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Delivering All-Time Availability – Top Trends for 2014

18th December 2013

With 2013 almost at an end, our thoughts can’t help but turn to the year ahead. This time last year we predicted that, among other things, the growth of BYOD, the influence of ‘Big Data’ and the rise of mobile working would all shape the way businesses operate. We also noted that the increasing prevalence of social media and worries over the lack of customer loyalty would force business resilience and availability up the corporate agenda.  All of these trends played a big part in shaping how organisations, both large and small, operated in 2013.

But now it’s time again to look at how availability will shape businesses over the coming year.

With this in mind we asked Keith Tilley, Executive Vice President, EMEA & APAC, SunGard Availability Services, and Joe Peppard, Professor of Management at the European School of Management and Technology, to discuss the top five trends they believe will have a key impact on the business world in 2014.

Below are the five most important areas they believe that businesses must embrace if they are to deliver customers the best possible service, create an efficient working environment for staff and ultimately grow the organisation over the next year.

1. All-time™ Availability: over the last couple of years the term ‘availability’ as a term has crept further and further up the C-Suite agenda and is now increasingly acknowledged as a key factor in growing and maintaining a successful business.  Our recent research found that over half of organisations believe adopting an available and ‘always on’ mentality can result in increased customer satisfaction. Another 45 per cent also noted an increase in competitiveness[1], an important factor as we enter the first stable period of market growth in over five years.

2. Collaboration: The relationship between the IT department and the rest of the business has been described as a ‘troubled marriage’. Almost two decades ago after this phrase was coined, this strained relationship continues to plague businesses both large and small. As we head into 2014, collaboration is set to play a greater role in improving business efficiency, opening new streams and ensuring successful and prosperous year.

3. The role of the CIO: We believe that the businesses which will succeed over the next year will be those who embrace and truly understand the role of the CIO in their organisation. It’s important for organisations to recognise the ability of the CIO to look beyond the latest technology hype to find tangible business benefits.

4. Hybrid IT and cloud services: Organisations need to understand that cloud computing is only a means to achieving business ends. Cloud shouldn’t be used in isolation or as a cure-all solution but must be implemented as part of larger IT strategy. In the next year hybrid IT solutions will play a significant role as organisations look to tailor their cloud deployments to best suit the needs of their business.

5. De-centralisation to deliver the Available Enterprise in an All-time™ world: Finally, the age of All-time™ is now very much upon us. Disaster recovery and business continuity are outdated terms. Businesses must now work to significantly reduce the impact of any unforeseeable disasters and ensure that downtime is kept to a minimum. This means responsibility must be shared throughout the organisation, with everyone from the boardroom down building resilience into the core of their strategy.

As Joe Peppard points out:

“As pressure heightens to deliver against increasing and often unpredictable targets, the so-called ‘troubled marriage’ between the IT department and the rest of the business will have to be resolved so that everyone pulling in the same direction – or it will risk losing an edge over the competition.”

[1]Interviews were carried out  in September – October 2013 by Vanson Bourne on behalf of SunGard Availability Services. 550 interviews were conducted altogether: 250 from the UK, and 100 in each of France, Sweden and Ireland. Four audiences were surveyed: IT decision makers (220), finance decision makers (110), marketing decision makers (110), and HR decision makers (110)