Tech industry steps into 2012 with hopes, reservations

Industry insiders share their highs and lows of 2011 and what they hope to achieve in the new year as big data, cloud computing and IT consumerization trends continue to dominate.
By Ellyne Phneah, Contributor
1 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Better management and mining of the increasing deluge of data, strengthening enterprise security in light of more consumer devices entering the workplace and continued maturing of cloud computing to cut costs amid an uncertain global economy were some key highlights in 2011.

These same trends are likely to continue into 2012, too, said tech players, recruitment executives and a fresh grad, who shared with ZDNet Asia their hopes and reservations for the new year.

2 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Trent Mayberry, managing director of technology growth platform Asean, Accenture

What were the top IT news in 2011 and why?
Microsoft and Nokia's partnership: Microsoft and Nokia announced earlier in 2011 their strategic alliance that would see the latter's smartphones switching to the Windows Phone platform. However, it remains to be seen if this partnership can result in products that will set them apart from the crowd.

Outages at Sony, Amazon.com and RIM: Amazon.com, Sony PlayStation Network and RIM all experienced service outages which received plenty of attention for its scope and duration of damage. These incidents have raised questions about the reliability of the public cloud and a blow to its adoption.

Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street demonstrations: These street protests are testament to the dynamic power of social media, in which demonstrators used Web sites and engaged in photo-sharing, video-streaming as well as micro-blogging tools to spread the movement.

Which was the most under- and over-hyped tech?
Mobility: The impact of mobility has been under-hyped in the corporate world. New mobile technologies have the potential to fundamentally change the way we design and rethink business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) processes, and will be increasingly core to every industry.

Social Media: Social media was both under- and over-hyped. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are not just new communication channels for consumers; they are powerful catalysts that are changing the ways customers, employees and partners use technology to interact with the world around them. Most organizations, however, have yet to catch up to that reality to harness its full potential.

What will be the top technology trends/issues in 2012, and why?
Context-based services: In 2012, we will see the meshing of data services with real-time, location-based signals. CIOs and IT leaders who grasp the importance of these connections will be able to establish themselves as strategic leaders, as they engage the marketing and sales arms to come up with strategies to drive revenue for their businesses,

PaaS/cloud: Continuing a trend we observed in 2011, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) providers are climbing up the software stack, adding services that differentiate them from their rivals. At the same time, software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers are moving down the stack, extending their influence to infrastructure layers. For IT leaders in 2012, the key is to stay focused on the business services that will help them deliver the most value in the shortest time with the greatest agility.

3 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Lionel Lim, president for Asia-Pacific, CA Technologies

What do you think was the biggest enterprise trend in 2011, and why?
We're seeing enterprises starting to come to terms with a "new normal", as cloud computing, virtualization and IT consumerization combined with the global economic slowdown to create a world where customers demand an any time, any where, uninterrupted customer experience.

In Singapore, for example, where nearly every working adult appears to own at least one smartphone, sometimes two, the need for such an experience is clear.

As for cloud computing, interest hit critical mass in many markets globally in 2011 as every IT vendor suddenly started offering cloud solutions.

Our cloud event in Singapore confirmed the high interest as it drew an enthusiastic crowd hungry to learn more about the challenges, technologies and solutions related to cloud computing. After all, its internal study showed 60 percent of CIOs believe that cloud has enabled them to spend more time on business strategy and innovation.

What tech trend will transform the IT landscape in the new year?
In 2012, we expect more businesses to trial cloud-related infrastructure and cloud-based services. At the same time, the initial euphoria about cloud computing will be replaced with more realistic expectations and stronger offerings.

Emerging markets such as Philippines and Thailand, in particular, are looking to the cloud to leapfrog traditional technology implementations. These greenfield markets mean we will be focusing our efforts on a market segment we've termed Asia South, which covers the Southeast Asian countries as well as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

4 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Irving Tan, managing director for Asia South, Cisco

What do you think was the biggest trend for companies in 2011, and why?
Mobility has reshaped the Internet landscape in 2011, becoming a requirement rather than a preference as more consumers take up different kinds of connected mobile devices. In fact, it is expected that by 2015, there will be more than 5.6 billion handheld or personal mobile devices and more than 1.5 billion machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, according to an internal study.

