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The end of business as we know it

Andrew Milroy | Jan. 6, 2012
The inversion of the relationship between technology and business will become clear in 2012. Cloud computing, mobility and social media will drive this trend. Each of these trends is a major disruptive force in all industries.

Private clouds will mainly appear in the form of internal clouds that replicate the offerings of infrastructure-as-a-service vendors. Many large organisations will engage in data centre transformation projects or build new data centres in order to offer business units access to IT resources. Chargeback mechanisms will be built in, resources will be accessed via browsers and apps and the benefits associated with scalability and rapid provisioning will be integrated. These internal clouds will have most of the characteristics of public clouds.

Cloud computing will have a profound impact on the way businesses operate. The cloud model will engender innovation as well as giving businesses an opportunity to enhance existing business processes, thus making themselves more competitive.

#2 Cloud Computing will Drive Mobile Computing

In 2012, more smartphones and tablets will be shipped than PCs and laptops. These devices will continue to offer much richer functionality to the extent that they will displace PCs in many business areas. Already, tablets are being used by frontline staff, who previously used laptops, for example, sales staff in car dealerships. It is the provision of cloud services that is leading to the huge growth in mobile-specific applications and other applications that run on smartphones and tablets. Executives will also drive the move to 'Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) as they seek to use their mobile devices in their workplaces. This transition to mobile devices in business environments will be reinforced as other workers follow suit in 2012.

The combination of mobile technology and cloud computing will drive change in business. For example, these technologies will make the provision of point of care solutions in the healthcare sector commonplace. In the airline industry, these technologies will lead to much more self service. The full service airlines will emulate self service check-in activities that are typical for many low cost carriers. In fact, self service will become widespread across many industries. Where possible, business will seek to use cloud computing and mobile technology to enable self service.

#3 Social Media will be Widely Integrated into Business Activities

In several Asia Pacific countries, more than half of the working population uses social media. In spite of this development, Asian businesses have taken a very conservative stance towards the use of social media. Most Asian businesses have been more focused on blocking employee access to social media rather than viewing it as a new and powerful way of engaging with customers and other stakeholders. Asian companies have also been cautious in their use of social media because best practice in the use of social media has not been established.

Nevertheless, Asian organisations have started to recognise the importance of Online Reputation Management (ORM). For example, ICICI Bank in India has used social media as a means of understanding customer sentiment towards their brand, product and services. In turn, it has used social media to determine how to improve the company's reputation and to determine which products and services require most focus in terms of improvement.


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