10 action items IT departments should complete by next year

Accenture compiles the top forces reshaping IT, and what should be done about them within the next 12 months.

We know that there are a number of trends and initiatives -- including Platform as a Services (PaaS), big data, social, and mobile -- that are changing the nature of information technology work. We know those forces are present in most organizations today.

Accenture Technology Labs just released its Technology Vision 2012 forecast, which identifies these emerging IT developments -- based on input from the Labs’ scientists, architects, and engineers, as well as crowdsourced perspectives from across the industry.

Accenture says the time to act on these changes to IT priorities is now. We culled 10 key action items that Accenture says should be on IT departments' plates one year from now, touching on PaaS, big data, converged data, and security. There's a lot of consult-speak in here, but the points reflect how businesses need to find ways to better embrace and work with the data they are now collecting:

  1. Look at 'data services': "Re-architect the organizational structure to gear it toward data services."
  2. Engage more with the business on data services: "Organize active, ongoing discussions with business functions about new data services needed."
  3. Test solutions that incorporate unstructured data (documents, video, log data): "Run data platform trials that leverage structured and unstructured data—with data in the platform and in use by one or more business processes."
  4. Inventory where data services are needed: "Compile a firm list of context-based services that is regularly updated as circumstances change—and that forms the basis of discussion with the business side in order to drive the platform for context across the enterprise."
  5. Put together a team to identify where data services are needed: "Form a pilot team that blends user experience specialists with data scientists to experiment with new contextual data services."
  6. Expand data services efforts: "Create a list of other business processes that can begin to leverage data in the platform."
  7. Enable greater experimentation with solutions: "Forge closer partnerships with the business to allow blended teams with fast-turn experiments in mind."
  8. Move to Platform as a Service: Demonstrate how IT will be able to "evaluate and work with platform providers much as it works with conventional outsourcing services."
  9. Build security considerations into the early stages of every project: "Establish processes that make robust, flexible security a priority when IT systems are being designed and developed."
  10. Recognize IT's new evolving role in coordinating both internal and external services: "Create clear orchestration roles that specify how IT works with service providers."

[UPDATE: As you can see the comments below, this post is generating quite a bit of discussion about consultant-speak, or what reader Jorwell calls XML, or "eXcitable Marketing Language." The Accenture report does distill important considerations IT and business managers need to address or be aware of. But, as is always the goal here at this blogsite, we'll try to keep the consultant-speak toned down as far as possible in future posts.]