Executives across an organisation need to embrace and understand technologies - from cloud to software-defined networks - if they want to stay ahead of the game.
Technology decision making is so important that all execs - and not just the CIO - need to be involved and knowlegeable, according to a report from consulting firm Accenture.
The report said because technology is so critical to business innovations that it understanding must extend beyond the CIO to the COO, CMO, and CEO, and warns “Your stakeholders may not yet be probing into how your top team views IT. But it won’t be long before they do.”
The report (PDF), identifies a number of trends which it said are shaping the future of enterprise IT.
The report found that businesses are failing to capture the right data because of poorly designed analytics strategies. Businesses should start by asking questions that need to be answered before designing applications that can be used to get the right data.
Accenture suggests that businesses should start looking at data as a "supply chain" rather than a "warehouse".
The report also found that businesses need to start taking advantage of data velocity - the rate at which data flows into an organisation - so that they can get their insights delivered more quickly.
Mobility and IT consumerisation are driving expectations for faster access to data and more insights from that data. Rising expectations are also being fuelled by a surge in the uptake of technologies like high-speed data storage and in-memory computing, which speed up the entire datacycle from insight to action and improve the enterprises ability to deal with greater data velocity.
Organisations should no longer be asking "why should we use the cloud?" but "how should we use the cloud?", according to the report.
It said enterprises need to start having conversations on how cloud services can help them differentiate themselves, get products and services to market faster, operate the business more efficiently and respond more flexibly to new opportunities and challenges.
Software-defined networking (SDN)
While desktops, servers and even databases have been virtualised by businesses, networks have remained fairly untouched up until now.
The report found that software-defined networking (SDN) - where the network is managed through software instead of hardware - can make enterprises even more flexible because it allows organisations to reconfigure the networks without adjusting physical characteristics. This makes it easier for businesses to manage, change and integrate cloud services, according to the report.
The report states that businesses need to get smarter when it comes to understanding and engaging with hackers and suggests that enterprises adopt active defences that can be adapted in order to match different threats.
Many businesses are using social media channels to communicate and make transactions but not enough are using them to directly build customer loyalty and improve relationships, claimed the report.
The report also claimed that businesses should take advantage of technologies like Skype and Google+ Hangouts for collaborating on projects, as employees become more familiar with the social platforms.