2014 Tech Trends

Steve Phillips, our CIO, has provided his top trends for 2014. This should help provide you with best practice to address these trends.  


This year’s look at top tech trends from my perspective is more about evolution rather than revolution. While the list may seem somewhat static compared to previous years, the importance is in how these trends are being applied within Avnet’s business over the next 12 months.


Number #3

Mobile strategy/BYOD

As we continue to embrace BYOD and CYOD (choose your own device) across the company, our main question is this – how do we protect and back up company data and applications while also ensuring the integrity and privacy of the employee’s personal data on the same device? As tablets gain mainstream acceptance as daily business devices we need to have an answer to this question in 2014. “Containerization” is one approach we’re considering this coming year. The goal is to divide employee devices into two logical containers – a corporate container and a personal container. Data and apps on the corporate side can be secured, backed up and even wiped remotely like any Avnet-owned hardware. What makes containerization appealing is that all of this is that this can take place without disturbing an employee’s personal contacts, photos, apps and data.


Number #2

Predictive Analytics or “Big Data”

Today Avnet stores more than one and a half petabytes of data. This is tremendous value if we can present it in a way that helps drive better decision making. We’re currently in the process of implementing SAP’s HANA solution to help us do just that. HANA will give us the foundation we need to start rolling out the tools and technologies that can help us extract the full value of our data. But big data is much more than just a hardware and software roll out. In my last tech trends video I laid out Avnet’s framework of the critical elements I believe are needed to make the most out of any data analytics implementation. You can be sure our own big data journey is focused on addressing any of those elements in 2014 without them it’ll be difficult to deliver the accurate reports and business insights our leaders and partners are going to be relying on to make critical business decisions.


My number #1 technology trend for Avnet in 2014 is

IT Security

This year we’re going to be focusing on a few areas including data loss prevention. Data loss prevention is all about giving us visibility into what data is moving around Avnet and where it is going. That way we can better read and react to potential security breaches with the right plan of action. At the same time we’re going to be working on better protecting Avnet systems and data even when they’re off the Avnet network. As malicious hackers focus more of their efforts on targeting employees, rather than data centres, it’s imperative that we prevent our people from being exposed as much as possible when they’re on the go.” 

Posted under Big data, BYOD; celebrating mobility

The BYOD challenge: where do the opportunities lie for the channel?


BYOD Mobile IT specialist

Bruce Hockin, Head of Solutions Strategy at Avnet Technology Solutions

At the moment, there’s plenty of talk about how the growth in smartphones and tablets will stretch IT departments through the user-driven ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) phenomenon.

The figures alone demonstrate that this is a significant market opportunity the channel can’t afford to ignore. The recent Worldwide Tablet Computer Market Forecast from Infinite Research claims that over the next five years, total shipments of tablet computers to enterprises around the world are expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48% with shipments rising from 13.6 million units in 2011 to 96.3 million units in 2016.

How is this changing the enterprise?

Well, since people now expect to connect to enterprise networks with their personal mobile devices once they’re at their desks, it’s driving demand for secure, wireless networks but it’s also putting more pressure on IT departments to put plans in place for supporting this trend.

But how should companies address BYOD?

As a first step, BYOD should be treated as a subset of a broader mobility strategy in an organisation.

To set up BYOD policies, firstly companies need to define their objectives to achieve results tailored to their business needs. Dependent on individual company goals, BYOD can achieve the following:

  • Help boost overall productivity
  • Simplify access to information
  • Reduce a company’s mobile spending
  • Satisfy user demands for device choice and improve worker morale

Therefore the main benefits include:

  • Increasing the accessibility of information
  • Driving advancements in corporate technology
  • Lowering costs
  • Simplifying applications and delivery mechanisms
  • Helping to support green initiatives: less devices = lower carbon footprint
  • Providing a better remote working-life balance

The importance of partnerships

To help implement new BYOD standards that suit business needs efficiently and effectively, the support of a well-established solutions distribution partner is a viable option. With this type of partnership, resellers can build on core competencies and deliver new solutions which help customers adapt to the demands of flexible, mobile working.

It’s important to realise though, that there’s no ‘one solution fits all’ with BYOD. Resellers need to help their customers look at the entire technology ecosystem, including considering Mobile Device Management (MDM) as well as how they implement apps and manage access control.

Mobile Device Management, otherwise known as ‘MDM’

At the moment, a key technology which is driving and enabling BYOD adoption is mobile device management (MDM). Some analysts predict that revenue in the MDM space will grow by 15% to 20% in the next three years – as BYOD drives the explosion of mobile devices and applications, mobile monitoring is becoming more of a requirement.

It’s essential to address MDM when looking at implementing a BYOD policy – in a nutshell: MDM is the ability for organisations to secure, monitor, manage and support mobile devices with access to the enterprise communication infrastructure.

What does MDM do?

The MDM software allows corporate IT departments to manage multiple devices using Over-The-Air programming (OTA). MDM’s role is multifaceted as it enables an organisation to configure, enrol devices, enforce policies, enable effective information security and assist with resolving technical issues – addressing all of the key challenges. Management can also include configuring single or multiple devices along with making software and operating updates. In addition, MDM permits organisations to lock and wipe devices in the event of loss or theft.

All of these features reduce support costs and minimise risk.

Essential for BYOD: application publishing

Paramount to MDM is application publishing and organisations need to identify which applications they can leverage – be it communication, productivity or virtual desktop tools – to help drive innovation and success throughout their organisation.

For example, companies are implementing productivity apps like: presentation tools and Business Intelligence (BI) application viewers; collaboration apps such as: unified communications, messaging, cloud storage and intranet access tools; and remote desktop apps like Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions.

BYOD company checklist: for customers

Once you have helped your customer consider the benefits and goals of BYOD for their company, a good way of working out if their BYOD strategy is comprehensive is to tick off the following areas of concern:

Some questions you can ask your customers are:

  • What devices need to be supported?
  • Which applications will be used?
  •  Are data and app ownerships clearly defined?
  • Do you have a security policy in place?
  • Do you have an acceptable use policy for employees?
  • What’s the employee exit strategy when connecting to the corporate network?

Reseller role

The opportunity for the channel lies in BYOD implementations because this typically includes both server and client components. With BYOD, a reseller’s role is not just to support customer rollouts with hardware, software and services but to understand and advise customers on policy definition and process support. Without getting the strategy and application publishing right, BYOD is just a buzz word.


Posted under BYOD; celebrating mobility