While it's hard to say that any one development will stand out in the annals of enterprise IT when we look back on 2011, it's pretty clear that the last year witnessed a transformation of enterprise IT that is nothing short of profound.
On the one hand, mobile computing is making enterprise applications more accessible than ever before. Meanwhile, the number of applications being created and updated is expanding rapidly thanks to the rise of agile development. And finally, cloud computing in one form or another is making IT infrastructure less costly to set up and manage, which is a process that should be even further accelerated by the rise of in-memory computing.
Each of these developments - along with trends such as the rise of Big Data coupled with predictive analytics, bigger and faster storage systems, improvements to unified communications, the maturation of business rules management and advances in IT automation - all serve to make IT more valuable than ever.
The reason for this is not just because enterprise IT is getting more agile. There is almost no business process of any value that is not enabled by IT. The investments being made in enterprise IT are becoming more valuable because they are both increasing the amount of time it takes to complete any given process, while also improving the quality of those processes.
Over the last few years, there have been more than a few people who have questioned the value of investing in IT. But when you take a step back to examine the totality of the enterprise IT landscape, it becomes apparent that enterprise IT is being reinvented across the board. The business impact of that transformation may not be as widely felt or seen just yet, but before the coming year is out, it will be the acumen of the IT organizations that ultimately will determine which companies thrive in 2012 versus those that get left behind.