Seven Trends to Watch in 2013

By Samuel Greengard  |  Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 14:50 PM

By Samuel Greengard

Today's rapidly changing business and IT environment demands new ways to stay competitive and productive. Here are some of the strategic trends that will shape IT departments in 2013 and beyond.

  1. The digital office goes mainstream. Smartphones and tablets have become the new PCs. They're ushering in an era of digital connectedness that requires IT departments to rethink everything. During the coming year, many IT executives will begin to connect the dots to better harness the collective power of digital tools and systems.

  2. Pixels replace paper. The digital office is finally making it possible to crumple the paper jam. We've had PDF files for years, but personal clouds, tools such as Apple's Passbook, and emerging digital wallets and payment systems tied to mobile devices and e-mail are finally pushing things to the tipping point.

  3. Enterprise app stores rule. This one is a no-brainer. If you're a medium to large enterprise and you don't already operate an app store, you're behind the technology curve. Today's BYOD (bring your own device) culture and a growing need for governance and security make an app store essential.

  4. The industrial Internet emerges. The number of Internet-connected devices has skyrocketed over the last few years. Gartner predicts that the number will hit 30 billion by 2020. New software and systems promise to connect planes, trains, automobiles, industrial systems, medical devices, and just about everything else to provide new insights and opportunities.

  5. Personal clouds take over the enterprise. Let's face it, the BYOD genie is out of the bottle. At the center of all this is the mingling of personal and enterprise data. Savvy business and IT executives understand that they must support this new work model, find ways to interconnect data more effectively, and confront both the risks and opportunities that personal clouds represent.

  6. 3D printing takes shape. The technology promises to revolutionize a wide swath of industries, including medical equipment, household goods, food and even musical instruments. The price of 3D printers is dropping rapidly, and the technology is improving steadily.

  7. IT on-demand gets real. Cloud computing and a rapidly evolving Internet are driving a new model for IT that includes IT as a service (ITaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). As organizations consider ways to dial up and scale back infrastructure and services more dynamically, these approaches offer a dollars-and-"sense" way to become more agile.