These fast, powerful mobile devices that feature more and richer applications, especially video-related, are the catalysts driving the remarkable data traffic growth. In fact, we anticipate global mobile data traffic to outgrow global fixed data traffic 3.3 times by 2015.

With these devices, the younger members of the workforce are ignoring IT policies by bringing their own devices to work and going to extreme lengths to access the company's network, compromising both the company's and their own security.

Such trends mean businesses will need to better manage these disparate devices on the corporate network, and provide secure access and remote controls for the devices.

What trends do you think will transform IT in 2012?
Cloud computing. It's no longer "the cloud" this year, just cloud, as the industry moves away from treating it as a novelty offering to part of the overall IT ecosystem.

Globally, cloud traffic will grow from just 11 percent of total data center traffic in 2010 to more than a third, specifically 34 percent, by 2015, driven by the quantifiable returns that companies can realize through virtualization and extending this to the desktop. A great example of this is what Singapore's Temasek Polytechnic had achieved with our virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

Other notable trends will be collaboration and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategies. Collaboration, in particular, will play a key role because companies that enable employees to work better together can accelerate the innovation cycle and go to market ahead of the competition.

Rising video usage will also be tracked closely by the cable providers, telcos, Internet service providers and mobile providers.

According to our fifth annual Cisco Visual Networking Index Forecast for 2010 to 2015, the growth of video as a percentage of Internet traffic went from "possible anomaly" to "undisputed trend" in 2011. And there's no end in sight for this growth.

5 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Herbert Vongpusanachai, managing director, DHL Express Singapore

What new technologies emerged in the logistics arena this past year?
Speed, reliability and reach are critical in helping companies capture revenue opportunities and growth potential. And to help our customers, particularly local small and midsize businesses (SMBs), we've worked to provide them with a cost-efficient supply chain model. Our e-Com tools, for one, enable these SMBs to automate and streamline processes, thus giving them the competitive advantages to retain and drive customer demand.

DHL's e-Commerce products not only simplify the shipping process but also give customers the control while ensuring cost and operational efficiency.

What was DHL's most memorable IT project in 2011?
It would be the Vehicle Energy Reduction Program (VERP), and Singapore was chosen to pilot the initiative.

This platform helps our drivers recognize how their driving patterns affect the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by their vehicles, and trains them to adopt more efficient driving behaviors.

6 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Par Botes, corporate vice president & CTO for Asia-Pacific and Japan, EMC

How did global events affect your business partners?
One of the most significant events for our clients would be the natural disasters that afflicted several Asia-Pacific countries, such as Japan and Thailand.

While devastating, these disasters served as important reminders to organizations of the need to develop a comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery strategy. This was previously something companies only talked about but seldom put in action.

Moving into 2012, I foresee increased conversations surrounding disaster recovery and business continuity. Organizations should better understand the need to prepare themselves for such contingencies should they should look to expand their operations to other markets.

What's the No. 1 corporate IT challenge for 2012?
I predict that big data would be the top challenge for companies in the year ahead, especially because of the surge in information growth leading to massive amounts of data being created. This growth will create a number of challenges, such as the ability to make use of business intelligence and analytics tools to extract critical insights to develop new business opportunities.

These challenges are further impeded by the lack of data scientists, based on what we've gathered from our conversations with the data science community in the U.K., U.S., France, Germany, India and China. Thus, I foresee that more vendors will respond to this shortage by providing solutions and training sessions for customers to help them attain the necessary expertise to make use of big data and analytics tools.

7 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Pranabesh Nath, industry manager of ICT practice Asia-Pacific, Frost & Sullivan

Name one industry prediction analysts got wrong/right last year?
I don't think anybody got anything completely wrong, except possibly the prediction that tablet devices would fail. That outlook has been proven wrong by Apple a couple of years back.

