IBM Tech Trends Report for 2012

2012 IBM Tech Trends ReportThe IBM Center for Applied Insight and developerWorks recently released their first IBM Tech Trends Report to explore adoption of major tech trends. This inaugural report focused on business analytics, cloud computing, mobile technology, and social business. It’s difficult to argue with the decision to focus on these areas. There are big paradigm changing trends of our time. But guess what they all have in common?

Barriers to adoption in the IBM Tech Trends Report

“Security concerns consistently rank as the most significant barrier to adoption across mobile, cloud computing and social business. Even in business analytics, where data typically stays inside an organization’s firewall, securing and controlling access to data still places as the number-two barrier to adoption.”

The IBM Tech Trend Report notes that as companies rush to adopt to take advantage of these trends, they are becoming more focused on ther security efforts around the core asset:

In each area, organizations are struggling to protect what is arguably their most important asset: information. As one educator put it, “In terms of security, it’s not the computers. It’s not the network. It’s the information. It’s the ‘I’ part of IT. That’s where the value is, and that’s where the danger is.”

Learning styles in the IBM Tech Trends Report

The IBM Tech Trends Report goes on to dive deeper into the skills gaps companies are facing in all of these areas and how leading companies “the pacesetters” are addressing their skills gap. It’s interesting that you see very little mention of classroom style learning an traditional education courses. Instead, pacesetters seem to favor:

  • Sponsoring sandboxes
    • Give IT staff the leeway to “play” with new technologies.
    • Provide infrastructure to host experimental systems; consider cloud computing to experiment at lower risk and cost.
    • Fuel innovation by crowd-sourcing ideas from your own staff.
  • Seeking  out experiential learning:
    • Take advantage of opportunities to try new technologies through evaluation software and beta programs.
    • Experiment “in the open.” Make experimental systems available internally, allowing quick iterative refinement.

All of that makes me very happy to be part of the developerWorks team. Security is maybe a tricky business for adopting this type of learning style. Security software tends to be highly distributed and requires deep integration with IT infrastructure. And the costs of setting up sandboxes are higher and the risks of  messing up are higher. But nonetheless, this  seems to the most effective approach to learning among pace setting companies and I thnk that’s going to be the big challenge for us in the security site at developerWorks for 2013. We need to focus on stuff you can do, stuff you can play with, stuff you can experiment with in a sandbox.

Other Findings

Here’s an interactive infographic that highlights some of the other key findings from the study.

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