The Year in Review: Where Business is Headed and What Tools You Need to Stay Competitive


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2012 was a year of tremendous change in business technology. Despite plenty of economic challenges, technology adoption continued its march forward unabated. This brief paper from Focus reviews 2012's business landscape and developments and sets predictions for the years ahead.

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The Year in Review: Where Business is Headed and What Tools You Need to Stay Competitive

  1. 1. The Year in Review: Where Business Is Headed and What Tools YouNeed to Stay Competitive Sponsored by:Focus Research ©2012 All Rights Reserved
  2. 2. The Year in Review: Where Business Is Headed and What Tools You Need to Stay CompetitiveThe Changing Nature of Business2012 was a year of tremendous change in business technology. Despite plenty of economic challenges, technology adoption continued itsmarch forward unabated. In the past, business technology investment and adoption has been tightly coupled with economic cycles. Whentimes are good, companies invest in technology and find new ways to put technology to use. When times are bad, these same companiesslow investment and adoption.2012 year was different though. While economic uncertainty remained the top concern for businesses, the pace of technology changeat most companies only accelerated. A number of business dynamics effectively decoupled technology adoption from the predominanteconomic cycle in 2012. At a high level, these dynamics have created a new way of doing business over the last couple of years. • Business as we know it is fundamentally changing. It’s evolving to be more collaborative and social as companies come to understand the benefits of collaboration. More effective collaboration among employees is yielding tremendous productivity improvements, while collaboration with customers is translating into directly attributable revenue growth. Much of this change stems from the way people create, share, and consume information in their personal lives. Personal media, communication and technology habits are having a profound impact on how people work. • The ubiquitous nature of social media platforms and technologies are creating a new set of expectations among professionals when it comes to the technology they use at work. For example, the exceptional design and user experience of many social media tools has changed what users want from business technology. Market research now shows that user experience ranks as the top evaluation criteria for many business technology purchases. • Organizations are becoming leaner and more nimble. Executives are building what might be called more resilient organizations by minimizing upfront capital outlays, emphasizing time-to-market cycles and creating flexible workforces. One example of the leaner, more nimble organization at work is how the Internet has made modular, mobile workforces a reality for many companies. This type ofThe Year in Review: Where Business Is Headed and What Tools You Need to Stay Competitive Focus Research ©2012 2
  3. 3. workforce is proving to be cost-effective, highly specialized and also available on demand. The benefits are so compelling that IDC estimates that 37.2 percent of the global workforce will be mobile in 2015. • Previously scarce technology has become remarkably abundant. Whether it’s software as a service (SaaS), cloud computing, open source or ad-sponsored software, most of the technology that a business needs is available at an extremely low cost compared with historical standards. With hardware, software, bandwidth and storage costing 10 percent of what it did 10 years ago, any size business can now take advantage of enterprise-class applications and services to support all of the major business functions. This is true even during uncertain economic times. • An abundance of technology has created an abundance of information. The volume of business data generated by all the world’s companies is estimated to double every 1.2 years. While some companies are struggling to deal with sheer volume of data being generated, many are using simple technologies to leverage data to make better business decisions. In short, the proliferation of technology is creating a massive amount of data, which will in turn require companies to adopt more technology.The Current State of Business TechnologyThe aforementioned business dynamics are changing the nature of work and accelerating the adoption of new technologies that are purpose-built for these changes. This change is happening at a torrid pace. IDC estimates that spending on enterprise social software will growapproximately 42 percent a year over the next 4 years with spending hitting $4.5B in 2016. With the enterprise software market only growingat 4 percent a year right now, the growth of social collaboration software is remarkable in comparison.While the changing nature of work is playing a leading role in this new wave of technology adoption, dissatisfaction with existing tools is alsoforcing change. Recent research highlights how many organizations remain constrained by legacy technologies such as email: • 57 percent of professionals use email as their primary tool to communicate with colleagues. Only 9 percent use social collaboration platforms regularly. • 48 percent of respondents are spending more than 2 hours a day on email, and 40 percent receive more than 50 emails per day.The Year in Review: Where Business Is Headed and What Tools You Need to Stay Competitive Focus Research ©2012 3
