BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - With the holiday season in full swing and the new year only weeks away, chief information officers are making their lists and checking them twice to determine which key information technology initiatives will take flight in 2008. Verizon Business has identified ten business technology trends that are driving those New Year's "resolutions."
"As a leader and trusted partner delivering communications and computing solutions to global enterprises, we know that CIOs are up at night charting the course for their IT organizations," said Nancy Gofus, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Business. "They're responding to the business challenges of their enterprises -- solving technical problems, boosting the efficiency of their organizations, wringing costs out of the business -- delivering business benefits that are not merely financial or technical, but environmental as well. We can help our customers gain a competitive edge by unlocking the opportunities associated with the trends, techniques and technologies that will drive their businesses forward in the years ahead."
Here's Verizon Business' list of ten hot trends for 2008:
Successful companies will continue to expand their borders in 2008 with workers, offices and facilities located around the world. While globalization can help multinational companies control costs, new challenges will emerge such as deploying a reliable communications infrastructure, whether an office is located in Seoul, Rio de Janeiro or Rome. Businesses will increasingly require high-performance networks that enable applications designed to run on the corporate campus to also provide a consistent experience and operate securely no matter where users are located or where the applications reside.
Securing the Extended Enterprise
The coming year will see an even greater proliferation of data as companies look to open their boundaries to connect partners, suppliers and customers. More than ever, companies will need to keep track of where their data resides and then develop a strategy to safeguard it. They will also need to protect every end point, application, user and device connected to their networks as well as verify that those connecting to their networks are authorized users. This task will require considerable expertise, especially on a global basis.
Increasingly, converging communications and computing (IT) technologies will be the great enablers to help business and government address global warming by reducing their energy footprints. Use of audio, video and Web conferencing services will more often supersede business travel and reduce carbon emissions while helping increase productivity of employees who are actually working rather than waiting in long airport security lines.
Location-based services integrated into mobile devices and IP-based presence services will also improve the efficiency of field operations by directing delivery drivers and the like to their destinations with greater efficiency and reduced fuel consumption. More consumers and businesses will opt out of paper invoices and statements in favor of electronic options that provide far greater flexibility while saving trees.
Virtualization and On-demand Computing (a.k.a. Computing as a Service)
As companies seek to maximize the efficient use of their infrastructure, achieve their green objectives and strengthen security, no technology holds more promise. Multiple dedicated servers -- which may be underutilized and consume space, power and cooling in the data center -- can now be replaced with virtual servers sharing network-based resources such as common storage. Businesses will continue to adopt this model because it helps them achieve data center consolidation and further reduce expenses. It also allows businesses to respond quickly to changing business needs and paves the way for "computing as a service" where the sharing of the resources are managed in the service provider's network.
Coming soon to a boardroom near you, the next generation of virtual meetings, enabled by immersive video technology, will bring people across the globe together face-to-face without ever having to hit the road. While today's state-of-the-art immersive video equipment is expensive, widely available and ever-more-affordable IP bandwidth will help lower the total cost of these high-end video conferencing solutions.
In addition to internal company gatherings, telepresence will enable meetings with customers, partners and suppliers, and, increasingly, high-end telepresence systems will be able to interoperate with traditional video-conferencing equipment.
While outsourcing is not new, strong adoption is and will continue to be in 2008. What will become even more compelling is out-tasking -- the process by which a company decides which functions to keep in house and which to hand off to a third party. Flexibility, scalability and the ability to achieve higher performance, increased reliability and stronger security will make out-tasking the preferred model. This trend is the result of the growing complexity of managing today's extended network as well as applications such as VoIP and the need for strong mobility and portability capabilities for end users. With out-tasking, companies can focus on what they do best and leave the rest of the IT work to someone else.
Smartphones and Managed Mobility
Professionals will call on their smartphones to work harder in 2008, relying more and more on mobile e-mail, integrated calendars and contacts lists while away from the office. As a result, businesses will spend more on mobile devices and will need to manage and secure numerous devices as part of an overall global enterprise mobility solution. Managed Mobility will become the next frontier, helping businesses track, monitor, secure and manage the mobile devices accessing their corporate networks.
The complexity of managing multiple communications devices will ease dramatically as more companies adopt unified communications to enhance workforce collaboration both in and away from the office. With the increasing prevalence of voice over IP in the workplace has come the ability to streamline communications while enhancing capabilities. These include a single number that reaches you on any device and "rich presence" - enabling individuals to view who is on the network and how best to reach them whether by phone, instant message or e-mail.
Soft phones -- IP-based phones that can plug into any IP network -- can control costs, particularly in this era of globalization where workers may need to connect from home with their colleagues in other regions of the world.
The steady growth of communications technology in our lives has created a "love-hate" relationship with the smart phones and wireless laptops that increasingly blur the lines between the workplace and our personal lives. In 2008, professionals will continue to grapple with achieving a work-life balance. Telecommuting is one useful option. Meanwhile, businesses face the challenge of securing their data in a mobile work environment while also providing the collaboration and mobility tools their workforce needs to get the job done virtually anywhere. Secure Socket Layer (SSL)-based remote access solutions will help businesses meet this challenge.
The CIO as Business Strategist
CIOs will take on an even more pivotal role in determining how to invest capital most effectively to help their companies reduce costs, increase productivity and achieve a wide range of corporate objectives. CIOs also will be responsible for making supply-chain management decisions and environmental improvements. Today's successful organization is reaching new heights through the tight integration of business and technology. By presenting a strategic point of view from the technology side, CIOs have become today's top business strategists, and with this comes a change in the boardroom.
"To these predictions," concluded Gofus, "We will add one more: Businesses worldwide will begin to rely more heavily on Verizon Business and other global communications providers to help navigate these challenging waters and deliver a comprehensive suite of integrated, communications and IT solutions, including managed and professional services that enable them to focus on their core business."
About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), is a leading provider of advanced communications and information technology (IT) solutions to large-business and government customers worldwide. Combining unsurpassed global network reach with advanced communications, security and other professional service capabilities, Verizon Business delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world. For more information, visit www.verizonbusiness.com.