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Dear Mr CIO, How Is 2013 Strategy Going So Far?

We have the potential to compute more, know more and do more

Dear Mr CIO, how is the year ahead planning program going so far? I know, sorry, it's a tough one. The deployment and integration of devices, mobile connectivity points, virtual cloud-based desktop services, security, Big Data, tablets, mini-tablets and micro-mini-tablets (don't worry, we made that last one up) all present a multiplicity of challenges.

The hyper-efficient CIO should look back on 2012 first and take stock of recent developments as the most prudent means of planning for 2013. Commonly agreed wisdom suggests that migration plans from XP to Windows 7 have now been put in place and (by and large) also been put into motion in most reasonably sized firms.

Corporate deployment of Windows 8 is of course still some way off, but that's okay because we're upgrading in the right direction for now.

The prudent CIO planner will also have the foresight to look beyond the so-called consumerization of IT and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon. Of course, they're not really phenomena as such - but let's live with the expressions as they are. These are arguably superficial trends whose impact is aggregated into the wider barometer of data production, manipulation, analysis and subsequent storage.

What will matter in the months ahead then?

Gartner says spending on devices will rise by over six percent in the year ahead to US$666 billion, so shouldn't this be shaping the core of every CIO's strategy? The answer is no, not really. Don't believe the device hype. This growth should not underpin the core rationale for developing IT strategy in 2013.

‘Everything Data' Comes of Age
More important is "Everything Data," i.e., those chunks of Big Data created by the growing number of devices and also, quite crucially, The Internet of Things and its sensors, dials, reporting machinery and so on.

Although this so-called "Everything Data" emanating from the so-called "Internet of Things" sounds superficial at first, these are early days.

Yes the data produced by electronically enabled fridge-based shopping lists and computerized in-car entertainment systems are predominantly consumer created and consumer centric, but these are early days. As the digitization of the world around us continues to increase, so will the business-centric opportunities to analyze these digital assets and derive commercial value from them.

As a simple example here, consider the fact that all a firm's employees now have smartphones and location-aware tablets. As mobile working increases, the opportunity to formulate business plans based on who does what task when (and where) it opens up, as we now get to potentially analyze the minutiae of detail relating to employee actions.

So forget location-aware mobile devices and consider what the next generation of data will be telling us from the Internet of Things. Suddenly, knowing what our in-car computers might be saying to the back-end servers analyzing our driving behavior starts to sounds more like a business-centric economic regulator.

Extra Data DNA Charge
If these new flows of data prove as substantial, persistent and valuable as they have the potential to be, then CIOs will need to look to bring in and/or develop software applications that can support new and improved business processes that are capable of feeding on data from a greater number of sources.

You might describe this as "drinking from a fire hose" as software is now subjected to more and more information from a greater number of sources. It's almost like taking standard human being #ABC1 and pumping him or her with a supplementary charge of DNA.

We have the potential to compute more, know more and do more - but it will be equally easy to feel overwhelmed and suffer data indigestion if we do not plan for this now.

•   •   •

This post first appeared on CIO Enterprise Forum.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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