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Top Six IT Trends Impacting Business Networks

David Eisner

For decades, IT followed business. Even the development of the World Wide Web didn't move this development much beyond the four walls of corporate offices — outside connections were essential but never informed the growth of business-critical technology.

Now the growth of public clouds, enterprise-grade social networking and mobile device use in the workforce is creating a new paradigm, one where business networks are reactive to IT trends — here are six that are set to impact companies this year.

The Reverse Enterprise

According to an August 21 article from Diginomica, one critical trend is the development of an "outside-in" IT enterprise. This kind of IT environment focuses on interactions and data sources outside the enterprise itself to drive IT forward. Big data is a good example — some of the most valuable data a company can obtain comes from users and stakeholders outside the corporate office. Accessing this data means moving at the speed of consumers; that is, creating a business network that is able to handle the influx of social, personal and real-time data generated by users and customers, then analyze and respond to that data.

BYOE

Short for "bring your own everything," this is an evolution of the "bring your own device" (BYOD) trend that has been gaining ground in recent years. While some IT departments still choose to limit what kinds of smartphones or tablets are permitted access to company networks, many are embracing a "whatever works" mentality, vetting and approving devices on an as-needed basis. For the business network, this means prepping for the bandwidth needed by mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) tools. It's critical to track, control and in some cases limit the use of business-critical apps, which requires an infrastructure backbone capable of supporting a wide range of app monitoring tools.

The Rise of Hybrid

Research firm Gartner, meanwhile, predicts that hybrid clouds will continue to gain steam. The company notes that "mastery over hybrid IT eludes all but a few enterprises," and makes the case for cloud service brokers that will emerge to provide hybrid infrastructure on-demand. In many cases, IT professionals already chafe at the confines of private clouds or are looking to leverage the sheer compute power of private alternatives — hybrid offers a middle ground between throughput and control. Full commitment is required to achieve measurable ROI on this IT trend.

Digital/Physical Convergence

A recent Accenture report highlights the convergence of digital and physical technologies, most notably via the Internet of Things (IoT). But long before this new network becomes the de facto business standard, companies need to deal with the intersection of physical and digital technology. Employees are already wearing smartwatches to work and leveraging technologies like Google Glass. If enterprises don't make room for this technology in business networks, they risk missing valuable data sources and hampering productivity.

All Hail the Browser

Cloud-based technology is also having an impact on the way enterprise applications are consumed. Instead of apps residing on desktops or local servers, they're migrating to Web browsers. This trend is enabled by the rise of HTML5 and the scalability of cloud services — why rely on fixed resources when they can be scaled up on demand? Business networks must be prepared to accommodate this shift.

Service Shift

Another critical shift is the move from IT to self-service-based technology solutions. When the cloud is just a click away, technology naturally democratizes, changing the role of IT admins from overseers to colleagues with essential expertise. This shift changes the nature of the business network from controlled to managed and drives companies to create holistic network policies.

IT now drives business network decisions. Through the rest of 2014, expect to see the rise of six key trends: reverse enterprises, BYOE, hybrid clouds, digital/physical convergence, in-browser enterprise apps and the democratization of IT service.

By David Eisner, President & CEO at Dataprise, Inc He founded Dataprise in 1995 and has led its growth from tiny start-up to recognized leader in providing managed IT services to small and medium-size businesses. Visit Page
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