What trend(s) do you think will transform IT in 2012?
Further adoption of cloud applications by consumers as well as enterprise, as well as the consumerization of IT, which is a big trend that will accelerate. High-speed broadband will enable these solutions, and applications such as video should be key growth areas.

However costs, complexity, awareness, and lack of infrastructure are still issues in many countries.

What is one technology you'll be watching closely, and why?
I'll be especially interested to see the adoption curve of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones for consumers and also for enterprises that have allowed these devices.

There is a growing trend of people bringing their personal mobile devices to work and using them for both personal and work-related activities. This will only increase as Generation Y employees enter the workforce and expect to work seamlessly with their latest gadgets.

In terms of device development, tablets and smartphones have been very successful in the last couple of years, and are expected to get more sophisticated as hardware and software capabilities increase. Enhanced features should include things such as holographic displays, gesture- and voice-based navigation and user interface (UI), video messaging, etc.

8 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Wong Heng Chew, president of Fujitsu Asia

What was the highlight of 2011?
It was undoubtedly the year when we saw cloud computing interest translated into actual adoption. With organizations emphasizing the benefits of cloud, we saw great potential and opportunities in this market by investing over US$1 billion in cloud-related business.

The government's strong support for cloud computing via initiatives such as its iN2015 IT masterplan and development of a government cloud (G-cloud) has also accelerated our customers' interest and significantly boosted adoption rates.

What do you foresee as the No. 1 IT challenge in 2012?
The deluge of information, though a precious resource, has left organizations flustered and not knowing how to mine the data which they need.

Being in the midst of an "information arms race", big data has become the currency for building competitive advantage. This means that, in the year ahead, organizations that fail to make sense of their data and find new ways to innovate will fall behind. On the other hand, companies who are able to successfully leverage data analytics will not only strengthen their core businesses, but also find new avenues to sustain their growth.

9 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Vernon Vasu, corporate marketing & communications director, Health Promotion Board (HPB)

How important was social media in promoting HPB in 2011?
Last year, we conceptualized our major campaigns using social media as a key platform.

For instance, during the National Smoking Control Campaign (NSCC), we set up the "I Quit Club" on Facebook to help smokers kick the habit. As the "I Quit" branding became a nation-wide movement, the "I Quit Club" on Facebook, which has more than 8,000 members now, became a self-sustaining online community of people supporting and encouraging one another to quit and stay smoke-free.

Obviously, social media has extended the breadth and depth of our outreach activities, empowering us to generate sweeping social movements that cut across all demographics and touch lives. Just as importantly, social media has enabled HPB to initiate meaningful two-way conversations with Singaporeans on various health-related issues.

With regard to the leaked expletive on HPB's Twitter account, what lessons did HPB learn from the incident?
In retrospect, we were almost relieved that we experienced the hiccup earlier rather than later. For one thing, it helped us finetune our operating framework for message distribution. It was a genuinely honest mistake, and we were glad comments from the general online public put the matter in the right perspective.

What are some upcoming IT projects HPB is working on in 2012?
We are constantly seeking innovative ways to help Singaporeans get healthy, and some key campaigns to watch out for next year would be a ramped up National Smoking Control Campaign, the 20th anniversary of the National Healthy Lifestyle Campaign, and various youth-centric campaigns under our "Breathe" branding.

10 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Kelly Tan, managing director and vice president of global sales, Hewlett-Packard (HP) Singapore

What was the biggest thing that affected the industry in 2011?
The year that just passed had been an exciting, yet challenging, one for the technology industry here in Singapore.  We witnessed the increasingly important role of social media play out in this year's general elections, achieved record cloud adoption rates and maintained our status as one of the most connected nations in the world.

The prolific rise of the information economy has had a profound effect on Singapore and HP.  The exploding growth of unstructured and structured data and unlocking its value is the single largest challenge and opportunity for consumers, businesses and governments.

There is now a fundamental shift occurring from the 'T' in Information Technology to the 'I', and the need for real-time analysis of information will decide what technologies prevail.

