Tablet Use in Business to Gain Momentum in 2012

The early-adopter trials have begun, the commercial apps are being developed -- it's now a given, purpose-built tablets will be used in more mainstream business settings during 2012. Besides, executives and IT managers at multinational companies will likely witness this phenomenon first, particularly in the more advanced markets.

According to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC), media tablet shipments in EMEA reached more than 12 million units in the first three quarters of 2011 -- growing to 20 million units by the end of the year.

Although business purchases currently represent less than 10 percent of the entire tablet market, the near-term opportunity for growth from business use is believed to be significant -- including online collaboration applications.

Functionality such as a touch screen user-interface, portability, secure LAN connectivity and more business apps for vertical industry needs, are all factors that demonstrate the potential value in commercial settings.

Introducing Media Tablets into the Enterprise

IDC recently conducted a study across businesses in Western Europe to understand the perceptions of tablet adoption, intention to purchase, applications for specific business needs, preference for features, and acquisition strategies.

The key takeaways from the IDC study include:

Adoption Trend: More than 48 percent of businesses have either already evaluated and are keen to introduce tablets or purchased a few, and many verticals pointed to interest in purchasing tablets by the first and second half of 2012. With evident uptake among the IT services, professional services industry, other sectors such as transport and storage, utilities and distribution are showing strong interest.

Perception of Adoption: More than 22 percent of businesses think that the present generation of tablets defined by Apple iPad, are more suitable to their needs -- for example, meter reading, inventory management -- rather than their present equipment, such as traditional tablet devices or vertical application devices.

App Usage in Business: Applications and usage of tablets in businesses vary depending on the industry. Mainstream business use for tablets are as presentation tools during customer meetings and to remotely check emails and calendars. But tablets are suited for several key vertical applications such as:
  • Equipment maintenance, meter-reading (water, gas, electricity), proof-of-service in the field service category.
  • Asset and inventory management, telematics and direct store delivery in the storage and logistics, travel, and distribution verticals.

Tablet User Preference: While iOS and Android receive a strong response rate, more than 30 percent of respondents would consider a Windows OS-based tablet. While some businesses are price-sensitive, others would pay up to 50 percent above the standard price to have the most suitable tablet. Features vary depending on the business use-case; whether for the choice of screen size, or ruggedized features:
  • Transport and storage and distribution sectors prefer to have barcode scanners, SD card readers, and cameras.
  • Finance sectors prefer features such as credit card readers, signature capture, and HDD with encryption.

Deployment and Acquisition Strategy: Most businesses favor partnering directly with OEMs and traditional resellers with few verticals interested in partnering with ISVs. Virtualization and cloud-based solutions are the top preferred technologies considered to support tablet devices.

IDC believes that tablets now are a credible client device option, and in some cases they better fulfill the needs which are only partially met by traditional devices. They say that while some companies are in a wait-and-see mode, the forward-thinking leaders and early-adopters are already keen to deploy solutions.

Five Predictions for Managed Cloud Services in 2012

The proof-positive business impact from managed cloud services deployment, including the numerous associated productivity benefits and anticipated cost-savings, have pushed cloud computing well into the mainstream during 2011.

As we move into 2012, International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that this evolution will continue as more users test the growing capabilities of the public cloud services that are already available.

However, by 2015, IDC envisions a very different scenario -- one where cloud services will become commonplace, thereby forcing significant changes in the ongoing adoption of progressive business technology practices throughout legacy IT organizations.

"In the next 24 months, the 'cloud' as a marketing label will cease to exist, as the success of cloud services will mean that it will permeate the sourcing strategies of the CIO and business unit manager alike," says Chris Morris, Lead Analyst for Cloud Services at IDC Asia/Pacific.

He adds, "The use of externally sourced business and IT services from the cloud will form the basis of what we see as the Outsourcing 3.0 period, and will provide an extensive portfolio of services from which innovative solutions can be constructed."

How Cloud Drives the Next Wave of Outsourcing

With Outsourcing 3.0, the cloud will metamorphose into a universal service catalog of individual cloud services. This will begin to replace both traditional information technology outsourcing (ITO) and business process outsourcing (BPO) engagements as well as on-premises infrastructure.

IDC believes that in an Outsourcing 3.0 scenario, the sourcing of business and IT services from multiple external suppliers will result in a major challenge for the enterprise CIO. They will become a service broker and aggregator, involved in sourcing, integrating and managing the services -- on behalf of their business units.

Drawing from the latest research and internal brainstorming sessions amongst IDC's regional and country analysts, the following are five cloud predictions for 2012.

These key points represent major trends with either the most significant financial impact or long-term market impact across the Asia-Pacific region, according to the IDC assessment.
  1. Less than Half of End-Users across APEJ will complete their Private Cloud Projects by 2014
  2. Making 2 + 2 = 1: Cloud Service Orchestration Services Lead the Drive to Outsourcing 3.0
  3. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) will become Verticalized by 2013
  4. By the end of 2012, 90% of Telecom Service Providers (SPs) in the APEJ region will have brought a broad portfolio of Cloud Services to market; but, by end of 2013, their Portfolios will become Specialized as they redefine their preferred role in the Cloud Ecosystem and target specific markets
  5. Cloud SP (CSPs) strategies based on Aggregation and Resale of IT and business services will Fail to meet Profitability Goals by 2013 unless they can efficiently and effectively Manage, Support and Bill Services from Multiple Service Providers

Cisco CloudVerse: a Comprehensive Cloud Framework

Multinational company CEOs are one of the most vocal advocates of the managed cloud services phenomenon. Many have been through the painful process of watching helplessly as their CIO championed the deployment of monolithic ERP and CRM systems -- only to discover that these huge enterprise software projects failed to live up to their promise.

