Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Before we start, I’d like to talk about, what are to us, the three major areas of focus in 2010. We expect these areas to continue their prominence in 2011.
The first area of focus has been cloud computing. Everybody seems to be talking about it. But, few people share the same definition. There is a huge amount of confusion in the market about how cloud computing can be deployed and how it can benefit customers. We believe that unstoppable momentum has now been built up around the adoption of IT as a service, sometimes known as the public cloud. The benefits in terms of eliminating capital expenditure, lowering overall costs, increasing business agility and creating a competitive advantage, to name a few, are now indisputable. Managers will soon find that the business case for on-premise investments will become very difficult to justify. For now, a lot of companies are deploying so called private clouds, which are a kind of half hearted attempt at reaping the true benefits of cloud computing. These pretend clouds only offer a few of the attributes of cloud computing and surely they are only a temporary solution for some current concerns around data sovereignty, privacy and security. Expect these concerns to be overcome and for IT to become a utility over the next few years.
The second area of focus has been around social media. Many people believe that social media is a fad that offers no business benefit and is used only by young people. Well, the average age of Twitter users is 37, the average age of LinkedIn users is over 40 and the average age of Facebook users is steadily increasing.
Already companies are using social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter to engage with customers. These tools are being used to support a range of business processes including, recruitment, customer service, marketing and sales. Companies are also seeking ways of analysing social media content and using the tools in ways that can increase competitiveness.
The third area of focus is tablet computing. Who would have thought, one year ago, that the iPad and similar devices would have had such a massive impact on our industry? It has been clear for some time that the PCs and laptops that we use are outdated. They are designed for client/server infrastructures of the 1980s and 1990s. We use only a tiny fraction of their functionality. Today, we can get many of the benefits associated with PCs on lighter, simpler and much easier to use tablets. Already, some organisations are replacing PCs with iPads for certain activities. The next generation of tablets will offer even more functionality and be able to displace a higher proportion of PCs. Tablets signal the end of PCs and are also a potent accelerator for the adoption of cloud computing. Less and less content will reside on local devices. Tablets will increasingly become gateways to content that is located elsewhere. In other words, computing resources will increasingly be located in the cloud and accessed by tablets.