Top 10 Trends to Help Elevate Information Technology for Digital Business

Michelle Remo, “Big 4″ observer
February 07, 2012 /

The unique convergence of five emerging technology forces – analytics, mobility, social, cloud and cyber security – provide the opportunity for businesses to accelerate performance in 2012, according to Deloitte’s 3rd annual Tech Trends report Elevate IT for Digital Business.

“It’s an uncommon time to have so many emerging forces – all rapidly evolving, technology-centric and each already impacting business so strongly,” said Mark White, principal and chief technology officer, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

“The convergence of these forces offers a new set of tools, opening the door to a new set of rules for operations, performance and competition. Our report outlines the opportunity for IT to truly help elevate business performance.”

The Deloitte report identifies the top 10 technology trends that will have the most potential to impact businesses over the next 18-24 months, grouping the trends into two categories: Disruptors and Enablers.

Disruptors – Social Business, Gamification, Enterprise Mobility Unleashed, User Empowerment and Hyper-hybrid Cloud – are technologies that can create sustainable positive disruption in IT capabilities, business operations and sometimes even business models.

Enablers – Big Data Goes to Work, Geospatial Visualization, Digital Identities, Measured Innovation and Outside-in Architecture – are technologies in which many CIOs have already invested time and effort, but which may warrant another look this year because of new developments.

“Forward-thinking organizations should consider developing an explicit strategy in each of the areas outlined in our report – even if that strategy is to wait-and-see,” said Bill Briggs, director and deputy chief technology officer, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

“We encourage organizations to step up – now – and take advantage of these digital forces. No business should get caught unaware or unprepared.”

Each trend is presented with at least two examples of adoption to show the trend at work. This year, a new “My Take,” section was added to each chapter, which provides commentary and examples from CIOs, academics and other luminaries about the utility of the trend in business.

Big Data Goes to Work

To maintain contact with customers, a car rental company received thousands of pieces of feedback daily through web surveys, e-mail commentary, text messages and feedback cards across its 8,000 locations.

Geographic dispersion of the business and the unstructured form of the content, however, made it difficult. Big data changed all of that. Previously unwieldy data volumes were able to be processed centrally – with consistent rules, metrics and analysis.

Insights on potential service improvements, addressing staffing issues at specific sites during specific times, were uncovered and resulted in measurable gains in customer satisfaction.

Social Business

A beverage manufacturer’s social media mission control can demonstrate the potential of social business. A hub in the company’s marketing department tracks social media activity about the manufacturer’s brand, endorsements, competitors and broader related topics.

Detailed sentiment analysis tracks products, campaigns and customers across their lifecycles. Brand attributes are observed, correlated with media performance and utilized to proactively reach out to influencers and customers.

The results drive strategic marketing plans and product development, and tactical activities such as improving landing pages and content delivery. Initial results are impressive, with claims of 250 percent increase in engagement and 65 percent reduction in early page exits. Social activities likely contributed to its U.S. volume sales growing 10 percent in the second quarter of 2010 — following three consecutive years of declining sales.

Hyper-hybrid Cloud

A paper manufacturer with several cloud solutions at the infrastructure, data, platform and application level, needed a better approach to manage its hyper-hybrid application footprint. Bypassing the internal build-out of integration and orchestration services, the manufacturer instead partnered with an aggregator and orchestrator of cloud services that managed all of the relationships and interdependences required.

Any back-end complexity is transparent to the manufacturer, which simply contracts with its partner to manage service levels that are informed by business objectives.


A health care provider rolled out an interactive platform for users to establish health goals, use game mechanics to monitor their progress and tap into social channels for extra motivation. Users can cultivate a virtual tree representing their physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual well-being – earning “water” and “seeds” by completing tasks such as taking a walk, eating healthy, or putting savings into an emergency fund.

In a beta trial, users visited the site an average of 35 times per week, spending about 15 minutes each visit. These users set out to complete 13 million actions – and performed about three-quarters of them. This represents a 50 percent increase over prior attempts without gamification.

Enterprise Mobility Unleashed

A railway transportation provider is investing in mobility in a big way, targeting conductors and customers to build on record-high ridership and revenue performance in 2011. Few corporate analytics or decision-support systems were available to railways. Mobility is changing that. A combination mobile app and magnetic-stripe reader solution is modernizing railway operations and the industry.

Conductors use the app to process tickets, performing prompt fraud validation, providing customer notification of potential scheduling issues, and feeding into a sophisticated model that tracks customers and their location on the train. This usability has led to enthusiastic adoption by non-tech-savvy conductors in a matter of minutes – versus weeks of training for IT services that have historically led to poor traction, usage and results.


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