2013’s Trilogy of IT Trends Driven by Consumer Behavior
Mobility, big data, and cloud computing dominated IT’s concerns in 2012. What must IT do to take advantage of their benefits in 2013?
In 2013, mobility, big data, and cloud computing will again take center stage as the top three technology trends. However, it will be consumers and their ever-mounting hunger for device-independent, personalized, and constantly improving levels of service driving the charge in how organizations utilize and implement them. Enterprises and their IT groups will have no choice but to quickly respond or they will run the risk of losing customers, employees, and competitive advantage.
Mobility is the apex of 2013’s highly interconnected technology trends trilogy. The reality is that with the increasingly obvious full sway changes in consumer behavior, mobile computing has little to do with computing -- it’s all about the quality of the user experience. Users simply expect the unerring ability to perform myriad activities -- purchasing a product, checking in for a flight, accessing company intranet-based data, or checking in with a social networking service – any time, anywhere, on any device they prefer, all with the same front-end interface in a tidy, uniform package.
Of course, there’s no question that mobility creates significant challenges for enterprise IT groups. However, as mobility is truly becoming a business-survival imperative, IT has no option but to rapidly and effectively overcome the issues in order to successfully compete for and retain both external and internal customers (i.e., their clientele and customers).
Consumer behavior, the customer experience, and competitive advantage are also the names of the game in big data in 2013. With price losing its kingpin position as the driver of relative apples-to-apples product and service purchasing decisions, organizations must differentiate themselves by upping the level of personalized service they provide to consumers. For example, consider recommendations from travel Web sites about hotel and local entertainment options (based on previous purchases) or suggestions about products to purchase (developed by analyzing Web activity or membership in loyalty programs).
Yet today, most enterprises use only five to 10 percent of the data available in their big data universes because of the preponderance of “dirty data” and the prohibitive expense of de-duping, mining, and analyzing all the data in their arsenals. Existing and upcoming big data databases, platforms, and business intelligence tools -- including Hadoop, SAP HANA, Impala, Tableau, Jaspersoft, Pentaho, Drill, Dremel, Storm, Kafka, Gremlin, and Giraph -- will, to some extent, ease these issues in 2013 for progressive businesses that opt to adopt big data enablers.
Make no mistake: although these big data tools, techniques, and technologies may feel like holiday dreams come true for IT, they’re all about gaining a competitive edge with buyers. The better the usage, the bigger the win will be.
There’s little question that cloud computing can significantly decrease enterprises’ infrastructure, platform, and applications expenses. Consumers will come to the cloud-computing fore in 2013. Buoyed by mobility capabilities, employees will increasingly expect full access to cloud-based applications and data. They are open to paying for what they want (e.g., movies, music, or GPS-based traffic data), when they want it, where they want it, on their device of choice.
Smart, forward-thinking businesses will realize that a dual-pronged cloud computing effort, part focused on reducing their costs and the other devoted to consumers’ desires, will go a long way in supporting their competitive and brand stances.
A Final Thought
Although mobility, big data and cloud computing aren’t new enabling technological capabilities, in 2013 we should expect to see a substantial increase in recognition and support of both internal and external consumers’ technology-oriented usage and behavior.
Lalit Dhingra heads the North American operations of NIIT Technologies, an IT solutions company listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange. NIIT Technologies serves global companies in the travel, insurance, and media industries, among others. You can contact the author at lalit.Dhingra@niit-tech.com.