In December 2012, IBM published the 2012 Tech Trends Report, an annual research study conducted jointly by IBM developerWorks and the IBM Center for Applied Insights. In this study, IBM surveyed more than 1,200 IT professionals and more than 700 students and academics from 13 countries. Not surprisingly, for both the IT and academic communities, four primary technologies are transforming business: social, mobile, analytics, and cloud computing.
This research dovetails with IBM’s CEO study, published in May, 2012. In that study, CEOs reported for the first time that technology was the most important force affecting their organizations, ahead of people skills, market factors, and macroeconomic factors. This is significant, because when technology is top of mind for the worlds top CEOs, it indicates that we are in the midst of a major technology shift.
And cloud computing is fundamental to that technology shift. It provides a viable platform for the compute requirements of social, mobile, and analytics. All of these technology trends require fast response times, vast stores of data, and a highly elastic backbone of networks and servers. Not only can cloud deliver on the technology requirements, but it can also serve an important financial model: funding through operational expenses instead of capital expenses.
It is the combination of a technology shift and a financing shift that puts cloud computing on the forefront of CEOs minds, because it opens up new possibilities to reinvent business. We call those CEOs on the forefront of this technology shift pacesetters, and they are creating new business opportunities, moving into new markets, and driving higher efficiencies in their business. These pacesetters are treating cloud computing as a strategic opportunity, not a threat to the status quo.
Social, mobile, analytics, and cloud are each interesting in their own right, but when treated strategically and as a whole, reinventing business is not just a possibility, but a concrete business plan. IBM is working with companies who are using cloud computing as the flexible platform for new applications that use analytics to comb through social media to more precisely target a customer with the products and services they need. In this way, customers derive immediate value and never feel “spammed.” They are consuming this value through their mobile devices, and increasingly have little patience for more traditional application interfaces.
At the same time, pacesetting CEOs are using cloud computing to drive higher efficiencies within their own businesses. Companies that are dabbling in cloud computing often presume that the only value of cloud is lower cost of IT operations. But the pacesetting organizations have learned that cloud computing allows for more nimble operations, faster time to market, and ultimately a way to expand the business.
Although the Tech Trends study reveals that we are witnessing an exciting shift in technology, it also exposes a looming skills gap at a worldwide level. IBM is ready to help with our expansive cloud computing resources right here on developerWorks. Please use and share our materials, and of course, let us know what else you need to make your business a pacesetting success.