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Ripples of SMACI will be felt in 2014

By Alok Sinha
President, Global Application & Engineering Services, Xchanging

Social media, mobility, analytics, cloud computing and Internet of Things ( generally abbreviated as SMACI) technologies stirred much conversation globally throughout 2013. While the individual components of SMACI have been around and thriving over the past few years, the IT industry started to witness the power of their amalgamation only very recently.
These disruptive technologies are facilitating enterprises in leveraging cloud for storing large volumes of customer data; and analyzing them for better business performance.
In the past year, the adoption of SMACI was evident across geographies and sectors for supporting diverse functions which included improving efficiency of sales force, managing employee retention, or driving intelligent communication between machines, among others.
According to Gartner, SMACI is now among top three CIO priorities, and in 2014 CIOs are expected to make the investments towards it. In India, it will present a $225 billion business opportunity for the IT and BPO industry by 2020, as estimated by research firm IDC.
Looking towards 2014 and beyond, SMACI technologies will continue to grow and eventually obtain a more mainstream status. Following are the top four resulting technology trends which will impact enterprises:
Hybrid Cloud to gain more momentum
Hybrid cloud, a combination of private and public cloud, will see larger uptake among IT decision-makers this year.
An increasing number of IT decision-makers are continuing to see cloud as a more sustainable option to manage many of their application workloads, overcoming their earlier inhibitions around security of cloud platforms.
In the coming years, focus of CIOs will not be on whether to, but on how to implement their cloud strategy as they gain more clarity on how the platform can help them in achieving new levels of efficiency and seizing strategic control. Compared to other cloud platforms, the hybrid cloud being more secure, reliable, flexible, and scalable will clearly steer way for adoption of cloud in organizations. It has the ability to address different needs of different people and different business units within enterprises. With the hybrid cloud, users have the means to break the confines of existing IT framework and create an environment that is tailored to meet their needs.
To leverage and build the right kind of hybrid cloud structure, CIOs will have to focus on sorting their application portfolio by differentiating the applications that must rest on-premises private clouds from those they must control partially in enterprise public clouds.
Big Data to get bigger; gain more strategic role
Big data and analytics are proving be critical forces in impacting business decision-making and improving operational efficiency. In 2014, the inhibitions to spend on new big data platforms will significantly diminish as companies gain more conviction and context of how data can benefit their business.
As companies increasingly employ big data to drive business growth, they will have to juggle the importance of establishing privacy and security in their big data processes while protecting the creativity of new data-driven projects.
From a long-term perspective, data and analytics will no longer classify only under the IT umbrella and will expand to have a wider organizational supervision. Companies will adopt a converged approach to work simultaneously with data and analytics and correspondingly share the information internally.
A significant leap in the coming year will be in the form of big data gaining more prominence for itself in the boardroom with organizations recognizing a need for big data leader or Chief Data Officer.
Internet of Things to become more pervasive
Internet of Things (IoT) is and will continue to be widely adopted by companies. According to a recent Gartner report, Internet of Things (IoT) or Machine-to-machine (M2M) technology is expected to multiply 30 times to 26 billion units by 2020; driven by the growing web of connectivity that is ever-increasing.
Technology will drive significant revenue and cost efficiencies as businesses gain matured understanding of the concept. Product and service providers are expected to reap the maximum benefits from this technology boom. Industries such as Healthcare, Automotive Manufacturing, Transport, Real Estate, Technology Manufacturing, and Utilities will drive this growth.
This growth in IoT will call for greater collaboration among technical engineers and chief information officers (CIOs) and greater consolidation of technologies within companies to establish a high-quality data-sharing ecosystem.
BYOD to increase use of enterprises mobile apps
Introducing and driving greater mobility in business operations is certainly on the forefront of companies’ radar. Mobile devices are now the first screen of preference for customers and employees alike. The concept of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), is currently gaining much prevalence. Going forward, to capitalize on the advantages of BYOD, new corporate policies will be implemented for mobile devices in an effort to streamline the non-uniformity associated with BYOD.
As mobility is utilized to drive growth, maintaining data security is a concern. Accordingly, the focus going forward is to implement stringent monitoring processes to preserve the security of information shared across portals.
(Xchanging offers business processing, technology and procurement services to international customers across multiple industries)

Feb 3 2014