While cloud computing ostensibly makes us more efficient, it has yet to make us omniscient. However, key trends are emerging that merit attention in 2014 to fully leverage the power of the cloud, particularly by effectively managing project and application portfolios. Those organizations that can capitalize on the potential that these trends promise for businesses will be ahead of the curve going into 2014 and beyond.
Optimization, Innovation and Integration
The year ahead is likely to bring a continued and renewed focus on the alignment of application development and strategic business goals. As competition in all industries and markets continues to intensify, smart businesses will recognize the value that IT and Portfolio Management functions bring to the organization, rather than focusing solely on costs. In lieu of reduced spending, companies will once again focus more investments around cloud application offerings like Application Portfolio and Project portfolio solutions. We also believe that by implementing projects, resource management, and portfolio management solutions within the cloud, companies will continue to prosecute increased visibility and meaningful operational views to run the business. Nothing earth-shattering here; we think it will be more of the same but with a laser focus on process improvements.
Finally, while it seems like a simple idea, achieving these outputs can be elusive amidst multiple mergers and acquisitions: Knowledge workers should be allowed to work in environments that enable the most productivity. Integrating critical business systems such as Agile (News - Alert) Solutions and ERP systems with existing solutions in the cloud will be a key ingredient in improving efficiency and productivity, contributing significantly to the overall success of companies.
Apps and Mobile Redefining IT
We’ve moved from an era of homogeneity to heterogeneity. The focus is no longer on hardware and operating systems; our lives are run now by applications, and the platform delivery is secondary. Visionary companies like Amazon, Apple (News - Alert) and Google have changed the way we consume applications, creating a wave of demand for intuitive user-friendliness. This expectation is now translating into similar requirements for easier-to-use, faster-to-deploy IT enterprise offerings. Complex is out, simple is in, and the cloud is the place where common platforms, security, storage and functionality can converge to meet these demands.
At the same time, the increased mobility generated by our app-centric culture is driving a new definition of a “Knowledge Worker.” Eventually, entire industries will be redefined, as the post-PC era results in the creation of 1.3 billion Knowledge Workers in the next five years alone. We are currently in an explosive phase which we believe will continue for many years. The new application-based technologies that are being developed to take advantage of knowledge workers’ skills and the power of the cloud will create abundant opportunities we can all take advantage of—including IT departments.
The Role of the CIO Continues to Evolve
Business processes are becoming increasingly complex. Applications are no longer standalone solutions, but composites of many interdependent IT applications and services. To effectively navigate this environment, CIOs will have to act as shamans, leading the right development for the right business reasons. This will be a continued area of focus and improvement.
In a dramatic and strategic shift, they will move from being optimizers of processes to managers of portfolios. Cloud-based solutions will be an important component in providing the transparency and visibility into interdependencies, progress and metrics that CIOs will demand. The stakes are high, because CIOs will not only be held accountable for the successful execution of projects or application work, but also for the return on IT investments by portfolio. We see this event as a major shift over the next several years.
Exciting Trends, Extraordinary Opportunities
As these trends illustrate, 2014 and the next three to five years will bring some of the most challenging and innovative opportunities that technology and marketplaces have to offer. They will almost certainly put pressure on both IT departments, (and vendors who sell to IT), to evolve in order to survive and thrive. Those who are ready to take advantage of the new paradigms will be inspired by these challenges to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead. Those who don't, risk compromising their competitive edge in an environment where it’s more important now to compete effectively.Fortunately, cultivating an awareness of how the world is changing around us, and an appreciation for the almost infinite possibilities and answers to challenges that the future holds, are the beginnings of achieving great accomplishments. By keeping an eye on these key trends, 2014 can be a year of improved efficiency, value, and impact of increased productivity for organizations.
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