If the entire IT industry were to receive a performance review the way individual employees do, it would begin, of course, with a self-assessment. Here goes: Although this was probably the year consumer technology made its biggest inroads into business environments, a lot of important work continued to go on in the back office, in the data centre and at the edge of the network. Though largely unnoticed by front-end knowledge workers, a lot of the fine-tuning and refinements in enterprise or even mid-market IT infrastructure will pave the way for greater utilization of compute resources, improved collaboration and more holistic management of data in 2013. But that’s just the high level view. As the year moves towards a close, let’s look back at some of the other key developments that will set the stage for IT managers and their coworkers over the next 12 months:
- Voice and data are moving in together. This was the year SIP trunking, as a potential solution, reached a tipping point among Canadian companies who will begin more deployments that allow them to do much more with far less. Allstream heard countless questions at live events across the country and in Webinars, the usage of its assessment tool and downloads of white papers that prove interest for SIP trunking is at an all-time high. 2013 will be the year we talk more about the early success stories and what it means for more sophisticated unified communications and collaboration.
- BYOD is beginning to take root. What started as outright bans on certain mobile devices gave way to pilot projects and major discussions among IT professionals on how they could be more accommodating to the employee’s phone or tablet of choice. Letting people use an iPhone instead of a BlackBerry didn’t bring the network down or expose company secrets after all. Despite myriad security and management concerns, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs will become more formalized in 2013.
- People want to address the addressing problem. IPv6 emerged as one of the hottest topics on expertIP, and the subject of several posts, white papers and an infographic that showed why this transition is necessary for Canadian organizations. As the global supply of iPv4 addresses diminish, work on this will accelerate within the next six months.
- The cloud doesn’t kill IT departments. Despite dire predictions that on-demand computing would do away with traditional technology roles, early experiments with software as a service showed that CIOs and their teams are more important than ever to help advice and manage the relationships with third-party suppliers of hosting and related services. Cloud computing will prove to be a way of capitalizing on investments Canadians have made in virtualizing their data centres next year.
- Big data had little impact (so far). For all the hype, there was little evidence Canadian firms lost money or customers by lacking advanced analytics. However this was just the phase where education around unstructured data and its potential opportunities and challenges begins for IT departments. It will likely take 2013 and beyond for deployments of in-memory databases to take root on a grand scale.
- Social media got a job. Microsoft’s purchase of Yammer, Salesforce.com’s release of Chatter and the more widespread use of social-style tools for communication among executives and employees gave rise to the “social business” trend. We’ll know this has really reached critical mass when we don’t need to refer to it as such anymore.
Another takeway from 2012, albeit one more self-serving, is that beginning a conversation with the Canadian IT industry with expertIP was a really good idea. This is a perfect time of year to thank everyone in our audience for taking the time to read, watch, comment and contribute to this online community. In January, join us as we take the discussion around some of these trends even further in a Webinar that will explore three of the biggest forces that will hit Canadian IT departments in 2013.
Get a jump on your IT strategy for the new year by registering for our Jan 22 Webinar, ‘The Perfect IT Storm: Collaboration, Virtualization and Mobility,’ featuring Forrester Research and senior executives from Allstream.