Technology Trends CFOs Should Watch in 2012


The big technology trends in 2012 will be extensions of trends that began in 2011 or earlier. For example, wiredFINANCE noted the Consumerization of IT back in September. Expect it to pick up speed in 2012. Similarly, back in January you read about The Internet of Things here. That too will drive technology trends in 2012.

The top IT research firms publish their trends projections for 2012. You can find Gartner's here. Maybe more interesting to a CFO will be IDC's security trends for 2012 here. IDC also breaks out IT trends by market segment, such as retail here and manufacturing here.

The tech trends below are based on the numerous vendor briefings and conferences wiredFINANCE attends as well as talking with dozens of IT and finance managers. Most shouldn't surprise you if you have been reading wiredFINANCE, but a few might.

Here are the technology trends for 2012:

BYOD—smartphones mainly but the twist is the growing adoption of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) in which workers are encouraged to bring their personal smartphones to work while IT will support a range of popular devices, selectively open interfaces to data and applications, and insist on a certain level of security, such as data encryption. Reimbursement policies vary from zero to all.

Social Networking for Business—will only grow in the coming year. Social networking is the way the next generation of workers live and increasingly work. Businesses will identify and capitalize on opportunities in social networking starting with collaboration.

The Internet of Things—the digital transformation of the economy continues as chips are embedded in more things, allowing companies to meter and monitor processes. RFID is just the start. Watch for more digital instrumentation appearing.

Automated, Real-time Data Analytics—expect to see the growing adoption of advanced data analytics, which increasingly will be automated to keep up with the high volume and in near-real time to allow for dynamic data-based decision-making. This is part of the Big Data trend.

Bio-metric Authentication—passwords provide poor security. Watch for increased adoption of bio-metrics in the form of fingerprints, retina scans, facial/voice recognition, and such to replace the use of passwords for authentication.

Everyone to the Cloud—most companies will develop a cloud strategy at some level, whether for backup to the cloud, SaaS, to augment existing capabilities, or something else.

Virtualized Enterprise—look for increasing virtualization of every digital aspect of the enterprise, from data networking to voice communications.

Further out:

Electronic Wallets—smart devices, including smartphones, used for almost anything from buying a can of soda to proving who you are. Big vendors already are fighting over who provides the e-wallet.

Geo-Location—between smart devices and GPS look for businesses increasingly to take advantage of geographic data, first for marketing (combined with QR codes) and then much more.

In-Memory Computing—combining processing with memory drastically speeds performance. Expect to see entire databases processed in memory.

Gamification—applying aspects of computer gaming to business software offers the possibility of more compelling and engaging business applications. Could AR processing be improved through gamification?

However things shake out, 2012 should be an interesting year for technology, and wiredFINANCE will stay on top of it.

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