This year's technology - half-time report

by Phil von Heydebreck, Head of Business Strategy, Planning and Operations, Telefónica UK

Back in January my colleague Roland Hanbury made some predictions about this year’s top business and technology trends. With the summer solstice now behind us, we’re halfway through 2013 and I thought it would be a great time to pick up where he left off . . .

Flexible working becoming more popular

More companies are offering flexible working policies now than ever before. Figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) speak for themselves: 54% allow home working and 35% support mobile working. And that’s just smaller organisations. For larger ones the numbers are even higher.  Mind you, it’s not all plain sailing. I’ve seen some bigger organisations report that individuals can be put off the idea by cultural and other pressures. There are even others, like Yahoo, actually beginning to operate anti-flexible working policies.

But the CIPD stresses that flexible working is viewed increasingly as an important retention tool, and I fully expect its use to grow as we head into the second half of 2013.

Consumerisation and BYOD remain a slow burn

While 70% of the market are refreshing their mobility policies, only 20% have something that’s formal. But while organisations deal with the liability issues, applications like Dropbox and Evernote are increasingly being used in the workplace.  In fact, I read recently that Forrester Consulting said that 40% of employees have admitted to using some form of unauthorised apps at work, and that’s even higher in SMBs. So while organisations are seeing the benefits of allowing employees to use their own devices, the next six months will see them pay more attention to data management and security requirements.

Billions of devices will drive Big Data

What can I say about Big Data – except it will only get bigger? ABI Research said recently that the number of connected devices is expected to outstrip the number of connected people and reach 30 billion by 2020. And if you can guarantee one thing, it’s that each new device will produce a whole heap of data.

But this growth will also fuel mounting concerns about how this data is treated. It’s not just the US Government under the cosh for the way it treats our data, but also the way some tech companies store and resell it.

So if I were to make one prediction over the next six months, it would be that while all of the above will continue to grow, digital confidence is key. Trust, transparency and security will be the differentiator for organisations looking to succeed.

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