Businesses in 2012 will be looking for ICT partners that can provide hybrid networks and possibly on-shore cloud data hosting, writes Gen-i CEO Chris Quin.
I think as most people return from the Christmas break they will be wishing for a year where we only have to deal with the normal pressures, rather than the extraordinary events of 2011.
We have seen huge community, resilience and innovation in Christchurch following the earthquakes, delivering learnings for us all. Innovation seems so much more possible when you simply cannot have what you had.
2012 is a time for thinking differently about the role of ICT. There are opportunities for ICT people to lead change and take responsibility for reinventing business processes.
The fibre opportunity
With the rollout of UFB across New Zealand, businesses are looking for ICT solutions that use fibre to increase productivity, deliver flexibility and robustness, and cut costs.
UFB provides an opportunity to do all of these, but the real challenge is how we turn this fibre infrastructure into economic return.
Most corporate locations will be covered by fibre by 2014 and we expect strong uptake - a significant proportion of client networks will migrate to fibre connections in the next two years. Businesses are relying on ICT partners who can provide robust and resilient hybrid networks that integrate fibre, copper and mobile, as well as managing services from the multiple fibre providers.
They will be looking for help to deliver the applications and services that leverage this new fibre world, in areas such as videoconferencing and collaboration, cloud computing, remote working and business continuity. They also want assurance that their infrastructure is kept secure and robust by a local service provider, who can take accountability for the outcomes right here in New Zealand, and with priorities driven by this market.
Despite all the potential of cloud computing, many companies are reluctant to jump in because of concerns around security, operational performance, cost and control.
Clients are looking for help to make an informed decision about which parts of the infrastructure can be moved to a private or public cloud. Companies need to satisfy themselves that their cloud provider has the reputation, experience and verifiable capability in place, with a proven track-record in helping companies navigate to the cloud.
Knowing that their data is hosted on-shore also reassures many organisations with concerns over where their data is located, and whether or not there is focused local support.
Bring your own technology
Social networking services, aided by mobile and fast broadband connectivity, are leading to a fundamental shift in the way we all interact and collaborate - people will work from anywhere.
Organisations are coming under increased pressure to accommodate wide diversity in the way IT is being consumed and deployed, and to make sure their corporate networks look and feel more like social networking services.
This does create headaches and challenges for IT managers — businesses will be required to manage security and integration with core business applications, and provide end-user support and device maintenance. Overall, a modern, easy-to-use environment that blends work and personal devices will be what top talent demands of their workplace.
* This fortnight Computerworld is featuring a series of opinion pieces by leading ICT professionals in which they look at what's in store for 2012. Monday: InternetNZ CEO Vikram Kumar.