Big Data, sustainability, talent management, upcoming markets or an outdated personnel-file, these are all trends that are of great strategic importance. Because of this, these themes are more and more on the agendas of CxO’s. A new research by Atos shows however that, out of five of the above mentioned trends, only one will have an impact on strategy and operational management. Yet, the trend with the biggest impact was not even mentioned: Liquid IT. By 2017, Liquid IT, according to Atos, will be the most important distinctive power.
In its latest 'Ascent' research series called 'Look out - Trends 2014+', advisory firm Atos presents an overview of 25 disruptive trends for CxO's. The 25 identified trends are plotted against the business impact and spread over time:
From Atos perspective, five trends can be dubbed as 'transformational', implying that they will radically change business models and the way the operational management is run. Business / IT alignment, Sustainability and Social Business are meanwhile well-known concepts, so little needs to be explained on their mega potential.
The abbreviation 'SoLoMo', which stands for 'Social-Local-Mobile', needs some explanation though. Atos believes that the combination of these three factors can lead to goldmines in terms of value:
- Social: leverage firms can use intelligence about social behaviors to expand the reach and popularity of services
- Local: location information (using GPS, Wi-Fi or Cell-ID) can be leveraged to increase proximity and relevance of services
- Mobile: mobile will soon be the primary channel for services, meaning that firms should integrate it into their propositions
The most important trend is what Atos calls 'Liquid IT'. The basis of the concept centers on seamless integration between the business and IT. Yet the difference with 'standard' IT systems is that 'Liquid IT' provides the business with extreme customized services, flexibility speed and ease of use, and that in a manner that maximizes agility against minimal cost. Perhaps it sounds as a dream for all organizations anno 2013, yet by 2017 it will, according to advisors, be around and dominate the agendas of CxO's.
Overview of a Liquid IT Operating Model
So how will such a Liquid IT look like? Three main side conditions need to be in place. First of all, there needs to be a Liquid IT Operating Model (see above), complete transparency in terms of total cost of ownership (TCO) and a 'fluid' infrastructure (see below), which is built on a combination of PaaS and SaaS components.
Overview of a Liquid IT Infrastructure