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January 09, 2013

BYOD, Mobile and Cloud Will Make the Biggest Impact on Businesses in 2013

By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

If anything is certain about the technology space this year, it’s that 2013 won’t pass without several exciting developments happening in the industry.

TMCnet recently had the opportunity to catch up with Mark Ricca, partner at IntelliCom Analytics (News - Alert), a provider of market research intelligence and analytics. Ricca believes there are three significant tech trends impacting the way businesses conduct operations today, which are: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), mobility and cloud. 

“In my opinion they’re equal in their potential to positively impact the way business is conducted today, and in the foreseeable future,” Ricca said during a recent interview.

For IntelliCom Analytics, one example of how cloud computing is changing the way the Morristown, N.J.-based business operates is cost savings.

“Time-to-market and cost reduction, avoidance and containment are critical success factors in today’s rapidly moving business environment,” Ricca said. “If the cloud solution and provider are properly selected; meaningful and measureable benefits can be realized.”

Security continues to be a major concern around cloud computing. While apprehensions have been effectively addressed by the market, security remains an obstacle toward widespread adoption.

“Security should be a constant concern to all cloud prospects and customer, and may be a deterrent to some organizations with super-sensitive applications,” explained Ricca. “The Law of Unintended Consequences comes into play here. Cloud computing places intense demands on the need for effective security measures and efficient networks. Most providers of cloud solutions have done a very good job in providing security measures; however intentional and unintentional breaches in security are always at work. Improvements in security must be a constant activity and objective.”

Another major trend has had a significant impact on IntelliCom Analytics is the unprecedented growth of social media. It has changed the way the company manages customers and has opened up new and effective paths to communicate with a wide range of customers and prospects, according to Ricca. 

“In my opinion, we’re still in the early stage of learning how to use social media effectively and measuring its’ ROI…but we’re making progress,” he said. 

“Customer Experience” has become another industry buzzword and 2013 may well become characterized as the Year of Customer Experience. IntelliCom Analytics is taking this notion beyond the hype by improving the company’s customers’ experiences by following best practices, Ricca explained.

“This is a favorite subject of mine…and one that I hope is more than a buzzword for 2013 and beyond. A downside of this rapidly moving world we live in, are the exponential demands placed on our time. Non-stop work activities and multi-tasking are a way-of-life,” he said. “Unfortunately, in many cases these conditions cause us to short-cut creating positive and memorable experiences for our current and prospective customers.”

Ricca said that early in his business career, he received two simple pieces of advice: 1) Take the time to treat everyone you meet, the way you would like to be treated; and 2) Give customers more value than what they believe they paid for. 

Keeping in mind that BYOD is now pervasive and no longer a phenomenon per se, BYOD will continue to influence business policies in 2013 – whether from a security, policy or device or app management perspective.

“I believe that most businesses accept BYOD as a ‘given, and are managing reasonably well. Security and support will always be critical areas to be managed,” Ricca said. “In our business these are viewed as part of the job.”

Another IT trend – Bring Your Own Storage (or rather, Bring Your Own Cloud-based Storage) – is a new issue for many enterprises and solutions providers to deal with.

“This is one of many areas where one solution doesn’t fit all,” Ricca said. “We’re currently addressing our storage requirements through an independent vendor, and it’s working very well.”

Unified communications and VoIP have moved beyond the early adopter phase into the mainstream, however, significant issues still remain that businesses must contend with as they determine when and how to migrate to IP-based communications.

“There are a number of situation-customer specific reasons contributing to this condition. They include: the age, functionality, reliability of the current serving systems; ROI proof points, emerging application requirements and budget availability,” explained Ricca. “Our challenging economy also played a role in slowing down migration to IP/UC. Many CFOs instructed their IT organizations: ‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.’”

The good news is that the installed base of systems is aging and needs to be replaced, he added, and that IP/UC migration will accelerate this year and beyond.

Some analysts contend that 2013 will be the year the laptop dies. But just as smartphones have not replaced laptops, the same will hold true with tablets, Ricca told TMCnet.

“I have difficulty accepting this premise. The number of laptops sold will continue to decline given the array of tablets in the marketplace, but laptops won’t go away,” he said. “Tablets have their strong points and limitations. The same applies to laptops. Co-existence will prevail.”

In other IT trends, video communications will continue to be adopted among organizations in 2013, but the pace will not bring about widespread deployments, according to Ricca.

“Video solutions will continue to grow at a reasonable….but not rapid pace in 2013. The continued growth drivers include: A range of new offers that are less expensive to acquire and operate and easier to use; improved integration with other standard video solutions; growing customer comfort with the use of video solutions; and the ability to calculate the ROI on video solutions.”

While 2012 was by many accounts the year of adoption for cloud, it will continue to be the most disruptive technology that will hit mainstream markets this year because of the many benefits being realized by users.

“There are a range of cloud offers from competent providers in the marketplace that have the potential to: Speed time to market; reduce, contain and avoid current expenses incurred by customers; and improve service levels, Ricca explained. “Cloud offers are not for everyone, but they can…and are making a positive difference.”

Despite the evolution of IT and much advancement in the industry, Ricca said there is one misconception he would like to see set straight in the technology market.

“The belief that one technology solution can magically address all needs…and solve all problems. We are very fortunate to live at a time when we have many technological options available. This includes standalone solutions and hybrids,” he explained. “Taking the time to truly understand what the needs and problems are, and selecting the right technology solution combinations for the job…is the key to success.”

Ricca will moderate a panel of experts at the upcoming ITEXPO (News - Alert) Miami 2013 conference session, “Is Microsoft Lync Living up to its Hype?,” which will be held on Feb. 1 from 9 to 9:45 a.m. at the Miami Convention Center.

“ITEXPO is an excellent venue to learn about current and emerging global trends and solutions, Ricca said. “It also affords the opportunity to meet new market participants, and network with current colleagues and friends. I’m looking forward to attending and participating.”

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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