What is Happening? Over the next year, we are expecting that IT will primarily focus its efforts on tactically-focused initiatives that will support enterprises’ ability to execute in the short term.

Given these limitations, many important long-term IT initiatives will, at best, remain “works in progress” through 2013, as more immediate concerns force CIOs to prioritize IT responsiveness and agility over the completion of strategically-focused initiatives.

This Research Alert highlights three important aspects of enterprise IT where we do not expect significant progress by most enterprises – despite both the growing importance and the surrounding hype associated with each.

1) Through YE2013, enterprises will not effectively manage the trends toward Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD). BYOD has presented IT groups and leaders with a fast-growing number of challenges, including an ever-widening diversity of Mobile operating systems, the self-service nature of phone and app acquisition, and the transition from an environment of device management to one of application and data management.

Meanwhile, a functional BYOD Strategy must be able to mitigate or eliminate risks to enterprise data – along with business operations – on a variety of employee-owned devices, but still be simple enough to implement that employees will be willing to participate. Underlying the whole process is the business value that must be derived from BYOD programs. Our research suggests that while these programs will not necessarily reduce costs, they will most likely increase mobile worker engagement, and can improve responsiveness of mobile-employees who are more comfortable navigating their own device, rather than an often-antiquated company-supplied device.

Saugatuck believes that 2013 will deliver significant experience and adaptation with BYOD to early adopters; however, due to the complicated nature of the problems being solved, and the rapid and continual evolution of the devices themselves, we do not anticipate Enterprise IT in general to develop appropriate skills to successfully maintain secure, programmatic, and codified policies.

2) Through YE2013, despite a resurgence of interest, Enterprise Data Quality will not significantly improve. Vendors are offering terrific new Master Data Management solutions, and Enterprise IT departments are increasingly focused on improving their data quality to better support Marketing, BI, and Big Data efforts. Despite this, efforts to significantly improve enterprise data quality will not make significant progress for most enterprises through 2013. Key hindrances include the ever-expanding array of sources, data types, and users of the data within organizations. New sources – whether from Mobile Devices, Cloud Systems or partner networks – already put significant strain on enterprises to capture, store, and analyze vast amounts of data.

In addition, as Big Data initiatives continue to proliferate, the focus on capturing a widening variety of sensor-data, unstructured web data, as well as manufacturing and machine-generated data will present a data-warehousing challenge that spans enterprises and complete infrastructures as well as departments. Finally, the simple mass of users manipulating all this data via different departments, LOBs, and roles will substantially increase the challenges. Though some modern Analytics solutions can significantly help to address some of the problems in certain areas, the holistic view of enterprise data will remain a vision rather than a vista through 2013 for most enterprises.

3) Through YE2013, Enterprise Social Networks will not make the transition to core IT among the masses. The good news is that ESNs continue to make inroads into Enterprise IT organizations through full-scale deployments, tests, and grass-roots infiltrations at the business unit level. Despite this progress and documented success in deployments of all sizes, the majority of ESNs are still barely maintaining their value after initial trial periods.

Many early adopters have had trouble proving the ongoing ROI of the ESN. And because ESN value is so tied to comprehensive integrations of both processes and software, the barriers to entry for successful ESNs remain relatively high. As ESNs and their providers mature, and are able to develop more APIs and pre-built integrations to more core systems, they will present a more compelling value proposition that will drive them toward other Core IT systems.

Through 2013 however, Saugatuck expects that the vast majority of ESNs will still be adding capabilities – and constructing a better story around their expected value.

Why is it Happening? As IT and LOB leaders explained in great detail at Saugatuck’s annual Cloud Business Summit this past November, the pace of change and innovation in enterprise IT over the last few years has been staggering. CIOs and other IT leaders must cope with the evolving demands of users for solutions driven by Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Analytics, while maintaining and upgrading legacy systems, managing tighter budgets, and directing the wholesale IT group evolution into a service delivery organization.

Even in the face of all of these changes though, Enterprise IT must not only prepare strategically as its role evolves, but must still be able to react with tactical decision making to support business initiatives and evolving market pressures that effect IT priorities.

For an extended version of this Research Alert, visit Saugatuck Technology.