Decision-makers in charge of finding, assessing and engaging with suppliers will need to change their tactics in 2013 and beyond due to the emergence of several innovative technologies. Sourcing managers need to consider how big data, social tools, mobile devices and cloud computing present new risks and opportunities in the procurement of resources, according to a report by Gartner.
Rather than segregating these three technologies and evaluating them separately, analysts said sourcing executives need to consider them as a converged entity that can evolve in the coming years.
“The convergence of these forces, which Gartner calls the nexus of forces, is what drives real business value,” said Linda Cohen, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “The nexus of forces converge in several ways: cloud, mobile and social solutions enable the distribution of information, social media usage and behavior drive mobile and information solutions, and cloud can be a foundation for information, social and mobile solutions.”
Attaining a new perspective and understanding the evolving IT landscape will be critical in the future because it will enable sourcing managers to take a holistic approach to adopting and using these technologies in the most efficient way. Because each of the services associated with the nexus of forces will have some sort of impact on the lifecycle of most applications, Gartner noted, having a comprehensive sense of technology’s importance will be crucial.
The cloud will change everything
Gartner reported that the majority of decision-makers will use or consider the public cloud as a model to host applications that will be upgraded, replaced or modernized within the next two years. In order for cloud infrastructure services to be used properly, however, decision-makers need to understand how the technology will create multiple hosting environments, especially when companies implement on-site and off-premises solutions.
The cloud’s flexible and scalable environments will also make it easier for firms to adopt mobile and big data strategies, which will create alternative sourcing demands. In the past, individuals were usually restricted to performing business operations in the office at their desktop. Today, consumerization trends have enabled employees to use mission-critical applications from virtually anywhere at any time. This means the same applications cannot be used, requiring sourcing managers to have a knowledgeable understanding of the IT landscape.
“To establish the most appropriate sourcing approach for 2013, sourcing managers must take a more holistic approach and understand wider IT service market trends,” said Frank Ridder, research vice president at Gartner. “To benefit, sourcing managers must consider the influence of the convergence of the nexus of forces on the services sourcing life cycle of activities, rather than considering each factor as a separate trend.”
A separate report by Sand Hill Group also highlighted how cloud, mobile, social and big data are all connected because each technology uses the others as fuel to rapidly expand. As companies increasingly use digital solutions, they will be required to leverage next-generation tools to support a growing remote workforce and all the other changes occurring in the private sector.
As decision-makers encounter issues surrounding information reliability and availability, they will turn to the use of cloud and other services to make management and accessibility less complicated for the workforce. Sourcing managers and other IT executives will need to ensure they understand the evolving technical landscape before deploying and using any solutions, as each will provide its own unique set of benefits. Because social, mobile, information and cloud computing are all related, having a sound comprehension of each will be crucial.