Business Technology Predictions for 2011

Updated: February 13, 2011

The Cloud Goes Mainstream

The Cloud will move from an overhyped theory to an adopted practice in mainstream business.

Private, public or hybrid clouds, when applied to the right business need, will be game-changing in some industries.

Microsoft, Google and FireFox are developing hardware accelerated browsers this year, which will make browsing feel even faster. The beta version of IE 9 is the first such browser that is currently available to take advantage of such hardware acceleration.

By 2012, 20% of businesses will not own any core IT infrastructure. Why?

  • Virtualization makes hardware non-strategic
  • Cloud-enabled services becoming viable
  • Employees demanding greater autonomy

Ray Ozzie, former CSA for Microsoft (he took over for Bill Gates a few years ago) has much to say in his departing memo to Microsoft employees, which he later posted to his blog: http://ozzie.net/docs/dawn-of-a-new-day/

How do you prepare for The Cloud?

  • Examine your security and compliance needs to evaluate what IT MUST be owned and kept on-premise.
  • Create due diligence check lists for any cloud providers that you are considering working with:
    • Physical Security of Cloud Provider
    • Technical Security of the Cloud Provider
  • Administrative Security of the Cloud Provider
  • Make sure that you have adequate bandwidth
  • Before making any capital investments in IT, perform a cost benefit analysis of Cloud alternatives

Mobile Devices Begin World Domination

Mobile moves aggressively into the data and applications arena as enterprises leverage these devices to empower the workforce, speed decision making and grow top-line revenue. In 2011, Enterprises will begin wide spread adoption the BYOD model (Bring your own device).

By 2013, mobile phones will overtake PC's as the most common Web access device worldwide.

By 2014, over 3 billion of the world's adult population will be able to transact electronically via mobile or Internet technology.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs say Tablets will replace 1 in 3 PCs. Microsoft and Intel stand to take the biggest hit as consumers embrace slates powered by alternative software and hardware.

Gartner predicts that Android (Google) will overtake iPhone's market share by year end, and, match or beat Symbian (Nokia) market share by 2014. Gartner expects 500 million smartphones to be sold in 2014 (remember this stat, it will come back to haunt you later). Andy Rubin, a Google Exec, recently tweeted that 300,000 Android phones are now being activated daily.

Microsoft & Nokia are rumored to be forming a strategic alliance which may shake things up.

Other Mobile Devices Predictions for 2011

  • Major Carriers will launch what they call 4G this year… as well as metered data plans. Also watch for a major shift to prepaid smartphones
  • China has nationalized eleven rare earth mines that produce minerals needed to produce Hi Tech Equipment. Mobile phone prices are likely to increase as a result
  • Minimal releases smartwatches.
  • Adoption of tablets (primarily iPads & Androids) will announce the beginning of the end for netbooks.
  • Mobile devices, like tablet and smartphones, and The Cloud, will continue to reinforce each other as mutually beneficial partners. The result will be much faster upgrade cycles on both sides.
  • You will be able to make payments with your Smartphone as easily as using your debit or credit card.
  • Group texting apps will emerge in 2011. This will be especially popular with your kids and college students.
  • 69 companies have now backed a wireless charging standard. Look for this to go mainstream by year end.
  • Forrester predicts that tablet upgrades will happen much more frequently than PCs (as often as once per year). Early devices will become hand me downs to kids and what not, but this does have down range implications for computer recycling starting in late 2012.
  • There will be an explosion of mobile healthcare apps… Kaiser already has one for the iPhone.

How do you prepare for the oncoming revolution in mobile devices?

  • Re-evaluate websites, portals and web-based applications for mobile access
  • Consider creating a mobile app to market your business if you can
  • Design web-based content and applications for device independence (will run on iPhone, Android, etc.)
  • Seek expert advice on how to secure your mobile devices & whatever access they have to your resources

IT Security Concerns Sky Rocket

Security breaches will hit an all-time high as data keeps getting pushed beyond the enterprise walls (i.e. to the cloud). A new frontier in politically motivated cyber-attacks will occur. By 2015, Gartner predicts, a G20 nation's critical infrastructure will be disrupted and damaged by online sabotage.

