Supply chain analysts forecast new global challenges

“Tech Trends 2011: The Natural Convergence of Business and IT,” groups the technologies into two categories: “(Re)emerging Enablers,” which is described as five technologies that many CIOs have spent time, thought and resources on in the past, and “Disruptive Deployments,” five additional technologies that showcase new business models and transformative ways to operate.
By SCMR Staff
March 29, 2011 - SCMR Editorial

Deloitte has issued a new report identifying 10 disruptive and emerging technologies that are expected to play a crucial role in how businesses will operate globally over the next 18 months.

“With 2011 well underway, CIOs should be evaluating the progress made on their New Year’s resolutions and taking full advantage of technologies that have the ability to dramatically improve and advance their business operations and decision-making,” said Mark White, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and a co-author of the report. “We have evaluated, industry-wide, what is working and what is not when it comes to IT and have identified 10 technologies that are likely to transform the enterprise over the next 18 months.”

Deloitte’s report, “Tech Trends 2011: The Natural Convergence of Business and IT,” groups the technologies into two categories: “(Re)emerging Enablers,” which is described as five technologies that many CIOs have spent time, thought and resources on in the past, and “Disruptive Deployments,” five additional technologies that showcase new business models and transformative ways to operate. The 10 technologies are:

(Re)Emerging Enablers:
• Almost Enterprise Applications: Quick and agile solutions like the cloud and Software- and Platform-as-a-Service (SaaS, PaaS) appeal to the business, but are they “enterprise enough” for IT? Almost enterprise applications are being eagerly embraced by many business leaders, and CIOs should get in front of this democratization and self-service trend.
• CIOs as Revolutionaries: With the cloud, social computing and mobility shaking up business models and transforming how business is done, the technology agenda should be considered as tantamount to the business agenda—and CIOs are the executives positioned to pull them into alignment.
• Cyber Intelligence: While it still may be necessary to build a rapid detect-and-respond cyber security function, organizations should consider going beyond adding tools to learn and adapt, protect against upstream threats, and connect the internal and external dots to assess probable risks, and in the process move from reactive to proactive.
• End of Death of ERP: ERP can be an enabler of tomorrow’s innovations, not a fading footnote of yesterday’s legacy. Organizations are still able to tap ERP applications to transform processes with reduced risk — at a lower cost and at a quicker pace.
• Visualization: Visualization deserves a fresh look given the evolution of the underlying tools and the rich potential represented by unstructured data. It can provide a new way to tap into millions of internal emails, instant messages and documents, as well as trillions of social media objects, Twitter tweets, text messages, blogs and other content of potential concern or opportunity for the enterprise.
Disruptive Deployments:
• Applied Mobility: New mobile solutions are being designed to serve the full spectrum of transactional, analytical and social computing capabilities, and present the opportunity for organizations to define real and lasting value in applied mobility solutions and business enablement. This could be the year that businesses will truly begin harnessing these features into rich, yet simple and intuitive applications to solve real business problems.
• Capability Clouds: Capability clouds have the potential to move beyond the building blocks of capacity clouds to deliver finished services that can address business objectives and enterprise goals. CIOs should be prepared to answer how they leverage the ecosystem of capabilities, services and value networks delivered by the cloud.
• Real Analytics: As the economy resets, analytics can offer improved visibility to help companies drive operational efficiencies. Analytics can also offer an opportunity for growth by helping companies in their efforts to address heart-of-the-business questions that can guide decisions, yield new insights and help predict what’s next.
• Social Computing: As more of our personal and professional lives are transacted via technology, rich trails of preferences, opinions and behaviors are being created. Beyond the immediate benefits of empowering stake-holders, this “digital exhaust” can be mined, providing a rich source of insight on market positioning.
• User Engagement: The proliferation of consumer and Internet technologies has raised expectations for IT tools at work, and can empower employees to find new insights and improve how business occurs. Enterprises should seek to learn and understand how to turn newly-connected consumers into new revenue channels and identify ways they can empower employees to better connect dots and improve efficiency and effectiveness.

“It’s evident that the next 18 months will be pivotal for widespread adoption of technologies such as cloud, social computing, analytics and mobile technologies,” said Bill Briggs, director, Deloitte Consulting LLP and co-author of the report. “Whether they are re-emerging enablers that are already somewhat at play at large among enterprises or disruptive deployments that offer new, transformative ways for organizations to operate, CIOs should keep ahead of these trends to help generate top returns not just of IT, but the business of the business.”

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About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. Patrick covers international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. Contact Patrick Burnson

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