1.     The rise of managed services for SMBs ­ while the uptake of cloud services has helped drive a demand for managed services in 2012, it’s SMBs who will benefit in the new year. As with most technologies as they move towards maturity and commoditisation, managed services providers have now reached a level of expertise that they can bring to bear in the SMB market. As a result, next year we’ll see increased adoption of managed services by smaller companies who are able to realise the cost and efficiency benefits of moving all of their IT across to a provider with greatly reduced risk.

2.     The rise of the enterprise app ­ 2013 will mark the beginning of the enterprise app store, and within a few years we¹ll see a significant change in the way that the IT department offers technology to its employees. Gartner predicts that by 2014 the role of IT will shift from that of a centralised planner to a market manager providing governance and brokerage
services to the user. As a result, we’re likely to see a move by IT companies into specialist consultancy advice on developing infrastructures to support app stores, as well as the software and services to deliver it.

3.    The year the CIO and IT department finally accepts its changing role ­the CIO and IT department roles have undergone an evolution in the past ten years. It’s not been radical but a slow and steady move away from providing
functional technology into a more strategic and service orientated role. Let’s face it, ten years ago the role of a CIO didn¹t exist and the IT director rarely sat on the board. Today, however that’s changed, but what’s stayed the same is the reluctance by some to accept these changes which many view as bringing more responsibility with less power. This couldn’t be further from the truth. 2013 will be the year that senior IT figures finally accept and (hopefully) embrace the changes to way that technology can and does support the organisation.

4.     The rise of WiFi as a corporate network – we’ve already witnessed a huge growth in mobile data traffic in 2012 – whether it reaches double growth globally as Cisco predicted at the beginning of 2012 remains to be seen. What is undeniable is that the growth is set to continue in 2013. In the same report, Cisco went on to predict that the number of WiFi hotspots is expected to reach 2.7mill by 2014, with usage growing by 200%. Driven by an increasing number of new devices and technology, as well as the availability of hotspots, WiFi will become a recognised business network
tool in the next year. As more companies understand that mobility is the key to productivity for its workforce, then will come the realisation that they need to develop a policy for enabling access over private and public (and unsecured) WiFi hotspots.

5.    Analytics for medium sized businesses ­while big data and analytics were the domain of the enterprise in 2012, 2013 will be the year that smaller companies are able to benefit from them as well. We’re seeing a drive by the vendors and service providers to build analytics into everything as standard. This means that IT departments will be able to more easily derive information from data and add business value. The increased uptake of managed services and ITaaS over the next 12 months by SMBs will mean that they are able to free up resources to concentrate on deriving the best and most valuable information from their existing data.

This guest post was contributed by Richard Archer, sales director at Redstone. 

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