Name one issue you think the industry should collectively work harder to address.
Security breaches in industries as varied as banking and online games have caused concerns for consumers in 2011, while ageing and complex IT environments with hundreds of apps that sit in their own silos are persistent challenges facing companies today.

As such, we should adopt a solutions-centric focus on IT that integrates infrastructure, software and services into a simple, easy-to-manage core, which will help organizations manage risk, improve resiliency, empower the workforce, increase speed-to-market and, ultimately, increase their capabilities to perform and win.

11 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

David McCloskey, director of product marketing and business operations, Intel Asia-Pacific

What is one thing that will define 2012?
2012 is all about data explosion. According to IDC, there will be a billion more Internet users, 15 billion connected devices, 670 percent more storage capacity and 1,000 exabytes of Internet traffic in three years' time, and these show consumers are driving adoption and use of cloud technologies.

The dramatic increase in mobile Internet use and the demands placed on viewing and using content from the cloud, any time and any where, are just examples of how people are driving cloud use, For instance, Facebook has grown to more than 800 million active users, serves up 600,000 photos per second and 3.5 billion pieces of content shared per week among users. To deal with this growth, it has scaled to 30,000 servers and plans to add another 20,000 in less than 18 months.

Internet video is also expected to account for over 50 percent of the consumer Internet traffic this year, with a good amount of these in high-definition.

According to our internal research, for every 600 smartphones or 122 tablets sold, an Intel Xeon-based server needs to be installed to service the applications that will run on these devices. This trend will continue and likely accelerate this year, and we expect cloud-related Intel Xeon processor shipments to quadruple in the next five years.

How do you see cloud computing fare this year?
There is no denying that practically every business is moving to the cloud or is at least experimenting with it. In a recent worldwide survey of over 800 senior executives, KPMG found that 41 percent of respondents said they are using or plan to use some kind of private cloud and 30 percent said they either are or have plans to use a public cloud.

From our perspective, the majority of businesses in the Asia-Pacific region will still favor hybrid cloud deployments this year. For those that need to bring a service or offering to market quickly, have few regulatory hurdles and are using data that need not be tightly integrated with other parts of the business, however, are turning to public cloud offerings from vendors such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).

There is still a lot of concern and criticism about public cloud due to its lack of interoperability, fear of vendor lock-in and security risks. But initiatives such as the Open Data Center Alliance, which provide an open platform for cloud providers to interoperate, help to mitigate some of these concerns.

Irrespective of how businesses decide to move to the cloud though, one thing is clear: companies are moving to the cloud this year.

12 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Andrew Pickup, chief operating officer, Microsoft Asia-Pacific

What was your organization's biggest IT challenge in 2011, and why?

The most significant IT challenge we faced last year was dealing with the rapid consumerization of IT, striking a fine balance between end-user expectations and enterprise requirements.

As technology plays an increasingly significant role in our personal lives, it has necessarily had a crossover effect on our expectations for its use within our professional lives as well. And with the lines between both continuing to blur, we find ourselves bringing those very same demands of more choice, options and flexibility in the kinds of technology we use to the workplace.

There is no question that consumer technology poses risks, security, privacy, and compliance, for example, to the business environment. However, it also brings with it myriad benefits that enterprises can and should capitalize on.

In the simplest of terms, people love their consumer technology because it makes it easier for them to connect with one another, access and share information, and even collaborate. With the right approach, those same attributes can be harnessed by corporations in a way that minimizes risk, maximizes benefits, and all the while keeping both end-users and regulators happy.

What are software-related issues CIOs in Asia should pay attention to in 2012?
Cloud Computing: It will continue to gain more exposure and interest globally. With business leaders increasingly looking to IT as a means to differentiate product offerings and service delivery, many organizations are considering why and how they should adopt cloud principles. On Microsoft'ss end, we provide the flexibility and control to consume IT as a service in order to best meet their business needs.

