Social Media, Desktop Virtualization Key for SMBs in 2011: Report
According to a study by IT analytics firm Info-Tech Research Group, 2011 will be the year of mass adoption for technologies the company said businesses have been slow to adopt. The research includes predictions for six technologies IT departments should consider in the coming year, including adoption of social media strategies, cloud computing and virtualization, as well as mobile applications and analytics tools.
"As budget freezes start to thaw out, end users and businesses are very actively adopting new technologies, and maintaining status quo is no longer an option for IT," said Andy Woyzbun, lead research analyst for Info-Tech Research Group. "IT shops will need to push the release of new and innovative technologies in 2011 in order to continue widespread growth."
Research suggested marketing departments are integrating social media into their plans without IT participation due to its rapid uptake by prospects and customers, while larger organizations are also utilizing social media platforms to improve the effectiveness of internal communications and employee-to-employee collaboration, driving superior team productivity and knowledge sharing. "IT must secure privacy and integrity by creating a policy to manage organizational use of social media," the report noted.
Mobile devices with sophisticated capabilities such as smartphones and tablets will enable organizational differentiation through unique apps, the company predicted, noting marketing departments have already adopted the use of mobile apps in their plans and are hiring third-party developers because many internal IT departments lack the expertise to develop and deploy mobile apps.
Enterprise content management applications will help IT shops avoid chaos in the efficient storage, control and retrieval of documents, e-mails and video, according to Info-Tech. "These are growing in volume and business importance. The disciplines, such as control and security, developed around operational databases must be extended to the other data collected by IT," the report said.
In addition, the firm predicted desktop virtualization (VDI) would alleviate shoulder pain for commuters and headaches for the IT worker. "As an easier to support alternative to the traditional deployment of software on PCs, VDI will allow workers to access their desktop from any computer," the report said. "Early adopters say VDI payback is mainly operational (ex. Fast provisioning of new desktops and centralized application management), but licensing schemes and technology will make the VDI market ready for the next wave of desktop refreshers."
Analytic tools, as a cost-effective option to business intelligence (BI) platforms, are also seen as becoming more widespread in businesses in 2011, as well as cloud computing platforms. "The cloud will provide an increasing set of lower cost alternatives to in-house services, so organizations facing the need to expand the range of IT services or to add capacity should examine cloud alternatives to in-house solutions," the report predicted. "Whether or not the Cloud makes sense in a particular situation, Cloud solutions will become the benchmark for how management assesses the cost and quality of services provided internally by IT."