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Social media will take hold in business this year – Accenture

Use of contextual data also a major trend

Businesses will finally grasp, this year, how to use social media to their best advantage, for internal and external communications, according to the predictions of consultancy Accenture in its Technology Vision 2012 report.

Social media was "already a powerful catalyst that changes the way customers, employees and partners use technology to interact with the world around them", it said, but most enterprises still "have yet to catch up to social media and almost none take full advantage of it".

This year, it is expected to be high on the agenda for chief information officers, according to the consultancy.

Context-based services, in which data is supplied to consumers according to where they are and what their preferences are, would also grow strongly in 2012, Accenture said.

The growth would be prompted by "soaring smartphone usage, the expansion of cloud computing, social media participation, and the development of powerful tools for aggregating and analysing many different forms of data in real-time", it said.

Additionally, converging data architectures are expected to grow - as organisations attempt to bridge between old and new databases - meaning that coping with the volume of data is not the only task.

Data sharing would also improve, Accenture said, adding that "fresh approaches" were needed for the management of information - including assessing the value of all types of data, and "industrialising" the sharing of relevant information. Businesses would also take a better, data-centric view toward security, driving it with analytics, Accenture said. And platform as a service (PaaS) agility would be vital.

Gavin Michael, Accenture's chief technology innovation officer, said: "We believe the trends we have identified hold the potential to profoundly change the face of corporate computing and that IT leaders who embrace these trends stand to gain a strategic advantage."

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