It's that time of year again: End of Financial Year. Cue cold sweats and clammy hands.
We all know the drill. Sales teams call, marketers push and accountants prepare. It's unsurprising with the shuffle of receipts, tax invoices and financial statements that IT isn’t always the focus.
But it shouldn’t be overlooked.
Beyond the financial hype this is a key time to consider strategic IT plans and budgets to benefit the business over the next financial year. It is now that you can find great EOFY deals, finalise budgets and confirm strategic plans (now doesn't that sound like fun?!)
With this in mind here are the IT areas to consider:
There has been no lack of talk about big data over the last year. It is heralded to be able to cure cancer, end world poverty and shrink all of us to super model size. Well, not quite. But it is the superfood of the IT world. And, in case you were hoping the hype would ease afraid to say it isn't going anywhere. And for good reason really. Despite all the buzz it really does have long lasting benefits to businesses. Offering audience transparency, improving sales and customer experience are among the three key benefits (got your attention now). Big data is able to achieve this due to its characteristic granularity (its ability to combine multiple and differing small pieces of data to generate revealing insights). This granularity may assist in unlocking the possibility of personalised services tailored to the individual and delivered by government. So what's the catch?
Well, in a nutshell data management.
With the sheer volume of data, the extensive variety of data sets and the rate it moves knowing how to manage
However managing this data provides a lot of problems. Learning how to process and optimize the raw numbers is key to big data success. However due to the sheer size (volume), time sensitivity and the rate at which it moves (velocity) and the different types of data (variety) this is often problematic. The biggest concerns in data over the coming financial year are in creating strategies to manage data to optimize ROI and gain insights. Storage and analysis are key. Consider talking to a cloud provider about storing your data. In many cases cloud providers also have managed services options to support your data management and software solutions to analysing data.
Yeah, yeah I know. Mobile is in. If you left your house, or turned on a TV or basically existed in the last twenty years you would know that mobility is important. As a result our workforce is becoming mobile. And it is changing the business enterprise. Essentially mobility has become a strategic asset. Studies suggest that mobile devices increase productivity and help to create a more efficient work environment. It offers greater flexibility and accessibility. Greengard explains that, ‘mobility promises to unleash new and improved capabilities—and put additional stress on IT departments to integrate systems, develop apps, oversee security, handle BYOD (bring your own device), and manage expectations that increasingly center on a consumer-centric approach to design and usability.’ Mobility supplies a competitive advantage to businesses by ensuring faster response times, improved customer experience and a more agile workforce.
So how does that work in practice? Well, it means heavy investment in not only mobile devices, but the applications supporting them. Integration will also be an important feature, to optimize productivity and workforce responsiveness and satisfaction, as is security.
SaaS and PaaS
The lesser known side of cloud is SaaS (Software as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service). Both are cloud computing delivery models. Each utilises provider infrastructure to reduce costs. Being Internet-based makes them easily accessible. Cloud systems have continued to gain momentum due to their mobility, scalability and flexibility. No upfront infrastructure costs and improved performance and capacity don’t hurt either. Unsurprisingly everyone wants a piece of the action. A recent survey found that cloud computing adoption rates have been steadily increasing since 2009 (Samara Lyn). A study this year by Gigaom Research and North Bridge Venture Partners revealed that cloud adoption is continuing to rise. Michael Skok, general partner at North Bridge Venture Partners, noted a ‘five-fold increase in SaaS adoption to 74 percent and the nearly six-fold increase in PaaS adoption to 41 percent.’ Survey respondents named agility, cost and scalability as the top three drivers for cloud adoption. Utilising SaaS provides a flexible software solution for businesses. The primary investments will revolve around subscription-based licensing for applications.
There is an increasing abundance of applications for improving all areas of business, particularly marketing, admin and finance.