Business Intelligence: BI appliances will become an important vehicle in our collective journey to the cloud. With data volumes growing at exponential rates, business leaders can be expected to look to IT as a means to unlock breakthrough insights across their organizations. As cloud computing continues to gain more exposure and interest globally, not only does BI make the managing of such vast amounts of information easier and less expensive, but it also opens up possibilities for new capabilities and products that were not before possible.

13 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Ng See Sing, general manager, NCS Portal City

What was the biggest thing that affected the industry last year? The proliferation of smart mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets was significant. Not just in terms of choice for consumers but, more importantly, how these devices are challenging the traditional mindsets of how consumers and enterprises operate.

As mobile devices continue to be an integral part of people's lifestyles, organizations are looking at enterprise mobility--via a BYOD culture--as a logical extension to increase staff and business productivity. The ability and benefits of having an always-on workforce, enabling many-to-many communication and engagement help drive organizational efficiency and collaboration even with external business partners. This is a key draw.

To facilitate this, organizations will have to look at upgrading their backend systems to support mobile employees, ensuring seamless data transfer and integration across a range of devices and platforms that add to the enterprise mobile experience.

Companies would also have looked at the different ways they can manage conversations and enhance brand visibility with the proliferation of these devices, such as by developing mobile apps.

How have Web portals evolved to accommodate social media and smart devices?
By its very nature, Web portals are very dynamic and always evolving according to the way users access information and e-services.

The key consideration is not merely to introduce tools such as mobility or social media. Rather, it requires a more strategic thinking on how these tools can come together to deliver a richer, smoother and more convenient portal experience for users. The compatibility and design element issues will also need to be tackled for portals to be accessible on all available platforms. One example is the MyTransport.sg portal, which NCS created for the Land Transport Authority (LTA). The site has social sharing plug-ins such as the Facebook Like button, which is integrated to the Facebook site to enable sharing of services and information. This seamless integration shows how Web portals and social media platforms can help contribute to the sites' vibrancy. We have also created a mobile app for the portal in recognition of how mobile warriors today crave control over the way they interact and stay connected. The app not only allows motorists and commuters on-the-go access to land transport information, it also has social participation features, such as Snap & Send, to allow people to update their friends on road conditions and inform LTA of any emergencies. The Snap & Send feature empowers motorists or bystanders to take images of road hazards or traffic congestion and share the information with friends or the LTA.

What digital engagement lessons can enterprises learn from government portals?
Security is paramount for government portals given the sensitivity of data involved. The emphasis on security is seen from the development and implementation of the Infocomm Security Masterplan in 2005. However, the portal's usability must also be equally balanced.

In this, government portals have balanced both elements well and private enterprises can look to emulate this aspect because a secure environment provides the platform for digital engagement to take place.

Another characteristic of government portals is they act as key touchpoints for a larger audience than most private entities are used to. The market for mobile devices will also continue to grow and enterprises need to be ready to finetune their portals' compatibility if they do not wish to alienate segments of their customers.

As such, the best practices used by government agencies to provide portal access across various devices and operating systems would benefit enterprises, too.

14 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Yap Chee Yuen, senior vice president and head of innovation and technology and operation services, Resorts World Sentosa

What was RWS's most interesting IT project in 2011?
Big data is one such project as we have started to move into the next phase of understanding our data.

At the same time, application integration between the various niche transactional systems continue to be our focus to enhance our productivity and process efficiency as information flows through the different business functions.

We have utilized mobile apps and the use of social media networks to serve our visitors better too, by providing timely information on our resort's attractions, such as the timing of theme park rides. Sharing and blogging the excitement of our new rides and attractions on Facebook and Twitter also provide useful interaction with our loyal customers.

RWS was also one of the seven organizations in the pioneer batch certified last year for the Singapore Standard for Green Data Center, or SS 564, developed by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). We were also awarded the Green IT Sustainability Award by the Singapore Business Federation in 2011.

What is your top IT priority in 2012?
Big data continues to be our main focus for data analytics and mining, as we strive for better understanding of our customers, smoother operation of our different business domains and developing relevant marketing strategies.

