1. Global Service Delivery: IT infrastructure outsourcing has been one of the mainstays of IT outsourcing industry. Over the years, it’s composition has changed significantly. IT infrastructure outsourcing was traditionally limited to domestic outsourcing companies that had the financial and operational capabilities to build and manage data centers, network operation centers (NOCs), help desks and support end-users on the ground. In last couple of years, that model has undergone a massive change. With increased server virtualization technologies and availability of sufficient bandwidth, remote server management has become the de facto standard in data centers. This has led to offshore companies coming to the table with multiple services models and competing with traditional IT infrastructure outsourcing firms. This trend will become stronger in 2012, with offshore providers building on successes of 2011 and competing strongly in new IT infrastructure deals. I believe offshore providers have turned a new page in capacity development and service delivery maturity, with India emerging as a key hub of activity and achieving a critical mass of IT skills required for IT infrastructure management. Specifically, remote data center management, NOCs, remote end-user support and severity 2/3 help desks will see increased competitiveness from offshore service providers. I do not believe physical data centers will move away from United States. Offshore service providers will continue to work with US based data center companies to provide IT infrastructure solutions.
2. Geographical Dispersion: Another key area for IT Infrastructure outsourcing will be developing new centers for service delivery in diverse geographical regions. I believe Latin America and Eastern Europe will continue to emerge as secondary delivery centers. In fact, service delivery management tools that facilitate seamless movement of operational tasks across geographies are already mainstream. I regularly see service provider service delivery toolsets and proposals espousing a true global delivery management structure, following client’s flow of IT operations across multiple geographies. This geographical dispersion is expected to continue into 2012, because of an ease of use/similar time-zone support requirements as well as geo-political considerations.
3. Consolidation: Another key trend for 2012 is consolidation of IT infrastructure. Ongoing pressure on profit margins, technology growth and streamlined internal reporting requirements are continuing a world-wide push in IT organizations to consolidate their IT infrastructure and personnel into a more centralized architecture that supports IT requirements in a highly virtual, modular way. With the continuously lower hardware costs, premium is being placed in IT organizations on an ability to reduce IT management costs, with a centralized structure seen as a preferred concept. We have witnessed multiple initiatives where global organizations are consolidating IT infrastructure in just a few global hubs to provide service delivery across geographies and companies.
4. Cloud Computing: Cloud computing will have a big impact on IT infrastructure service delivery as well as IT application management in 2012. The advent of cloud is rooted in the concept of shared availability, immediate scalability and usage based payment. Cloud providers such as Amazon, Google, Rackspace, AT&T have created large server farms that allow for scaling IT infrastructure almost effortlessly. Cloud enablers are working with clients to identify services that are best delivered on cloud and I believe 2012 will see increasing traction for multiple cloud based service categories, most notably Products as a Service (PaaS) & Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) domains. There still are a lot of questions that will need to be answered before organizations will consider cloud as a viable option for most critical systems but we will see an increasing push for adopting variants of cloud based services in IT service delivery across the spectrum. For now, they will likely include non-core business applications and services and provisioning of non-critical IT infrastructure.
1. Consumer Focus: 2011 was a banner year for Business to Consumer (B2C) applications, not in the least due to the tsunami of mobile devices that resulted in a terrific spurt in new application development, porting or upgrading of existing applications. The key categories included media (video content), retail and healthcare. 2011 saw a big jump in the share of ecommerce, including mobile commerce as compared to retail store purchases. 2012 will be no different. I believe this year should mark a fundamental shift in the consumer purchasing behavior, with more and more consumers making significant portion of total discretionary purchases electronically. This trend is also catching on in developing countries and 2012 will see a strengthening trend.
2. Business Analytics: Across industries, the amount of data being captured is growing exponentially. As such, 2012 will present significant opportunities for companies providing business analytics solutions. There has been an explosion of data availability in the consumer space. Organizations will look to technology and managed outsourcing services in order to mine this data and leverage it to position products and services better. The retail, healthcare, banking and media industries will mark the highpoint of data analytics requirements. In United States, healthcare is one of the growth industries for 2012 and new EHR (Electronic Health Record) requirements are expected to be a key driver for data management, portability and analytics domains.
3. Social Media & Online Gaming: I believe that social media, social commerce and online gaming are among 3 top growth application areas for 2012. With LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and other private/public networking sites, a supporting ecosystem of applications, games and technology tools will continue to develop in the coming year. As traditional IT Application development areas mature, IT service companies will have an increased focus on these technology organizations.