What our customers are saying: Top enterprise trends of 2014

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The following post is from Susan Hauser, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Enterprise and Partner Group, Microsoft.

In my travels, I chat with different customers across industries and geographies – from manufacturing companies in Europe to retailers in Asia to hoteliers in Latin America. As we approach the end of 2013, some key themes emerged from my conversations that are instructional to both what customers’ emerging needs are and where the technology industry is going. So, with the New Year upon us, what trends should your business anticipate? Here are a few that will play a role in defining the year to come:

Internet of Things made real. We’re all familiar with the challenge of big data – how the volume, velocity and variety of data is overwhelming. Studies confirm the conclusion many of you have reached on your own: There’s more data crossing the Internet every second than existed on the Internet in total 20 years ago. And now, as customers deploy more sensors and devices in every part of their business, the data explosion is just beginning. This concept, called the “Internet of Things,” is a hot topic among my customer conversations. Many businesses are uncovering efficiencies based on how connected devices drive decisions with more precision in their organizations. A great example of this is leading German hospital Siloah St. Trudpert Klinikum, which built a system to integrate operating room devices, machines and data sources to improve patient care. However, equally important is ensuring businesses are analyzing the right data sets, absorbing some data in real-time and leaving other data at the device or allowing machine-to-machine communication. This strategy – understanding what data needs to be absorbed vs. ignored – is where the “Internet of Things” becomes real. It will be a big deal in 2014.

“Reverse BYOD.” Most of us have seen firsthand how a mobile workplace can blur the line between our personal and professional lives. Today’s road warrior aren't tethered to PCs in a traditional office setting.  They move between multiple devices throughout their workdays with the expectation that they’ll be able to access their settings, data and applications. Forrester estimates that nearly 80 percent of workers spend at least some portion of their time working out of the office, and 29 percent of the global workforce can be characterized as “anywhere, anytime” information workers. We used to call this trend “bring your own device” or “BYOD.” But now we’re seeing the reverse. In my conversations with customers, business-ready, secure devices are getting so good that organizations are centrally deploying mobility solutions that are equally effective at work and play. One example of this is Delta Airlines, which rolled out 19,000 Nokia Lumia 820 handsets to its flight attendants and equipped 11,000 pilots with Surface devices to replace electronic flight bags. Delta expects to save $11 million per year with these rollouts. It’s an exciting time to go mobile in 2014.
 
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