Staying ahead of technology trends can keep your business competitive, no matter how quickly the environment changes. Spotting new trends on the horizon — before your competitors do — can help your company develop successful innovations and be the first to bring them to market. This type of Blue Ocean Strategy thinking can give you an edge, but which IT trends are currently on the horizon? Here are four IT trends to keep your eye on.

IT Consumerization

As social media and digital content become a regular part of our lives, employees are expecting consumer-type capabilities in the office, too. For example, they want to bring their own devices to work and be able to plug in with seamless connectivity. And, they demand the same user experience when videoconferencing as when they are watching high-definition TV at home.

IT consumerization is also causing worries about technology expertise gaps within businesses. As consumers own more gadgets and become more adept at using technology in general, executives fear their customers’ technology expertise is exceeding their own.

Mobility

The ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) movement is going strong, causing workers to want access to company information no matter where they are. Mobile devices are being used for more than communication — they’re being used for decision support. Employees want immediate access to critical information from anywhere.

To keep up with mobile demands, businesses will need to consider application transformation of legacy software. Security will need to be revamped to keep company data safe as it makes its way from iPad, to Blackberry, to Android smartphone.

Bigger Data Analytics

Analyzing so-called big data is becoming a factor in competition, from accelerating productivity growth to being the first to leverage a new innovation. Data managers will not be the only ones making use of big data sets — their implication will affect managers in all areas of the organization.

Between social media, location-based apps, and mobile devices, more data is being generated than ever before. This growing amount of human-generated data will need to be analyzed quickly to be used in business decisions. Live analytics is the answer to harnessing this information for better decision making and increased efficiency.

Predictive Analytics

The growing amounts of data mentioned above can be used to predict customer needs and to design a better marketing mix. Instead of using intuition in product development and pricing, managers can use data analysis and systematic reasoning to reduce risks and increase profits.

Companies are combining the customer data, gathered from traditional sources, with social media conversations for increased insight. Some businesses are even using videos and GPS locations to aid in their predictions of what customers will want next. Using scale-out technologies and information optimization will be key to keeping the cost down for processing huge volumes of data.

As you work to keep up with an ever-changing technological landscape, keep these trends in mind with every decision you make. No one can be 100 percent certain of how each of these trends play out, but you can bet they will have a significant impact on your business in the coming months.