Additionally, the remaining one-third of the resort, which is primarily water-based theme parks and attractions, will be completed this year. So our IT projects will focus on niche business applications supporting the Marine Life Park and Water Theme Park operations and visitors' activities. The spa, too, will need IT support as it prepares for business this year.

We will also continue to expand the use of RFID, wireless and mobile technologies in the sprawling resort and theme park grounds, as the number of attractions and visitors continue to increase.

15 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Pri Sandhu, manager of IT Commerce division, Robert Walters Singapore

Comparing 2011 and 2012, how will hiring expectations differ and why?
The past year saw a great demand for IT professionals at the middle-management levels and project managers across the healthcare, FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) and electronics sectors. These managers would ideally possess infrastructure skills in storage, systems engineering and games development too, and we anticipate similar hiring trends for 2012.

Will hiring slow or grow?
The tech, consulting and telecommunications sectors are likely to see cautious yet positive hiring in the new year as well, with tech vendors looking to hire IT professionals for pre-sales, data center, program management, Java development, cloud computing and virtualization purposes. Those with security and data storage skillsets will similarly be in demand as companies look to harden their security and storage systems.

However, the financial services sector will remain cautious due to an uncertain global economic climate.

If banks do hire, though, they will looking for project managers to tackle software development initiatives for mobile and Internet banking. Infrastructure support experts might also see interest as numerous institutions continue to shift their data centers and offices. Additionally, as banks expand in Asia, people who can communicate to stakeholders and address business issues in person will be required.

16 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Chang Boon Hai, director, department of computer and information system, Singapore Polytechnic

What was Singapore Polytechnic's (SP) most noteworthy tech project for 2011?
It would have to be our pilot project undertaken by SP's Diploma in Music and Audio Technology (DMAT) cohort to pioneer the use of Apple's iPad device as a music production tool as well as enhance teaching and learning within and outside classrooms.

In terms of music production, the iPad was used for composing and producing songs and music as well as act as a portable recording device. Students can then create music anywhere without being confined within recording studios, thus alleviating our facility-crunch issue. They can also learn music and music production without having to invest in large and immobile musical instruments and audio recording tools.

Learning was also made more engaging and fun with the introduction of "edutainment" programs on the iPad, which included games and interactive quizzes.

Do you foresee budget adjustments this year?
There is no change in IT budget compared with last year's.

What is your top three IT priority in 2012?
Our top priorities for the year are in security, mobility and cloud computing.

17 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Benedict Tan, group CIO at SingHealth

What was the most interesting IT project for SingHealth in 2011?
The two most interesting IT projects were the implementation of the electronic dental records (EDR) system at the National Dental Center, and the electronic clinical documentation (ECD) system at SingHealth Polyclinics.

With the EDR system rollout, clinicians can electronically chart all general and specialty dental records, document diagnosis and treatment, and instantly access shared data and collaborate with others. This is the first custom-built solution in the country to integrate all major aspects of dental management in a large-scale dental institution.

With the ECD system, all SingHealth Polyclinics are almost paperless today. Doctors and nurses can now enter patient notes electronically, and instantly access and share online notes on a patient's history, physical examination, diagnosis, and care plans.

These projects have significantly improved our healthcare staff's efficiency, and freed up more of their time for quality patient care.

Will this year's IT budget be higher or lower than last year's
Following the successful implementation of many healthcare-related IT projects in recent years and the tangible impact on patient care quality and staff efficiency, there is an increasing interest and emphasis in harnessing IT to benefit patients. Together with Singapore's Ministry of Health's drive to exploit technology, there has been an increase in our allocated IT budget for 2012.

How do you plan to utilize the IT budget then?
We have implemented electronic nurse charting, order entry and medication management. Our next step toward a paperless environment will be to introduce clinical documentation across all SingHealth institutions.

Additionally, healthcare analytics will be extended to cover clinical data mining and analysis. This will enable us to leverage the extensive existing data in our systems to uncover information and knowledge that would facilitate our mission to continually improve patient services and treatment outcomes, especially in research.

