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January 14, 2013

Three Things That Will Change the Way You Operate Your Business This Year

By Allison Boccamazzo, TMCnet Web Editor

It’s a search as old as time. Everyone’s looking for the most significant technology or trend that will impact the way they conduct business. Based on some serious research and solid predictions, we’ve managed to stay one step ahead by providing not one but three significant technologies/trends that we think will forcibly change your business operations this year – or at least give you good reason to consider doing so.

The BYO’s

It’s no surprise that one of – if not the most – significant trend currently impacting business is mobility. Today, it seems that there are almost as many “Bring Your Own” acronyms as there are employees embracing them. For example, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has evolved to become a ubiquitous and elevated element in today’s business management solutions and strategies. Last week, IT research firm IDC (News - Alert) stated that “companies are expected to approach mobility with more open minds in the coming months, capitalizing on the consumerization of IT and new communications opportunities.”

In the past, BYOD was considered a “phenomenon” that could one day transform the way people conducted business. In a very short time, we’ve already arrived at that stage of the game, where BYOD is now pervasive. It’s only a matter of time before it begins to heavily influence your business in 2013 – whether from a security, policy, device or app management perspective. The only setback still associated with BYOD, however, is security.

While BYOD will continue to heavily influence businesses this year, they will undoubtedly struggle with security-related issues. "Securing the enterprise has taken on a whole new meaning and requires a new set of information technology tools," Chris Christiansen, program VP of Security Product and Services at IDC explains. This especially includes BYOD, which requires high levels of productivity in an equally secure environment.

Art King, director of enterprise services & technologies at SpiderCloud, a forerunner and innovator in breakthrough, small-cell managed services platforms, recently sat down with TMC (News - Alert) to share his similar take on the topic. “Driven by consumer demand, swathes of devices and apps are coming to market and entering businesses, bringing BYOD, BYOA, CYOD, BYOS and other acronym-ed phenomena…BYOD is gaining in popularity and traction, but it is still not at full scale adoption. There are still many enterprises that are yet to fully adopt BYOD and in many cases even ignore BYOD, believing the complexities of device management and security outweigh the benefits.”

So although BYOD extends the possibilities of previously limited work environments, it will also pose a significant challenge to IT departments to work around these new policies and adjustments. Even more, many think that the adoption rates of mobile technology could serve as its biggest disruption. “Simplicity, innovation, and usability are now front of mind to all of us when we are acquiring technology. The parallel thread to mobile technology adoption disruption is that if you do not succeed in consumer market, you may be marginalized out of enterprise market in the long term. Legacy enterprise players are working hard to find their own consumer market and adapt to its nature,” King adds.

Now what about Bring Your Own Storage, or BYOS? Some call this Bring Your Own Cloud-based Storage, which is taking on full effect like its other popular BYO brethren.

In a nutshell, BYOS allows users to access non-company software. This is becoming a major issue that most enterprises and solutions providers are working to deal with, seeing how tablets and smartphones understandably aren’t designed to hold so much of this data. Most chances are that you’ll face this challenge very soon. The question should then be: Are you prepared to deal with it at either the carrier level or through independent vendors?

“Bring Your Own Storage will undoubtedly lead to employees using iPads and smartphones and wanting to bring data down from the cloud onto these devices, yet all of this relies on an efficient network which offers full coverage and capacity in-building,” King elaborates. “Yet cloud networking relies upon connectivity, and 80 percent of connections are made inside buildings.” Due to this, it would be wise to look at solutions such as those offered by SpiderCloud, which enable full reliable, in-building coverage and capacity to up to 10,000 devices.

Another question enterprises should ask themselves is if they should look to pre-empt BYOS issues by migrating to carefully controlled cloud storage. King thinks that this would definitely be a beneficial move, saying, “If enterprises move their storage to the cloud now then they can begin to iron out any issues they may potentially face rather than waiting and having to deal with BYOS in an ad hoc way as they have had to do with BYOD. This will then mean enterprises are fully prepared and ahead of the BYOS trend.”

Despite all of this mobility buzz, it doesn’t look like 2013 will be the year the laptop leaves us forever. Yes, tablets and handheld devices are still soaring, many people still require or prefer laptops, as noted by King, citing students and office workers as two examples. “Until we get to the point where cloud adoption is full scale and all tablets come with keyboards the laptop is unlikely to die out. This is unlikely to happen in the short or even medium term and so we can expect that the humble laptop will continue to have a place in today’s world, albeit in adapting in forms as we have already begun to see,” he divulges.

Social Media

Okay, we’re all too familiar with how social media has proliferated business over the last few years. Take Twitter (News - Alert), who turns six years old this year, who’s experienced quite a journey in its short but gripping lifespan thus far. The company not only generated $45 million in annual revenue since 2010, but it’s been seeing a high adoption rate from businesses looking for an innovative way to reach out to customers. Companies who implemented social media years ago used to be the emancipated thinkers of the bunch, but now, it’s become a basic necessity for ensuring future growth. And Twitter is far from slowing down, where in 2010, a number of high-profile companies revealed their desire to leverage the site for advertising purposes, including Sony, Red Bull and Best Buy (News - Alert). In 2011, the company began offering small businesses a self-serve advertising platform, as well.

 King also comments on this unprecedented growth and how it will continue to influence the way businesses manage their customers. “Social media is a great way to engage with customers and also raise awareness of the issues we address,” he says, adding that through social media, SpiderCloud is able to keep up with customers in real-time with product and service updates and the latest news and industry options. And by using social media, the company can also effectively and more quickly listen to inquiries that its end-users have regarding their services or a range of other concerns. This will continue to 100 percent shape the definition of the “customer experience.”

Cloud Computing

Are you surprised? Of course, cloud computing will continue to make waves in the way businesses operate this year. King explains, “Cloud computing significantly increases business agility by allowing the acquisition of capacity to be done in minutes instead of months. Whether it’s internal cloud or publicly hosted cloud, the promise for business application owners to respond to demands faster than ever creates a competitive differentiation that challenges many legacy IT infrastructure practices.”

Similar to the challenges faced with mobility, the cloud has some lingering security concerns that are still an impediment to its adoption. “Enterprises are naturally still wary of embracing the cloud and leaving all data with a third party. Cloud vendors implement tight security solutions and empirical evidence suggests cloud computing is secure, but a lot of risk-averse IT directors remain to be convinced that the benefits outweigh the risks. Over time if the security promises are born out, levels of faith and trust will improve,” King says. Nevertheless, the cloud is expected to continue experiencing high adoption rates for increased work efficiency – something you’ll most likely face, as well.

SpiderCloud is one of the many companies who will be joining together at this year’s highly anticipated ITEXPO Miami 2013 event, which offers a convergence of education, innovation and networking for the communications and technology community. Russell Agle, director of Business Development at SpiderCloud will also be speaking during a session titled, “The Big Challenge with Small Cells,” which will take place on Thursday, Jan. 31 from 2:30-3:15 pm.

“We’re [very] excited about speaking at the show, which will give us an opportunity to raise awareness about the growth opportunities operators can find by helping enterprises with their mobility management needs, as well as the challenges of indoor coverage and capacity, and discussing how small cells are the best solution to solve this problem,” King concludes.

To find out more about SpiderCloud, visit the company at ITEXPO Miami 2013, which takes place Jan. 29- Feb 1, in Miami, Florida, where Russell Agle, director of Business Development, is speaking during “The Big Challenge with Small Cells.” For more information on ITEXPO (News - Alert) Miami 2013, click here.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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