The Business Technology Revolution in 2011

The new year has brought a revolution in business technologies that allows enterprises to roll out new applications, processes and services in record time. What used to take a business six months to a year to develop and deploy – and not too long ago that was considered fast! – can now be done in a week or two, making enterprise application and business intelligence deployments of the recent past seem more like ancient history.

Businesses can thank five new technologies for this: business collaboration; social media; analytics; business mobility; and cloud computing.  Perhaps the most important of these is what I call business mobility technologies – that is, smart phones and tablet computers. In 2011, businesses can deploy an Apple iPad, rent new analytics and collaboration applications as part of a software as a service (SaaS) offered in the cloud, configure and load initial systems within days, and introduce new advancements within a week. This cycle time validates a point I have been making for a long time: that ever-more-rapid innovation is of the keys to business success today.

This business technology revolution means that businesses can finally make a long-held dream a reality – that with the right leadership, resources, time and working capital, they can deploy technology effectively and use their human capital efficiently. I, for one, am excited that after a decade of limited innovation in business technology, important enterprise issues can now be rapidly be addressed. Adopting these new business mobility platforms is disruptive, of course, but it will introduce innovation to organizations that need it. Too many are currently operating under the lock of Windows-based computers running Microsoft Web browsers to connect to local Windows-based servers running applications that took months or years to develop, customize and install, and which are in some cases almost a decade old. Innovating in this environment takes too long. With the new business mobility platforms, companies operate in cloud computing-based collaboration environments that enable people to interact to address a range of human capital issues and to evolve business processes as needs arise. This has created a new tone of optimism in business.

The challenge for business now is to assess these new mobile computing platforms and their portfolios of applications, information and services. It is vital to understand how they can support the  range of activities required for each area of a business. Any portfolio being considered should go well beyond the classic trio of e-mail, instant messaging and basic Internet browsing, as they are merely the basics required of any business mobility technology. Although this may seem simple and obvious, it actually is not. Since we are at the moment so early in the evolution of smart phones and tablets, companies need to examine what is available to meet their business needs and what they will need to develop.

Many organizations will be challenged to come up with the budgets and skills to step up the business to the next level. Nothing comes without investment; therefore the business case needs to be based partly on a cost-and-benefit analysis but also on the need to innovate and advance technologically for the organization to stay competitive. As I see it, the combined effects of these business technology investments can have a dramatic impact for every organization no matter what size and industry. The challenge is yours – you need to look at your organization’s technology with new eyes to see to what extent you can renovate existing approaches, or if you need to innovate with something that is more fresh, more interesting, and especially more relevant for your company’s future.

Let me know your thoughts or come and collaborate with me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Regards,

Mark Smith – CEO & EVP Research

23 thoughts on “The Business Technology Revolution in 2011

  1. Our company, ABUKAI, provides a mobile business application called ABUKAI Expenses. AE lets you complete your expense report simply by taking pictures of receipts…even handwritten taxi receipts, with your smartphone.

    While expense reports may seem like an insignificant activity, when you calculate the average time saved by each user, it often adds up to a full week or more of time each year. Multiplied by the number of “mobile workers” businesses have today, and the amount of resource recaptured for productive activity is certainly non-trivial.

    There are three topics I am interested in getting your feedback on. First, what do you think about the “mobile workforce” with regard to its continued growth and impact on business bottom line.

    Second, while mobile applications technologies such as GPS and others are providing launching pads for business productivity mobile applications, we see that there are few providers who like ABUKAI believe in making the interface to the user as simple as possible. And, doesn’t that diminish the benefit of a ubiquitous input device like a smartphone or pad if it’s so difficult to use the application? Do you think app providers will catch on in 2011?

    Lastly, do you think that IT managers will respond to the tend towards “consumerism” driving IT solutions, and will they be receptive to point solutions which are easy to deploy and produce productivity gains.

  2. […] I’m talking about true business collaboration – bringing together people and technology to increase productivity and performance for competitive advantage. New benchmark research on this topic is forthcoming from us this year, and we’re pretty excited about it. This post is the first in a series of perspectives and vendor reviews discussing the business collaboration movement, tools and resources which my colleague pointed out is one of the five business technology innovations. […]

  3. […] These are all part of Bill and Jim’s agenda to drive change. To do that they are setting the tone and engaging new leaders from within and from the outside who can help rally the spirit of their large organization. This is requires passion as well as experience, and SAP has to see that its future lies in the new world of cloud computing, analytics, mobility, collaboration and social media, which is what I outlined as the future of business technology revolution in computing. […]

  4. […] These are all part of Bill and Jim’s agenda to drive change. To do that they are setting the tone and engaging new leaders from within and from the outside who can help rally the spirit of their large organization. This is requires passion as well as experience, and SAP has to see that its future lies in the new world of cloud computing, analytics, mobility, collaboration and social media, which is what I outlined as the future of business technology revolution in computing. […]

  5. […] At its BlackBerry World conference earlier this month, RIM promoted its own tablet computer to challenge other providers’ tablet offerings. The BlackBerry PlayBook, which was unveiled at the beginning of 2011, addresses the growing demand for business mobility – a factor I noted as one of the five key business technology innovations of this year. […]

  6. […] Mobile BI is another topic we are following closely. If you are a mobile Pentaho user you have two options. Version 3.6 and later provide an iPad plug-in that can be used with 4.0. If you are using another mobile platform you will have to use the browser-based approach, which might mean a less pleasing experience than a native application. Mobile BI platforms will be a contested battlefield in the coming months, and providing broader capabilities might be important for Pentaho to retain its large OEM base. I’d also like to see the company provide more search capabilities. Our research has shown the importance of search to end users, as I’ve written.    […]

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