Top technology trends for 2015

Top technology trends for 2015

Gartner forecasts worldwide IT spending in 2015 will grow by 3.7 per cent to US$3.88 trillion. So what technologies are businesses investing in this year? Here are the four big trends:

1. Customer-process technologies

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and marketing automation tools are becoming increasingly important as your customers demand a more personalised experience when doing business with you.

To treat your customers as individuals you need to learn about them. Have they been to your website? What pages have they viewed? How many times have they called your support team? Do they prefer to communicate via online chat, phone or email? Customer-process technologies capture and help you respond to these types of questions.

And with customer-process technologies knowledge is power. You can send customised emails and provide custom phone-routing to suit individual needs. You can prioritise your most important customers and understand why dissatisfied customers leave you.

Customer-process technology is traditionally very expensive and reserved only for big business but Cloud-based “pay as you go” services are making advanced tools affordable for even the smallest of businesses.

2. Big data

The Internet of Things is here and every day more and more products are becoming Internet-enabled. Your business has increasing opportunities to learn more about your customers and to respond faster to their needs but leveraging the vast amounts of data available requires collection, storage and analysis. Big data analysis can only be done effectively with cutting edge software tools and more hardware to support the data crunching.

To access big data you will need to decide whether it makes more sense to upgrade your own servers and storage, outsource to a cloud-based service or take a hybrid approach and do both.

3. Cognisant Computing

This is the ‘next phase of the personal cloud’ where services and advertising are automatically tailored to your needs. With Cognisant Computing your device acts as a personal assistant for you by understanding what your need and proactively presenting it to you, eventually acting on your behalf through learnt or explicit rules. For example, it would automatically change your hotel booking if your flight is cancelled.

For businesses, Cognisant Computing gives greater knowledge of consumers and helps fine-tune marketing approaches and offers. Businesses need to adapt their strategies to take advantage of this, and create applications and devices that can harness it.

4. Mobility

Mobile device growth is flattening out but mobility products are a big focus this year. Thirty nine per cent of businesses listed mobility as a priority according to TechTarget, and it’s also expected that by 2017 half of employers will require employees to use their own devices for work.

As you introduce mobility and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies into your business a major area of consideration is mobile security, with a focus on device management and mobile endpoint security.

Want to know more?

Need advice on new IT projects, please feel free to contact us for IT services and support in Melbourne.

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upgrading your server in 2015 banner

Upgrading your server in 2015

The start of a new year is generally a very busy time for server upgrades. This year is particularly busy with the imminent End of Support (EOS) of Windows Server 2003. But out of date servers are not the only reason why businesses are upgrading as many are under pressure to provide better tools to help staff better collaborate both in the office and on the road.

Reasons to upgrade

The latest server technology offers you more robust security and availability options than ever before. This helps you protect your vital intellectual property and avoid redundancy-related concerns.

There are also a raft of new features such as the ability to use IPv6, modern virtualization software with Hyper-V, comprehensive management with System centre 2012 R2 and more options to help make it easier to deploy and manage Microsoft’s new Windows Server operating system.

Cloud is a hot topic, but is not the entire answer

The shift in the industry towards Cloud leads a lot of our customers to believe that there is no longer the need for an on-premise server. There will undoubtedly be a move to Cloud deployments for some workloads but regardless of all the talk emerging that Cloud will be the future of IT, the on-premise server still has a vital role to play in the development of IT infrastructures for business of all sizes. Three key reasons for this are performance, redundancy and reliability.

What to consider when upgrading?

A recent IDC white paper titled Business Risk: Effective Technology Protecting your Business, states that one of the major concerns of small-medium businesses is reliability. Reliability of in-house servers is a long-standing requirement but as more Cloud technology rolls out the reliability of a fast internet connection to the Cloud is also key.

For the majority of businesses we recommend a hybrid approach, which is essentially a mix of physical servers and/or storage on-site and Cloud-based apps to provide a fast, efficient and reliable solution.

We also suggest you review your software programs as part of the server upgrade. A report entitled Windows server 2003: Why you should get current (IDC July 2014), recommends a holistic approach be taken when considering possible upgrades. “Think not just about an operating system migration/update but also about the entire software ecosystem and make good decisions that benefit the whole application stack and offer the longest return on investment.”

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farewell windows server 2003

Farewell to Windows Server 2003

There are many thousands of us still using Windows Server 2003 quite happily but Microsoft is ending support for this platform next year so it’s time to say goodbye. When it comes to migrating away from this platform here are four common questions we get asked:

1. Is Microsoft still the way to go?

Sure there are Linux servers that do lots of really cool stuff and run programs that do very similar things to the Windows servers, but unfortunately the support for these is hard to find. Windows servers are generally cheaper to maintain relative to the functions they provide for most applications. A recent article by IDC stated that 73% of servers in industry are Windows servers.

2. Why Windows Server 2012?

There are plenty of reasons why the latest Windows Server 2012 R2, released October 2013, is a reasonable choice for your upgrade. It is now over one year old and has been well accepted by the IT community as being a stable platform with good features, such as:

  • Hyper V for server virtualisation so you can run multiple servers on one physical box.
  • Improved system scale with support for more memory, more storage and more virtual machines.
  • Direct Access to support secure remote connections from Windows 7 and 8 PCs.
  • Improved Remote Desktop Services for running hosted desktops and applications for remote workers or local terminals.
  • Server management tools that allow for more efficient server management from central IT departments or agencies.

A large number of very technical improvements have been made relating to security, performance, application support, cloud integration and hybrid operations.

Other reasons to migrate to Windows 2012 R2 include:

  • Standardisation – so all your servers are on one simple to manage platform rather than several.
  • Application support – applications providers also do not like to have to support multiple operating systems so unless you are stuck on a legacy application that is not being upgraded anymore your suppliers will probably stop supporting your applications installed on old platforms.
  • BYOD and Mobility – today staff want to be able to access your IT platforms from anywhere on any device and the features of 2012 R2 are designed with this in mind.
  • Hybrid and public cloud – 2012 R2 is designed for a Mobile first Cloud first IT environment so when you are ready to adopt these solutions the platform will support you.
3. Is it easier to upgrade to a Windows 2008 server?

Some say it is an easier step to go from Windows Server 2003 to 2008 because there are fewer new things to learn about the operating system. However in 2012 many more useful functions were added for virtualisation and access to cloud components. If this is not enough of a reason for avoiding the interim step of 2008 Server then perhaps the idea that 2008 is already reaching end of life for full support and will soon be on extended support is. Windows Server 2008 is already a 6 year old system so you could expect no more than a few years from it before the end of its life is announced.

4. We need to upgrade, so what’s next?

If you need to upgrade from Windows Server 2003 then now is the time to start developing an internal response plan or call on external expertise to come in and assist with this project.

Your plan should determine the destination and set out to inventory what will be impacted. You will then need to plan for applications to be tested or upgraded in line with the determined requirements. This is not a project to be left to the last minute as a threat such as the recent Heart Bleed virus could be enough to force you to make sudden changes that have a serious impact on your business. If you are faced with a situation where the server must be shut down or taken off line instantly to protect your reputation or stop the spread of malicious code it will be too late to call for help.

Need to upgrade?

Let BusinessWorks help you plan your server upgrade. Call us on 1300 732 810.

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