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Investing in Information Technology

Globally, we spend $3.5 Trillion annually on Information Technology — up 50% from just 12 years ago. Most of that money is spent just to keep our current technologies running, but almost $1 Trillion ($1,000,000,000) of that money will be invested in new technology just this year!

Much of that investment will go to three of today’s most popular technologies: Social Networking for Business, Cloud Services, and IoT (the Internet of Things). Each of these can dramatically change how we use technology in our personal and professional lives.

Social Networks for Business: Many of the benefits sought from social media companies are not being realized. So companies are touting a new breed of social networking called “Enterprise Social Media.” IBM has Connections. Microsoft has Yammer. Cisco has Jabber. Other major offerings include Jive, Google+ and Jam. (Who thinks up these names?).

By focusing on customers, employees and vendor partners these companies are betting their solutions will succeed where social media giants like Facebook and Twitter haven’t.

Cloud Services: Technology investors are spending billions of dollars building data centers, betting that their Cloud Services divisions are going to make money. The explosion of storage clouds services, like DropBox, GoogleDrive and OneDrive for Business says there is a market. Our culture mobility revolution, the need for sophisticated security services and bargain basement pricing indicates there is a need. And IT executives are paying attention. Experts say most U.S. businesses will be running up to 50% of their business critical applications in the cloud.

The Internet of Things is about a lot more than having your refrigerator tell you that your yogurt expiration date has passed, or having your iPhone tell you that you left the garage door open. It may be the most important new technology of this decade.

Any critical machine, no matter how remote, or how dangerous the environment can be monitored and managed from wherever there is an internet connection. Imagine monitoring temperature and pressure deep inside a damaged nuclear facility, or in a deep water drilling station. Two of the many global corporations that are committed to this technology are Rockwell Automation (The Connected Enterprise) and Microsoft (Becoming a Digital Business with IoT).

While we must guard against privacy and security threats that are inherent in each of these disruptive technologies, we shouldn’t ignore the impact they will have in the way we do business, shop and stay connected with people.

 

Written By: Les Johnson, SVP IT/CIO, North Coast Electric Company. Les Johnson has worked in the computer technology field for over 30 years, working as developer and database design consultant prior to joining North Coast Electric Company in 1996.  He is an author and the winner of the Society for Information Management’s Leader of the Year award in 2008. Currently he is serving as a member of NAED’s Strategic Technology Task Force and the IDEA Innovation Advisory Council.