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IT trends in 2010 included strides in cloud, BI and the data center

IT trends in 2010 included advances in cloud computing, business intelligence, and other applications and services, and in the data center. Read more on IT innovation in this guide.

Enterprise CIOs in 2010 continued to find innovative ways to make strides in their IT shops, even with limited staff resources and strapped budgets. Now it's time to reflect on what worked and what didn't over the past year, as CIOs endeavor to make their organizations more efficient and add to their technology advances in 2011.

Did you follow some of the biggest IT trends in 2010 in such areas as cloud computing, business intelligence, business services and the data center? Catch up on SearchCIO.com's coverage of these areas and more in this guide.

This guide is part of SearchCIO.com's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of the topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefings section.

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  The year in IT innovation
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CIOs who believe that IT innovation has the potential to transform the businesses they work for might want to pay attention to what Kenneth Klepper is doing. The president and chief operating officer of Medco Health Solutions Inc., a fast-growing health care company with close to $60 billion in revenue, Klepper is leading a radical redesign of the company's core business processes, from legacy systems to an agile framework.

As a COO, Klepper does not pretend to have deep IT expertise, but he sees ways of using IT in the business. Over the past two years, he has invented new working groups, shifting IT experts into business units and shaking up reporting lines. He has taken advantage of a tipping point in technology tools to enable business people to engineer their business processes. But what's the key to this ambitious -- and long-term -- business process transformation under way at Medco? According to Klepper, that would be good old-fashioned money.

"The Medco story of transformation is not so much about the technology obstacle, but about how you get funding," said Klepper, who spoke about the company's IT innovation to an audience of CIOs at the recent Forrester CIO Forum 2010 in National Harbor, Md. "IT innovation is ultimately a financial exercise. The technology is kind of interesting, but we see this as an earnings engine."

Learn more in "A COO pushes IT innovation by making it about business value." Also:

  • A CIO's tough-love approach to IT transformation
    For Boston Scientific's CIO, the first step in IT transformation and making IT into a business partner was to tell his managers they weren't as good as they thought they were.
  • How Chevron drives ingenuity
    Should CIOs have innovation strategies? We talk with Chevron's innovation specialist about how the energy giant discovers ingenuity and develops a corporate creative process.
  • Are innovation strategies back on CIOs' agenda?
    After taking a back seat to cost-cutting during the recession, innovation strategies are back on business agendas. Is your strategy in place?
  • IT transformation is on track at Amtrak
    Amtrak's CIO talks about his approach to large- and small-scale business and IT transformation.
  • The importance of communication in IT innovation
    Is your company trying to turn IT innovation into a process? Read about the three levels of innovation and the communication skills required for each.
  • Small IT innovations -- even savvy font management! -- can cut costs
    Do IT innovations need to be big to be effective? Absolutely not. The University of Wisconsin is seeing big cost savings from a simple font switch.
  The year in cloud computing
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Enterprises are using public cloud services and experimenting with private cloud computing to capitalize on time-to-market and efficiency gains. These developments have prompted IT executives to focus on investments and strategies around two service delivery approaches.

By now, most enterprises have begun to use some form of Software as a Service, such as email or customer relationship management, according to Drue Reeves, a vice president and research director with the Burton Group in Midvale, Utah.

"They're already doing that, and are rapidly interested in Infrastructure as a Service, which is the fastest-growing segment of the market," Reeves said.

Find out more in "Public vs. private cloud computing: Which fits your enterprise needs?." Also:

  The year in BI and IT business services
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FedEx Corp. is a prime example of how IT is just one component of the business: There is no question about whether technology will be used for business service development. The only question is how.

From developing its package-status tracking application in 1994 to its latest endeavor, the SenseAware service, the FedEx innovation group, which reports to the technology and marketing departments, resolves customer challenges with technology.

Geared initially to scientists, SenseAware allows customers to track real-time data about their shipments including whether the package has been exposed to light, where it is in the system, and what its temperature is at any given time.

The FedEx innovation team might be responsible for bringing new products and services to market, but everyone at the company "carries responsibility for driving innovation in some form or fashion," a company spokesperson said.

In other words, FedEx doesn't think of IT as an entity unto itself. Technology doesn't lead the charge when the company develops a new service, nor is it an afterthought; instead, it is an integrated business process.

Discover more in "Business service development: Lessons learned from the frontlines." Also:

  The year in the data center
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Driven by the need to consolidate after massive build-outs in the mid-2000s, enterprises are investing in more modular and energy-efficient data center designs. The question, more than ever, is whether it's better to own or rent.

For Angelo Valletta, senior vice president and CIO at Sun National Bank in Vineland, N.J., the issue of data center outsourcing came down to control, flexibility and time to market. He has worked in data centers all his professional life, at one time in a full data-center outsourcing model. His mind is open, but when Sun National ran the ROI, it decided to keep its data center and core banking application in-house.

Renting space in an external data center would have been more of a challenge, requiring navigation through an architecture that Sun National didn't own. "Keeping our core banking application in-house allowed the bank to achieve cost savings and the ability to deliver products and services that our customers demand and require," Valletta said.

By creating a mobile banking application that links to in-house systems and uses the cloud for delivery, the bank was the first community bank to deliver mobile banking to its customers in the markets it serves, according to Valletta.

Learn more in "Data center outsourcing dilemma: CIOs weigh in on owning vs. renting." Also:

  More resources
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