Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Despite all the hype and increasing adoption of cloud computing and virtualization, the embrace of business analytics – mining data for useful and actionable intelligence – is the most popular trend in IT, according to IBM’s Tech Trends report.

The cloud sector is maturing, however, with companies moving beyond savings to development of applications in order to drive innovation.

Here are the key findings from IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) survey of more than 4,000 IT pros around the world:

• Business analytics is red hot, ranking as the most adopted strategy in the survey and “showing the least adoption resistance.” (That’s certainly good news for SAS, one of the global leaders in analytics which faces increasing competition from IBM in that space.)

The survey augments findings in a report from MIT just last week that noted a “widening divide” among businesses in analytics. (Read more here.) Note too recent Tech Wire reports about health researchers, retailer Belk and the NC Treasurer embracing analytics.

Back to the Tech Trends report:

 • Mobile computing is here to stay and is dominated by Android.

• Of mobile computing adopters, 51 percent say they will be utilizing the cloud.

• Cloud computing continues to grow with companies moving beyond cost savings to build applications through innovation in the cloud

• Social business adoption “for business purposes” varies by country “depending on the perception of security concerns and local acceptance of this technology.” India tops the survey at 57 percent adoption.

Oh, and let’s not forget Watson, the supercomputer that has established itself as a Jeopardy champion.

“IBM’s Watson’s analytics technology will transform the education and healthcare industries and open platforms are key to mobile and business analytics development,” the report concludes.

The survey was conducted in July.

Read more details here.

Watch a series of videos from IBM here.

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