We are also working with our clinicians to launch more mobile apps to encourage patients to play a greater role in co-managing their medical condition with us.

Our health diary mobile app for arthritis patients, for example, has succeeded in getting patients to regularly enter their medical condition into their phones, and adhere to the prescribed care regimes. Such mobile apps enable better disease management and improved patient outcomes, without increasing our operational costs.

18 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Srinivasa Addepalli, senior vice president of corporate strategy and communications, Tata Communications

What was the top IT news in 2011?
The coming of age of cloud computing.

With increased uncertainty in the business environment caused by changing customer demands, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) allows organizations to manage their businesses in line with growing and fluctuating market demands and rapidly evolving technology.

Name one issue you think the industry should collectively work harder to address.
While cloud computing has moved on from the concept stage to become one of the fastest-growing IT segments, its potential is still thwarted by from end-users, particularly large enterprises.

The industry should look at collectively addressing these security concerns to encourage better adoption. Customers now need to trust cloud services, and partner with vendors that are secure in order to fully realize the technology's maximum potential.

What do you think the biggest challenge facing IT departments will be in 2012?
Consumerization of IT is a trend that most organizations will continue to struggle with in the coming year. End-users have increasingly been using their personal devices and applications in the workplace, and this presents a huge challenge for IT departments to monitor and control.

To address this, IT departments will have to rethink their current centralized structure and existing policies of providing support to on-premise devices inside the firewall and work on providing support to multiple devices and applications such as Salesforce.com or Dropbox that employees are gravitating toward.

19 of 19 Ellyne Phneah/ZDNET

Jimmy Ling, bachelor of computer science graduate, Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

How's the job search been so far? Do you find the job market favorable?
I have applied to 32 IT companies but only three have gotten back to me so far. Of the three which replied, only one expressed further interest by asking if I would be available for an interview. From this response, I would say the job market definitely does not look optimistic.

However, my friends who have secured jobs recently have received good job packages such as a high basic salary and good welfare benefits, so it's not all negative.

How has your time in NTU prepare you for an IT job?
The curriculum provided by the school has definitely prepared us for the job market. It aided us in picking up the skills and knowledge required from the internships we were required to participate in.

During my internship in the IT department of a company, I learnt a lot about how information flows within a large-scale organization with almost 20,000 employees and contractors. It is a challenge to ensure that information flow from a party to another is accurate and fast.

However, I wished I had more opportunities to learn about IT security. Secured information is required when it comes to exchanging sensitive information. I still find managing the security of such information quite a challenge because I do not understand the procedures very well.

Is it important that you have access to social media and bring/use your own tech devices at work?
It depends on the role you are taking up. If the role requires a lot of on-the-go research, having your own device such as an iPad will definitely come in handy.

As for access to social media, it has to be subjective in its dealing of relationships between yourself and your work partners. For example, checking in to your workplace on Facebook shows that you're accessing social media during work hours, which might not leave a good impression on your boss.

Related Galleries

Holiday wallpaper for your phone: Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's, and winter scenes
Holiday lights in Central Park background

Related Galleries

Holiday wallpaper for your phone: Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's, and winter scenes

21 Photos
Winter backgrounds for your next virtual meeting
Wooden lodge in pine forest with heavy snow reflection on Lake O'hara at Yoho national park

Related Galleries

Winter backgrounds for your next virtual meeting

21 Photos
Holiday backgrounds for Zoom: Christmas cheer, New Year's Eve, Hanukkah and winter scenes
3D Rendering Christmas interior

Related Galleries

Holiday backgrounds for Zoom: Christmas cheer, New Year's Eve, Hanukkah and winter scenes

21 Photos
Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6: Electric vehicle extravaganza

Related Galleries

Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6: Electric vehicle extravaganza

26 Photos
A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex

Related Galleries

A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex

22 Photos
Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup

Related Galleries

Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup

8 Photos
Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'
Full of promises!

Related Galleries

Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'

8 Photos