We have predicted that this is the year when advanced technologies that have been gathering momentum in business take off. Collaboration, social media, analytics, mobility and cloud computing all are now mature enough to provide innovative organizations with competitive advantage. Each can work with any or all of the others, and combining them intelligently can streamline business processes and empower workers who no longer are tethered to desktop computers. With the right leadership and investments of resources, time and working capital, companies at last can deploy technology effectively and use their human capital optimally. These five critical areas are central to our research agenda for 2011, and Ventana Research is tracking advances in product releases and emerging best practices in all of them. We will continue to provide insight into how they can be deployed, offer guidance in choosing where to invest and in building a business case, and help you catch the wave that could take you to new heights of business success. So keep in touch: This promised to be an exciting year, and that is proving to be the case.
These maturing business technologies enable enterprises to roll out new applications, processes and services in record time. What used to take a business six months to a year to implement can now be done in a week or two. For example, consider mobile technologies – smartphones and tablet computers – applied to business use. Organizations can deploy an Apple iPad, rent new analytics and collaboration applications through software as a service (SaaS) hosted in the cloud, configure and load initial systems within days, and introduce new capabilities within a week. This cycle time validates Ventana Research’s contention that ever-more-rapid innovation is a key to business success today.
After a decade of limited innovation in business technology, important enterprise issues can now be addressed head-on. Adopting new business mobility platforms is disruptive to established habits, of course, but it can introduce innovation to organizations that need it to avoid falling behind the competition. In the conventional environment of Windows-based computers running Microsoft Web browsers to connect to local Windows-based servers running applications that may be almost a decade old, innovating takes too long. With the new business mobility platforms, companies can operate in cloud-based collaborative environments that enable people to interact to increase knowledge and productivity and adapt business processes to changing conditions. This potential often creates a new tone of optimism among workers and their organizations.
Businesses must assess mobile computing platforms and their applications, information and services. Any portfolio being considered should go well beyond the classic trio of email, instant messaging and basic Internet browsing. In this relatively early moment in the evolution of smartphones and tablets, companies need to examine what is available to meet their business needs, what they will need to develop – and where they will need to invest. Many organizations will be challenged to come up with the budgets and skills to reach the next level. Improvement isn’t free, of course; therefore the business case must combine a cost/benefit analysis with a commitment to innovate and advance technologically so the organization can stay competitive.
The combined effects of these five business technology investments can have a dramatic impact for every organization of any size in any industry. The challenge is yours: Look at your organization’s technology with new eyes to see how and where you can renovate existing approaches or innovate with an approach that is fresh, compelling to your employees and relevant for your company’s future.