how to empty it.

Strains on storage

Marketing plans to double its production of webinars and video in 2012. Accounting plans to perform all standard processes electronically. Sales leadership will be collecting more data about rep behaviors as a way to find trends and boost sales. Meanwhile, everyone's complaining that they can't access the network quickly enough. What it means: you're going to run out of room a lot faster than anyone ever imagined, and you're going to have to come up with a solution - fast. 

BYOD and consumer product overload

Everyone and their mother got an iPad for Christmas - and your team is being inundated with requests to help set them up. IT departments would be smart to draft, approve and publish an end-user policy for consumer electronic helpdesk requests as soon as possible.

Increased security risks2010/2011 Computer Crime and Security Survey reported that of the approximately half of respondents who experienced at least one security incident last year, 45.6 percent of them reported they'd been the subject of at least one targeted attack. Considering those numbers, you can't discount your organization as being a potential target.

Organizations are liable for securing the data they store - whether it's on the hard drives of old CPUs or customer information that can be accessed through the CRM. The Computer Security Institute's

Business-driven IT

Who else is sick of the phrase, "Do less with more"? There's a reason for that - the Great Recession is causing many companies to look at their organizational structure and question how it can be improved and optimized. CIOs aren't immune to this - but they can determine how that's done, whether it's through technology (like moving to a virtual environment to reduce workloads) or people (reallocating or eliminating positions).  

At the same time, information technology is no longer just about acquiring, configuring and maintaining equipment - it's about meeting business requirements. This means IT needs to be a part of the larger conversation during strategic or annual business planning. The smart, proactive IT shop will anticipate and plan for this shift in thinking, if it hasn't happened in your workplace already.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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