Top IT Trends for 2014

Security as a focus topic, agility, and more IT expertise among top management: An IT Trends study by IT service provider and SAP partner Capgemini.

The requirements of IT remain constant: boost efficiency, cut costs, maintain services at a constant level, and support changes within the company. Nonetheless, new trends are also developing. A study surveyed 141 IT managers from the DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland). Here, an overview:

1. Winners and losers: Security wins, app stores lose

The security debate rekindled by the NSA affair continues to resonate throughout the IT industry. A look at the most important technologies in 2014 confirms: with business continuity, malware protection, and security compliance, a conspicuous number of security topics make up the top five mentions, along with virtualization and the integration of standard software with custom software. Protection against data theft and industrial espionage is another increasingly important subject. Similar to the last year, the CIOs rated topics such as app stores for customers and “bring your own device” as secondary concerns. In contrast, the years of hesitance toward M2M communication seem to be over: 23 percent of those surveyed already use M2M communication, twelve percent are in the implementation phase, and a further thirteen percent plan an implementation. In addition, many CIOs are working this year on planning and implementing enterprise collaboration platforms, solutions for identity and access management, and the integration of customers in electronic process management.

2. Cloud to become standard

Despite increased security requirements, cloud computing has become indispensable in German-speaking regions as well – especially the private cloud. Around 30 percent of IT performance is now provided by private company clouds, a near doubling of capacity compared to the previous results. One reason for this is likely to be the greater control that becomes possible when processes are kept in-house: “The door for cloud computing has opened further at German companies. Companies have now learned the dos and don’ts in the cloud domain well and have gathered enough experience for wider deployment. The NSA affair does not pose an obstacle here – even though it has certainly intensified security awareness even more,” reports Uwe Dumslaff, Chief Technology Officer at Capgemini. Skepticism still reigns when it comes to the public cloud and external services, however: only a little more than four percent of total IT performance is provided here.

3. Major optimization potential with agility

IT has to meet the needs of its users. User departments face the challenge of coordinating their IT landscapes as precisely as possible with specific requirements: new applications have to be developed and modified at ever-faster speeds, but without having a detrimental effect on quality. Only around one in five companies currently master this challenge, however – 37 percent have only just begun to work on their agility. “The data shows that a company’s agility is not related to its size. It is created when IT concentrates on the business requirements, when the CIO works closely together with management, and when the success of IT is measured through business and IT-related KPIs,” says Peter Lempp, COO Application Services at Capgemini in Germany. “All this, plus flexible IT, enables companies to adapt more quickly.”

4. More IT expertise among top management

More than half of the surveyed CIOs believe that IT expertise has increased among company management in recent years. As a result, IT topics are increasingly discussed with executives and the management board at 61 percent of the companies. 23 percent of the IT managers report that this results in improved collaboration. This increase in expertise also has a downside, however: nearly twelve percent fewer CIOs participate regularly in board meetings.

5. Outsourcing partners as subcontractors for IT

Among financial service providers, in particular, freelance employees have become firm parts of the organization, rendering nearly 30 percent of total IT performance. Overall, almost 77 percent of outsourcing partners perform the function of a service provider. They are only involved in achieving company objectives for 17 percent of the companies surveyed. Only around six percent are thought of as innovation partners, a figure which has dropped by nearly half compared to the previous year (11.7 percent). The conditions for discipline sizes and contract periods are also changing: 35.2 percent of those surveyed expect larger units, in the direction of full outsourcing, while 27.3 percent expect the increased awarding of smaller activity packages to a number of specialists. At the same time, more than a third (33.7) of those surveyed expect shorter contractual terms.

The complete study (in German) is available here.