As companies around the globe position themselves for economic recovery, Verizon Business has identified 10 business technology trends that will help companies grow their business in 2010.
"As economic conditions continue to improve, we are ready to help our client partners take advantage of pent-up growth opportunities," said Kerry Bailey, chief marketing officer for Verizon Business. "Whether it's enabling digital medical records, supporting smart grid energy-conservation initiatives, helping retailers secure transactions, or creating new opportunities for global financial trading, our global solutions can provide a solid foundation for business innovation and success in the coming year."
Here's Verizon Business' list of 10 hot trends that will help move business forward in 2010:
Enterprise Social Networking
Social networks will spread further in the workplace, taking collaboration to a new level. As the lines between professional and personal communications become increasingly blurred, IT leaders will need to incorporate enterprise social networking into their overall unified communications and collaboration strategy. Enterprise-grade versions of Facebook, Twitter and Wikis in the workplace will begin to be as common as e-mail and will change the way business is conducted. As a result, the decision-making process will be accelerated, customers will receive immediate answers, and workers will be more empowered than ever.
Aiming for the 'Clouds'
Cloud computing -whether public or private -- is enabling businesses to move to a new and more efficient IT model. It is allowing enterprises to use computing resources (network, server, storage) on-demand and to serve applications centrally. With security and performance enterprise-ready, the 'cloud' is enabling businesses to be more agile, more productive and more flexible. Businesses also benefit from lower IT, energy and real estate costs through data center virtualization.
"360 Security" will become a well-known term as businesses and government agencies apply security across the cloud, the edges of their networks, and for specific devices whether over the Internet or via a private network. A 360-degree focus on security requires more than just securing applications or corporate networks. It's a continual process that involves doing lots of little things well to protect information from being compromised. Also essential is the need for enterprises to factor in risk management and to understand where data resides, whether in motion or at rest, inside or outside of the corporate network. In short, IT leaders must have the answer to this question: "Do you know where your data is?"
Mobilizing the Workforce: From Telework to Telepresence
From telework to telepresence, the ability to collaborate via wired and wireless technology embodies the modern workplace. According to a Forrester Research report, "Enterprise Mobile User Forecast: Mobile Wannabes Are the Fastest-Growing Segment," 397.1 million workers will be enterprise mobile users by 2012. More companies will deploy mobile applications in a structured, secure environment to help spur productivity and innovation.
The extended enterprise - which consists of a business and its employees, customers, suppliers and partners - is a growing trend requiring an IT architecture that enables companies to deliver services and applications to anyone, anywhere, on any device, at any time, and to do it seamlessly, reliably and securely. Borderless businesses are embracing the use of video, collaborative applications and other networked services and delivering them across the enterprise, using technology that can more easily be managed and scaled.
High IQ Networks Fueling a Smart Economy
As Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg recently observed, "The key to a smart economy is smart technology that can change business models and society." Smart networks - featuring classes of service and application-aware capabilities - will be a platform for business growth in 2010. Businesses will adopt more cloud-based technologies, enabling them to provide functions ranging from automated supply chains that speed purchase-to-pay cycles while reducing the environmental impact of paper bills, to Web-based contact centers that allow customers to "tweet" in real-time with online service agents. Businesses will employ smart networks to their competitive advantage by utilizing on-demand bandwidth as a way to allocate resources where and when needed to operate more nimbly and cost-effectively.
The Focus Will Be on Green
Businesses and consumers will continue to embrace energy efficiency in the workplace and at home. Green supply chains will be enabled by supply chain automation -- eliminating the need to produce and transfer paper bills, and businesses will choose their partners more selectively as more companies set carbon reduction goals. As businesses and consumers become more conservation conscious, home-energy management will become an important area of opportunity for utility companies to employ smart-grid technology. Advanced communications and information technology will provide the underlying foundation for a more eco-friendly society by contributing to smarter grids, enabling telework to reduce traffic and decreasing the need for energy-hungry facilities while helping local, state and federal government agencies to better manage scarce resources.
Seeing Is Believing
The advent of more video communications in the workplace will drive greater return on collaboration investment, higher productivity and improved overall business performance. With more companies conducting IP-based video meetings via telepresence and on the desktop, organizations will be able to enhance decision-making to improve their results. This technology will fuel a culture of collaboration as workers increasingly meet face-to-face with their executive leadership, peers, customers and business partners. Video will continue to gain popularity as a vehicle for two-way communications as companies continue to embrace the cost-savings, productivity and environmental benefits of virtual meetings. In addition, video will also play an important role delivering on-demand content that can be viewed anywhere, anytime.
More Wireless Apps, Especially Machine to Machine
As organizations continue to embrace wireless, businesses will be empowered by the wireless technology that offers higher and higher speeds. Using wireless, companies can develop innovative new applications that get them closer to their customers, their employees and their partners. Machines will be better able to communicate with each other and make "smart" decisions - such as redistributing energy resources or alerting a bottling company warehouse to refill a soda machine as specific brands become depleted. Other examples: a waiter taking a diner's order and simultaneously sending it to the kitchen, a physician electronically sending a patient's prescription to the pharmacy, or a store clerk who instantly checks the inventory for a customer.
In addition to planning for short-term expansion, businesses will make decisions in 2010 that will fuel their future growth. IP-based investments -- such as unified communications, cloud computing and software as a service -- will continue to provide the platform to enable successful business practices. In 2009, businesses learned how to do more with less. Applying 20/20 hindsight and lessons learned will inspire the 2010 technology decisions that will help businesses work harder and more efficiently for the next decade. In the process, businesses will work better and more effectively to create a positive impact on the global economy and society.