In 2012, we will witness the end of business as we know it. The relationship between technology and business will be inverted. Until recently, technology has typically been designed and implemented in order to support and enable business processes. For example, CRM and ERP software applications were created to improve the performance of existing business processes. In other words, business developments forced change in technology development.
In 2012, technology developments will frequently force change in business processes. This has already occurred in some industries, most notably, the media industry. Personal clouds in which people can stream their own content are forcing enormous change in the media industry. In fact, technology has completely transformed the media industry. The inversion of the relationship between business and technology is driving several key developments that will be apparent in 2012.
Executives in all industries will need to closely monitor the activities of technology firms, particularly Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook. In addition to forcing change in the retail, travel and hospitality and media industries, 2012 will see technology firms forcing change in other industries. For example, mobile payment products such as Google Wallet enable technology firms to compete with financial services firms and will change the way people spend money.
In 2012, this inversion of the relationship between technology and business will be primarily driven by three key technology trends. These three 2012 developments are:
- Cloud computing will become mainstream
- Cloud computing will drive mobile computing
- Social media will be widely integrated into business activities
#1 Cloud Computing will Become Mainstream
In 2012, cloud computing is set to become mainstream in Asia Pacific. Indeed, approximately 30 percent of Asia Pacific organisations have already adopted some form of cloud computing.
In 2012, the impact of the shift to cloud computing will become apparent. One of the first obvious effects of this type of technology is the cloud-driven transformation of whole industries such as the media industry and the IT industry itself.
Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is set to be the new battleground in the cloud computing industry as PaaS vendors seek to attract developers to their platforms. Today, Force.com has an advantage over other platforms as a result of its early entry into the market. However, over the last 18 months or so, new platforms have come online, supported by major vendors such as Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Red Hat, Google and VMWare. Two or three platforms can be expected to dominate as a critical mass of applications is developed on each.
Cloud brokers will emerge en masse, as organisations seek partners that can customise cloud applications for them. These cloud brokers will typically affiliate themselves with a particular platform such as Force.com. In other words, many more applications will be available from the public cloud and these applications will be much more highly customised than most of today's cloud applications. In turn, industry fragmentation will occur as many more software- as-a-service (SaaS) vendors emerge, many with industry-specific applications. Today's SaaS offerings are predominantly horizontal.
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