2011 tech priorities: Are you ready to shake things up?

Concerns about the economy haven't evaporated, but companies aren't standing still waiting for a bailout. They're working to expand their businesses and find new opportunities for growth, predominantly outside of their current markets.

Also read: Virtual, mobile, social endeavors drive IT in 2011

IT will play a critical role in business transformations, says Mark McDonald, group vice president for executive programs at Gartner. "If you're going to change where you operate to include other countries, if you're going to take your product into adjacent industry markets, you need technology to give you the scale and connectivity to reach those markets and work with new customers in an effective way," McDonald says.

We've identified six key areas where IT can help reshape the business and equip employees to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. Are you ready to act?

Data center networking: Time to shed a tier

Mobility: iPads infiltrate the enterprise

802.11n: Make the leap

Cloud computing: It's private time

Next-generation firewalls: How to get there from here

Social computing: Un-batten the hatches

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