Meanwhile, purposeful line-of-business executives have successfully utilized software-as-a-service (SaaS), with their CEO's support, to break free from the legacy IT platforms and thereby give their employees the business technology (BT) productivity tools that they had hoped for -- or that the power-users demanded.

Forward-looking vendors and prescient BT service providers are now leading the transition to the next wave of productivity-enhancing and cost-reducing platforms. Next year, we'll likely witness increased market activity, as the next chapter of this story unfolds.

In anticipation, Cisco has pro-actively presented its cloud strategic plan and tactical roadmap to both eager channel partners and savvy enterprise customers.

Cisco CloudVerse is a framework that combines the foundational elements needed to enable organizations to build, manage and connect public, private and hybrid clouds.

Cisco CloudVerse combines these key cloud elements -- Unified Data Center, Cloud Intelligent Network, and Cloud Applications and Services -- enabling businesses to realize all of the benefits of clouds: improved agility, better economics, enhanced security and a dynamic, assured experience.

The Cisco Cloud Index, issued last week, forecasts how dramatically clouds are transforming business IT and consumer services. The study predicts that over 50 percent of computing workloads in data centers will be cloud-based by 2014, and that global cloud traffic will grow over 12 times by 2015, to 1.6 zettabytes per year -- the equivalent of over four days of business-class video for every person on earth.

The insightful study suggests that the explosive growth in clouds requires advanced capabilities that allow the data center and network to work together -- to support end-to-end cloud application delivery.

The All-Inclusive Approach to Cloud Enablement

Today, most cloud technologies exist in silos, preventing an efficient, integrated management approach. By integrating the three foundational cloud elements -- the Cisco Unified Data Center with the Cisco Intelligent Network to enable Cloud Applications and Services -- CloudVerse delivers a business-class cloud experience within the cloud, between clouds, and beyond the cloud to the end user.

A large number of enterprises, service providers, and governments have announced that they are adopting Cisco CloudVerse as the foundation of their cloud strategies, including ACS, a Xerox Company; Fujitsu; NWN; LinkedIn; Orange Business Services; Qualcomm; Silicon Valley Bank; Telecom Italia; Telefónica S.A.; Telstra; and Terremark, a Verizon Company. Today over 70 percent of leading cloud providers are using Cisco CloudVerse on their journey to the cloud.

"We're moving to a world where our business customers want to experience services anywhere, anytime on any device. Cisco CloudVerse is architected to help deliver on the promise of cloud by unifying compute, storage and network resources that can be securely and rapidly re-purposed and managed on-demand to meet the needs of different customers or applications. These capabilities are fundamental to the cloud and the Cisco Cloud Intelligent Network is purpose-built to help deliver the security, scalability and flexibility we need," said Kerry Bailey, Terremark, a Verizon Company.

The Three Core Elements of CloudVerse:

Unified Data Center changes the economics of cloud infrastructure by providing a fabric-based platform automating the "as-a-service" model across physical and virtual environments, and designed to scale with business demands by flexibly allocating resources within and between data centers using unified computing and unified fabric. Cisco is also adding new Unified Management capabilities:

Cisco Intelligent Automation for the Cloud is designed to provide automated provisioning and management of data center resources for the delivery of cloud services within and between data centers.

Cisco Network Services Manager is designed to automatically create, deploy and modify physical and virtual networking resources on demand.

Cloud Intelligent Network provides a consistent and highly secure user experience wherever the user is located and across the multiple clouds involved in delivering an application or service. Cisco now adds new "Cloud-to-Cloud Connect" capabilities:

"Cloud-to-Cloud Connect," featuring the Cisco Network Positioning System on the ASR 1000 and 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routersin 2012, will enable dynamic resource identification, allocation and optimization between data centers and clouds.

Cloud Applications and Services enable "as a service" delivery of both Cisco and third-party cloud applications. Several new capabilities are being added to Cisco's Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS):

Private Cloud HCS empowers enterprises to build their own collaboration cloud using Cisco's validated and tested solution and full management capabilities.

Mobile HCS provides mobile service providers with an easy and cost-effective way to offer collaboration from the cloud, thus extending services from "fixed" devices to mobile phones. For example, providers can virtually connect thousands of mobile users at a company with single-number reach, or enable customers to transition a call from a desk phone to a mobile phone while the call is in progress.

Customer Collaboration makes contact center capabilities more affordable and accessible by adding Cisco Customer Collaboration offerings to HCS. These offerings are available on a limited basis now and targeted for general availability in 2012.

Cisco is supporting CloudVerse with new cloud enablement services, whichcombine Cisco's professional and technical services expertise with those of a broad ecosystem of partners, allowing organizations to accelerate their cloud success and realize the full potential of cloud.