  4. 4. • Only 34 percent of professionals are able to respond to all of their emails on a daily basis. 44 percent of respondents say email is the greatest obstacle to efficiency. • When it comes to document management and collaboration, 40 percent of users are saving documents only on their computers. • 60 percent of professionals believe that there are better tools available to improve efficiency and collaboration.It’s statistics like these that show the huge gap between the changing nature of work and the technology available to professionals in the workplace.5 Fundamental Technology TrendsChanges in the way people work and dissatisfaction with existing tools are, of course, a harbinger of changes yet to come. Companiesinterested in adopting technology that matches and supports how people in their organization are working should pay close attention to andinvest in the following 5 technologies: 1. Collaboration platforms The collaborative work environment is creating acute demand for new “GoToMeeting with HDFaces video conferencing collaboration platforms like web conferencing and social work platforms. And clearly email leaves many professionals looking for more effective eliminates a lot of the barriers that happen on ways to communicate and share information with each other. There are a impersonal conference calls. Without video, people number of requirements that organizations should look for when evaluating can put each other on mute or do some other collaboration tools, including: support for both internal and external collaboration; ease of implementation and ongoing use; the ability to task, because nobody knows. You lose a lot of integrate with existing modes of communication, processes and workflow; productivity. Now we know who’s paying attention. and support for a highly distributed, diverse group of users. We can see what people are doing.” 2. Cloud computing The move to cloud computing continues. While security remains a concern Eliza A. Fendell for some companies, the benefits of the cloud model grossly outweigh Senior Vice President, Culture, Aeropost Network the risks. Cloud computing can deliver enterprise-class functionality andThe Year in Review: Where Business Is Headed and What Tools You Need to Stay Competitive Focus Research ©2012 4
  5. 5. technology to any business that wants it, regardless of size. Hosted applications deliver particularly compelling benefits as they make formerly advanced capabilities available to small and medium size businesses. Some of these capabilities are truly transformative. For example, many companies are now able to take advantage of things like mobile computing as a result of the cloud. Cloud computing also delivers secondary benefits such as reducing total cost of ownership and faster adoption and implementation cycles. 3. Mobility Mobility is one of today’s top technology trends. According to CompTIA, 85 percent of executives work remotely at least occasionally, and 53 percent work remotely frequently. Reliable access, the proliferation of tablets and app development are making mobility a true and sometimes preferred alternative to working from the office. That means that employees and customers must be able to interact with a company’s employees and applications using a mobile device. While large enterprises will spend an estimated $174B on mobility in 2017, most companies are better off investing in applications and solutions that natively support mobile end users. Fortunately, many collaboration platforms ship with native mobile applications. 4. The consumerization of IT “Everybody’s predicting that within the next few years, Almost every business professional is now a regular user of information technology thanks to the ubiquitous nature of the Internet even in their every salesperson will have some type of tablet. personal lives. This has led to a profound change in business technology Using GoToMeeting to start an online meeting from a as employees recalibrate their expectations of the technology they use at work. With the consumerization of IT, organizations must be certain to invest tablet or smartphone would be amazing. I definitely in technology that is available on demand without lengthy implementation foresee us doing that, especially because we are cycles. Companies must also emphasize usability when evaluating creating mobile apps for our own software.” new technologies. This is particularly true in areas such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, collaboration, productivity and human resources software, where large numbers of employees without Steven Heffter specific training use software on a regular basis. CTO, Proposal Software 5. Big data and big information Big data (or more generally big information) has the potential to enable better business decisions. The Internet, new forms of collaboration and technology that captures an increasingly large amount of data are exposing data and information to companies at an ever-increasing rate. While the initial wave of information and data can seem overwhelming, the benefits of making decisions based onThe Year in Review: Where Business Is Headed and What Tools You Need to Stay Competitive Focus Research ©2012 5
  6. 6. more information can be significant. It’s important for organizations to adopt technologies that allow them to collect, share and analyze information in an easy and scalable manner. Thinking about how the average employee would prefer to interact with and leverage such information is a good starting point for most companies.ConclusionCompanies are using these five business technologies to transform how they do business. While technology changes of this magnitude canat times seem daunting, the upside these technologies offer is tremendous when managed properly. New markets, engaged employees andbetter decision-making are just a few of the benefits that these business technologies are already delivering to companies.About CitrixCitrix Systems, Inc. is transforming how people, businesses and IT work and collaborate in the cloud era. Its portfolio of GoTo cloud servicesenable people to work from anywhere with anyone by providing simple-to-use cloud-based collaboration, remote access and IT supportsolutions for every type of business. Learn more at and Year in Review: Where Business Is Headed and What Tools You Need to Stay Competitive Focus Research ©2012 6