Security, infrastructure intelligence and data analytics will be among the hottest business technology trends of 2014, according to a research paper commissioned by UK IT services firm Advanced 365.

The paper, written by technology analyst David Smith, chief executive, Global Futures and Foresight with Advanced 365, identifies the most "transformative technologies" and recommends steps businesses need to take to stay ahead of the curve — like embracing data analytics, gaining a better understanding of infrastructure intelligence and learning to manage cloud services growth.

The Big Data Explosion

Many of these themes, such as big data and analytics, have been covered here on But it's interesting that big data is not just a trend itself, but a trend that begets other trends -- such as storage infrastructure challenges. And now many of us are accessing this data via a mobile device -- often our personal devices. Not only is the explosion of applications producing more data than can be measured and analyzed, but it also provides a challenge for IT departments who are trying to build a secure and robust infrastructure to manage it.

The bottom line is that as more and more applications come on line and move to the cloud, the amount of data flowing throughout the system is massive, and that requires a new approach to business and IT. 

And Now the List ...

Here are the trends cited by Advanced 365's paper:

1) Network security and the growth of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): 81 percent of workers admit to using their own devices to access their employer's network without their employer's knowledge or permission, according to Advanced. This represents a huge business and security risk, which IT managers need to address. Solutions included use guidelines along with technical controls and security solutions.

2) Infrastructure intelligence: By 2020, there may be as many as 4 billion people online using 50 trillion gigabytes of data, according to Advanced. That increase in data volume is being driven by the rise in use of business applications, mobile devices, and the cloud. Storage requirements alone are growing 20 percent to 40 percent annually, which is demanding more efficiency and understanding of infrastructure.

It doesn't just mean installing new infrastructure, but implementing an intelligence system for understanding how that infrastructure is being used. This is giving rise to new storage virtualization startups such as Atlantis Computing and Nimble Storage, which I wrote about here

3) Data analytics: The Big Data trend is clear, but what does that mean for commercial strategies? Businesses need to adopt and implement advanced data analytics and business intelligence systems, and then tie those to their business goals. Says Advanced: "Continued growth in the volumes of enterprise data available to businesses is only valuable if they obtain cross-functional buy-in in order to break down the many data and organizational silos that still exist within organizations."

Learning Opportunities

As we wrote about on CMSwire here when the NFL used networks to analyze how their customers behaved at the Super Bowl, organizations are figuring out how to use infrastructure analytics to help their businesses. If businesses are going to harness big data and use this to drive their commercial strategies, they need to invest in the right state-of-the-art data analytics and business intelligence systems. 

4) Cloud explosion: Everything is cloud now: 90 percent of UK businesses expect to move some of their applications to the cloud by 2017, according to Advanced. With most applications now cloud-based, this will have an impact on how IT managers control their data centers and applications. Businesses need to think about how they are going to manage these changes and how it will impact IT personnel. Do you outsource it or bring new people in-house? And what about applications that are being adopted and implemented across departments not traditionally plugged into IT -- such as marketing?

5) Persistent business connectivity: We're all connected now, all the time. The social and business implications of 24/7 connectivity are only just beginning to emerge, according to Advanced. Businesses will need to invest in new technology and processes in order to supply this persistent connectivity and provide IT services to their employees and customers. 

That's not all, of course. The Advanced paper also highlights other hot areas: 3D printing, augmented reality, wearable technologies, and the "gamification" of commercial websites. These themes didn't make the top five list, but they are viable trends. 

Advanced 365 provides IT managed services and business tech solutions. The 'What's Hot in 2014' paper can be seen on its website here.

Title image by NAN728 (Shutterstock).