In current times of austerity budgets are under pressure, with only £1 of every £5 being spent on moving technology forward, and a continuing focus on cost cutting. This ‘80/20 rule’ is particularly problematic in the current climate, as companies recognise that even keeping up with the curve requires movements toward new technologies.
Innovations in the areas of cloud and mobile/remote access are actively changing the ways services are delivered into the enterprise, resulting in widespread changes in business process and strategy. With the rise of remote storage and mobile network access to near-ubiquity, investment in security innovation is also a must-have, one that can, on the surface, seem incompatible with other needs.
With ever-wider adoption of new technologies and ways of working, innovation and new tools are crucial. Without investments of time and resources, keeping up with the changes needed in strategy, data security, and general business practice, is extremely difficult. Remote access and storage, recently considered specialised tools, are now a part of daily business life.
For 2012 to realise its potential as the Year of the Technology Leader, companies need to reject false choices. Rather than choosing between, for example, security and empowerment, they need to recognise that the new ubiquity of mobile access and remote storage has made empowerment a feature of contemporary business life.
This, in turn, makes security investment a must-have for companies that hope to succeed. Rather than spending to maintain a status quo, creating employee discontent and security threats, companies need to invest in innovation, creating empowered employees and secure systems for the long term.
Companies must balance commercial needs and avoid tensions between control and empowerment if they are to thrive in 2012. There is no need to sacrifice innovation in the name of budgetary control or limit security and control of data in order to achieve employee autonomy.
Of course, the solution to technology tensions will look different for every company that takes on the challenge: regulatory climates, personnel, and IT structure are all considerations. There are also wide variations in the general ‘shape’ of the business. Some businesses have large numbers of mobile, remote, or flexible workers, or have a need for mobile working which is not being met. These are the ones with the most acute mobility needs, but all businesses will need to move, to stay ahead of the rapidly changing ‘norm.’
In order to realise the potential of 2012, business leaders need to act now, with the future in mind. As such, applying a high value approach to the following key elements of the IT landscape in 2012 is paramount to the success of each individual organisation:
- Re-align priorities toward adoption and effective use of remote working and remote storage
- Invest in appropriate new technologies to smooth this transition, looking to position their own businesses with or ahead of the new best practice
- Involve strategic upper management in technology decisions, making technology investment a part of strategy discussions
- Actively cultivate and train new technology leadership, combining long-term strategic planning skills with ‘hard’ technology skills
Those who do not realign toward innovation now put their future competitiveness at risk. Without a focus on innovation now, companies will face larger investment requirements in the future, when a better economy will mean a faster move forward.