When it comes to new technology in the enterprise, 2011 will most likely be remembered as a bridge between when pilot projects were stated in 2010 and when they were finally rolled out in production systems in 2012.
That's how Unisys CTO Fred Dillman sees the coming year shaping up now that IT executives are back in full swing. The issue that many of them face, says Dillman, is that while the economy has improved, IT budgets are still under pressure. That means that in most companies there is enough money to move a pilot project into the next phase of deployment, which will probably be in some pocket of the organization where it can be truly vetted.
This emphasis on the practicality of new IT projects, says Dillman, will be especially apparent in new projects involving virtual, borderless data centers that will span both private and public cloud computing platforms, the adoption of applications running on both physical and virtual appliances, analytics, global Web collaboration applications, new approaches to cybersecurity and new classes of mobile computing devices such as tablet PCs running within desktop virtualization environments.
The thing that will unite all these efforts is a general movement to empower end users, whether that means being able to invoke an IT service in the cloud on their own or bring their own device to work in order to access corporate applications.
Cost controls, of course, will continue to be a major priority. But things will loosen up enough for IT organizations to think beyond their own internal budget issues in order to focus more on providing more value to the business.
The good news is that after kicking the tires on a lot of emerging technologies in 2011, IT organizations are getting comfortable enough to deploy them on a larger scale. The bad news is that they are going to have be very selective about where they deploy them because if they don't work right the first time, getting additional funding for them is going to be extremely difficult.