IT strategy to-do list for the New Year

A look back and a look ahead reveal some important IT strategy tips for cloud, business intelligence and social, to use in the coming year.

As this is my final CIO Matters column for the year, I will use this as an opportunity to recap some of the IT strategy highlights of 2012 and take a look ahead to what promises to be a very interesting 2013.

Scot PetersenScot Petersen

1. First off, this year I started saying "twenty twelve" for 2012, and will continue this in "twenty thirteen," not "two thousand thirteen," and I encourage all of you to do the same. Think of all the time, energy and words you will save!

2. SearchCIO.com's and SearchCIO-Midmarket.com's CIO dinner series was a big success this year, and we have eight more (New York [2], Boston, Chicago, Toronto, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco) scheduled for next year. As was the case in every city this year, the most interesting comments came from the guests -- the IT leaders themselves -- rather than the host (yours truly) or the sponsors (no offense to them in particular). For instance, in our talk on "big data" in Chicago in September, one CIO said he would rather concern himself with "big decisions." So, that inspired me to come up with one resolution for 2013: No technology decisions will be made until one knows exactly what one want to accomplish.

3. The emerging technologies that will change your business in the future are already in your enterprise. SearchCIO-Midmarket site editor Wendy Schuchart put together an interesting recap of a Gartner session on technology trends, but look closely and you'll realize there's not a lot new there. Mobile, cloud and analytics are here already. What will be new is how you use those technologies to be more efficient and to bring more value to your business. For instance, Gartner analyst David Cearley says, "By 2015, in more than 70% of enterprises, a single executive will oversee all Internet-connected entities. That will require CIOs to work toward orchestrating those efforts rather than owning them." Indeed, as we have discussed in many articles this year, the IT leader and the IT department are really what will be evolving next year and in the coming years, and becoming more strategic, more focused, and more integrated into the business.

4. Big data, part 2. Companies like IBM are saying such things as that 15 million gigabytes of new data are generated every day, most of which is unstructured: for instance, tweets, Facebook "likes," comments and feedback, and texts, which cannot easily be analyzed. But amid the push to get big data tools at all costs, ask these questions: What can my business accomplish with big data? Is this something only giant multinationals can really use? What's in it for businesses of different sizes and in different industries? And new technologies for collecting, organizing and governing data are interesting, but once that's accomplished, how are we supposed to make the best decisions about that data? How do we know what data is the right data?

5. Watch out for social media backlash. I say this every year, but that's because every year I see new evidence of information overload, and more specifically, useless information overload. A very thoughtful column by Adam Brault is worth reading by anyone who is part of the social media multiverse. Brault, a longtime tweeter and veteran of more than 12,000 tweets, quit cold turkey for a month in November, and it changed his life. He said "I used to believe that time was the most important thing I have, but I've come to believe differently. The single most valuable resource I have is uninterrupted thought." That is excellent food for thought, and, if I were running the world, Twitter and Facebook vacations for everyone would be mandatory. Brault has since returned to Twitter, but he is the wiser for it.

6. Happy holidays and the best "twenty thirteen" to you and yours.

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