More than ever before, 2012 will see global connections between people, machines and their environments shape the global business landscape and drive the future of work. CIOs increasingly recognise the cost, flexibility and scalability benefits of migrating their IT infrastructure and enterprise applications to the cloud.

As such, the business landscape is changing significantly and the management practices in place must be adapted to suit the rapidly evolving environment. Looking deeper into this business evolution, the technological trends I see having the biggest impact on global enterprises this year include:

  1.  To the Enterprise Cloud and Back

As vendors start to address the data security concerns holding many back from moving to the cloud, the model will finally come of age and deliver substantial benefits – dramatically reducing capital expenditures and creating business efficiencies and better economics. Cloud services will give companies powerful new options to move workloads easily between the corporate data centre and the cloud of their choice. Whatever the model; public, private or hybrid, the enterprise cloud will play an essential role in mobilising enterprise apps that enable both workforce mobility and set new business parameters.

  1.  The Consumerisation of IT

Just as personalisation is driving a new approach to customer service, IT departments are increasingly being influenced by their users. Many companies are now trying to improve the user experience and enhance productivity by tailoring their enterprise IT policies to support employees who bring their own devices – such as smartphones and tablets — to the workplace. Companies are now looking to experts to help equip today’s mobile worker with cloud-based applications that work just as securely and reliably on portable devices and are integrated with traditional desktop applications.

  1.  The High-IQ Network Effect

As more and more smart devices and software applications are added to a network, all endpoints and devices become inherently smarter – each benefitting exponentially from additional connections. In a network with numerous connected devices, both fixed and mobile, the deployment of enterprise apps in the cloud will be pivotal in managing the resultant scalability issues. However, because of the network’s importance, any interruption of service will have a profound impact. As a result, there will be an even greater demand for carefully designed and well-managed services at the core of the global IP backbone and high-speed wireless networks, with sufficient security and contingency planning in place.

  1.  Compliance Gets Increasingly Commercial

There is continued evidence that companies are less likely to be data breach victims if they adhere to security standards. Therefore, compliance will become a pre-requisite for the majority in 2012. With increasingly more stringent government regulations, the need for taking full advantage of business opportunities will increase interest in prudent, holistic security approaches; encompassing both internal and cloud-based IT. Companies and governments will change how they interact with their extended network of partners, so vendors and suppliers will have to demonstrate a comprehensive multiyear and standards-based approach to security if they are to succeed, particularly where data storage in the cloud is concerned.

  1.  Energy Savings Power Better Business and the Greater Good

Energy efficiency, especially a reduction in CO2 emissions reductions, will be a key imperative for many companies. In 2012, companies will take advantage of public-private partnerships to invest in everything from more efficient lighting to energy-efficient heating ventilation and air conditioning systems, to installing energy-efficient technologies. It is also more likely that they will begin to investigate flexible computing models – like the cloud – that leverage on-demand capacity for peak loads, while powering down during periods of lesser demand.