As recent events in North Africa (Egypt and Tunisia) and the Middle East have shown us, governments around the world are under pressure to address growing dissatisfaction amongst citizens over official policy and positioning. In particular resource allocation and management lie at the core of growing concern.

Socio-economic and political upheaval certainly has ramifications in business. The fallout of ongoing economic pressure is forcing decision makers in business to consider trends and how best to leverage off resource management strategies to boost operations.

Managed services within Information Communication Technology and telecommunications continue to show growth, both within developed and developing economies. Major players in these industries will be looked to for motivation and insight in order to help set standards and help empower businesses to sustain development and compete.

Part of this role involves the identification and deciphering of trends that will directly influence the ability of businesses to deliver. Delivery today is non-negotiable.

For example international research house Gartner has identified several key issues that we believe will impact directly on trade and commerce within ICT and telecommunications in the next three years (http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1465614). Given the volatile state of markets, it would be prudent of all of us to be aware of these developments.

To illustrate, one of the first on the list of evolving trends is the need to pay attention to operating system technology (OS) and system software. One of the main issues is that there is a need for more decision makers to understand what can be gained from the integration of IT and OT. Gartner predicts that inadequate software management of OS technology will result in failure for a business within the top global 100 group – a sobering thought!

The other very interesting prediction, as stated by this Gartner report, is that by 2016 all global 2000 companies will use public cloud services. If one goes by the increasing level of interest in the virtual managed services arena, and cloud computing services in particular, this prediction seems all the more credible.

It goes without saying that the ICT managed services delivery model has changed and the implication for businesses is that executive managers have to be ready to understand their critical business requirements and engage service providers based on the best possible model that would meet their needs. Connectivity has to be fast and reliable, support dependable and structured, and application meticulous, calculated and effective.

Critical aspects to consider is the need to streamline operations, consolidate levels of core operation and drive business development across various platforms.

According to Gartner additional focal points of influence for executive managers going forward includes social media, context-aware computing, sustainability and the need to balance cost and innovation with risk and governance.

These are not merely guidelines or general words of advice, factors such as the use of social media platform to expand corporate footprints and the need to reduce costs but also invest strategically have become imperative.

Balancing cost and innovation with risk and governance is easier said than done in today’s market. Again the issue is one of protecting resources and using these as strategically as possible. There is always risk in maintaining and sustaining operations – usually associated with not being able to align resources with core requirements in order to streamline all levels of operation.

The local market also reflects the importance of human resource and human capital management. The enrichment of skills and integration of intellectual capital with next-generation infrastructure will remain key differentiators. Strategists and company leaders have to add impetus to efforts to develop and acquire the very best minds in the market.

Trends, like technology, change. The challenge to executive managers will be awareness, action plans and rollout in order to adapt to change and strengthen positioning