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Depending on one’s point of view, 2013 was either a terrible year, a great year or just another marker in the passage of time. But in the world of enterprise technology, there were certainly a lot of things to like about 2013.

Innovative and powerful new technologies are changing the way that organizations do businesses. Big data is impacting the meaning of analytics and business intelligence, Software Defined Networking is altering the very nature of networks, the Internet of things is introducing new types of device connectivity, cloud computing is bringing about new ways of creating an IT infrastructure and mobile computing continues to bring about change in how businesses communicate and connect.

To get a better understanding of how new technologies, strategies and trends impacted IT organizations in the past year, we asked several Aberdeen research analysts for their take on the biggest trends in their specific research practices.

While some may say that it isn’t good to live in the past, by looking at the trends of 2013, we can determine how businesses are succeeding in adopting new technologies and also get a glimpse into what will be impacting the coming year.

Service Management

Aly Pinder, Jr., Research Analyst in Aberdeen’s Service Management practice, notes two trends that took off in 2013: The customer-centric service organization, and remote intelligence and service. The two trends seem to complement one another.

“Service leaders have seen the value and importance of customers to spark new services, revenues, profitability, and referrals,” he notes, as they “have become the lifeblood of the organization.”

Moreover, technology is at the heart of this customer-centric service organization, especially machine-to-machine (M2M) technology. “Throughout 2013, we have seen the renewed excitement around M2M technology and the capability of this infrastructure to help organizations resolve issues more efficiently and cost-effectively.” The resulting intelligence gleaned from smart appliances and the so-called Internet of things allows Best-in-Class organizations “to re-engineer products, services, and the customer experience to add value to current and future interactions.” Thus, customer-centric organizations have been able to provide better services and experiences to their customers.

Cloud Computing

Dick Csaplar, Senior Research Analyst in Aberdeen’s IT Infrastructure practice, notes that 2013 was the year in which “enterprises shifted from a passive Cloud to an active Cloud.” To clarify, Dick states that “Cloud services like SaaS and even Cloud storage are fairly passive – end-users can adopt them with little or no involvement by IT.” All that end-users need is a valid credit card and they can deploy it.  Conversely, cloud services like “IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), Virtual Private Cloud, and Cloud Recovery require corporate IT to professionally manage them to gain all the advantages and cost savings.”

Not surprisingly, passive Cloud has been the more popular of the two. But 2013 was the first year that some companies transitioned from passive to active Cloud programs. Doing so has allowed organizations to see what Dick says are “real enterprise advantages” over passive Cloud solutions.

Business Intelligence

Like Dick Csapler, David White, , Senior Research Analyst in Aberdeen’s Business Intelligence practice, sees the rise of Software as a Service impacting how organizations approach and manage analytics and business intelligence.

In his upcoming report, On-Premise, Cloud or Hybrid? Evaluating your Integration Options, David looked at how cloud and SaaS computing are bringing new options to how businesses approach BI. David said, “One emerging trend I see is SaaS integration.  Thirty-eight percent (38%) of survey respondents currently use cloud (or SaaS) based integration solutions, but another 36% plan to adopt within the next year.”

To understand what is driving this move to cloud and SaaS services, David sees the clear attractions as decreased deployment times and lower-upfront costs. He said, “Interest in SaaS-based integration is being driven by two things.  First, this type of solution promises a shorter time to get integration solutions up and running.  Second, the pay-as-you-go economics of SaaS are appealing for many organizations, particularly smaller companies that do not have large amounts of capital they can tie up in traditionally licensed software solutions.”

Customer Experience Management

In a recent blog post looking back at the changes in 2013, Omer Minkara, Senior Research Analyst in the Contact Center & Customer Experience Management practice, noted the effect that several new technologies and emerging trends had on how organizations handle their contact centers and customer experience. Among the technologies that Omer singles out are cloud computing, social and mobile technology (the three pillars of SoMoClo) and the rise of self-service capabilities.

From his 2013 research, Omer makes several key points:

  • Businesses anticipate that cloud contact center adoption will rise to 52% by December 2014.
  • Organizations anticipate adoption of social customer care programs to increase to 70% by mid-2014, with the increase primarily being fueled by customers demanding social media to become a part of the service channel-mix.
  • Customer self-service capabilities continue to help businesses reduce their service costs, as they incur less cost related to serving customers for simple requests that can be addressed without direct contact with an agent.

To learn more, read and download White’s On-Premise, Cloud or Hybrid? Evaluating your Integration Options and explore Aberdeen’s Research Library to find more reports from the analysts referenced above.

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