Surprisingly, Regulatory compliance, not data breaches, will drive adoption of encryption technologies.

Regarding political concerns about security: Simply look at all of the recent drama surrounding Wikileak. Hacktivists have shut down VISA, MC & PayPal in defense of WikiLeaks.

Riots, demonstrations and revolts will be increasingly done online.

Also, NASDAQ just confirmed that their servers were breached this week. Malware may have been targeting insider information from 10,000 senior executives who use the compromised Directors Desk app.

Hacking is becoming industrialized, making more criminals more effective and less expensive. Enter the rise of cyber-mercenaries, who provide rental bot nets to criminal organizations and even governments. China used such botnets against the US at leasttwice last year.

Your weakest IT security points this year:

  • Mobile devices because the devices are "in the wild", are easy to lose and aren't always company property.
  • Social Media because viruses and other types of malware can be transmitted through and because it can provide additional personal information that can be exploited (guessing password for example).
  • Cloud because, Denial Service attacks on either side of the Internet connection can kill productivity

How do you protect your business from IT threats this year?

  • Make sure to vet your cloud vendors
  • Implement disk encryption on all laptops ASAP
  • If your business is federally regulated by SOX, GLBA, FINRA, HIPAA or HiTECH implement email encryption, disk encryption and 2-factor authentication
  • For mobile phones:
    • If the phones are company-issued, ensure that they can be centrally controlled and wiped if needed
    • Created a walled garden. Allow corporate access from personal devices, but wall it off from personal content. (for example, don't allow a link copied from the FaceBook mobile app to be pasted into the enterprise application)
    • Set policies that restrict corporate access of phones with high risk factors, like unauthorized apps or out-of-date policies

Social Media is The Future

Social media will keep dominating the business conversation, following the same evolution e-commerce did as it became e-business. Soon we'll just call it "social business."

Social Media will also continue to usher in an era of unprecedented transparency, so be on your best behavior unless you want to end up on Wikileaks or a similar web site.

Facebook

  • Facebook enrolled over 500 million users world wide. This is larger than the population of any country on the planet, save 3: China, India & the United States
    • All of these 500 million will have smartphones by 2014
  • 200 million access Facebook through mobile devices.
    • Mobile users are twice as active than normal users on average.
  • 50% of users login daily
  • Gartner predicts that Facebook will become the hub for social networking integration by 2012

Linkedin

  • Linkedin has over 85 million users world wide.
  • A new member joins Linkedin about every second.
  • At least one Executive from every single Fortune 500 company is on Linkedin

Twitter

  • Twitter has 105+ million users world wide (about 33% are in the U.S.)
  • In 2010, 50 million tweets are sent per day, an increase of 1400% from 2009
  • 300,000 users sign up per day on average
  • 180 million unique visitors per month
  • 75% of Twitter traffic comes from external sources (e.g. FaceBook, application software like TweetDeck, etc.)
  • Twitter's search engine processes around 600 million queries per day

YouTube

  • 24 hours of video is uploaded per minute
  • Exceeds 2 billion views per day (nearly double the audience of all 3 major U.S. broadcast networks combined)
  • The very first video on YouTubehas been played about 2 million times... Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" music video has been viewed over 186 million times.
  • The average person spends 15 minutes a day on YouTube
  • Partner ad revenue tripled in 2009
  • YouTube players are embedded across 10s of millions of web sites
  • YouTube Video Consumption Across Social Networks as of 2009
    • FaceBook: 46 years of videos watched per day
    • MySpace: 5.6 years of videos watched per day

Recommendations for Leveraging Social Media

  • Start using it if you are not already.
  • Explore what other social mediums your customer use and engage them there
  • If you are already using Social Media, engage a professional Marcom firm to help you take it to the next level
  • Integrate social media into everyday business: customer service, press releases, event listings, everything you can think of
  • Find a way to make video work for you

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