We just concluded our 2014 series of EMC Forums, one-day technology events where our customers and partners discuss how to address the most pressing IT business and technology challenges. More than 35,000 attendees participated in 53 Forums spanning 40 countries worldwide.With IT in the middle of a secular shift, discussions ran deep into the driving issues and what is expected of IT vendors today. We wanted to share what is top of mind with our customers and which IT issues keep them awake at night.Big Data AnalyticsBy far, Big Data Analytics has taken the pole position in the race for grabbing customer attention. In part, it may be its promise of revealing huge unrealized opportunities to improve operations by predicting failures before they happen, increase revenue by anticipating customer needs and introducing new value, or improve profit margin by finding micro-efficiencies in existing processes.Or it may be that Big Data Analytics repositions IT as a strategic lever to transition business into this era of data-driven innovation, accelerating customer acquisition, increasing customer engagement, and encouraging customer retention.Or it may be due to the fact that the Internet of Things is gaining titanic momentum with the promise of connecting billions of devices.More likely, the confluence of ALL of the above is putting enormous pressure on our customers to quickly gain an understanding of how to best leverage Big Data Analytics in their business — and no one wants to be the last one to figure that out.Deliver Solutions Rather than Point TechnologiesAnother major shift we see with our customers is they expect IT vendors to better understand their businesses and deliver solutions that help them capture the biggest opportunities while addressing their most pressing challenges.The rapid adoption of converged infrastructures has certainly spear-headed the movement of enterprises to transfer more work to IT vendors, along with the costs associated with engineering, manufacturing, managing, and supporting technology components as a tightly integrated system. But now enterprises question why convergence and higher value-added services should stop at the infrastructure level. They now expect IT vendors to fully understand the problems and challenges that face their businesses.Customers expect to tap the expertise of IT vendors and gain their advice on how best to leverage emerging technology in the context of their business. They expect IT vendors to listen and help them accelerate adoption to gain faster time to market. And there is no shortage of technology advances: from the wide adoption of flash to the hyper convergence of infrastructures, and from Software-Defined Data Centers to End User Computing on massive scale, as well as the adoption of Platform-as-a-Service and the accelerating adoption of Hybrid Clouds.Shift to Hybrid CloudsYes, hybrid clouds are here to stay. The only question is, “how fast can you adopt the model?”Attention has shifted to decisions on which workloads should move to the cloud and which Management and Orchestration solutions to use. This enables seamless movement of workloads and data across the private and public clouds in order to deliver the best value to the customer.Amidst the confluence of all these factors, IT is forced to truly transform and that is where our customers experience the EMC Federation (EMC, VMware, Pivotal, RSA, and VCE) difference:Being truly software-defined to deliver more IT agility and speed at the lowest total cost of ownership;Delivering on a horizontal architecture where customers are empowered to make the best choices for their needs;Providing best-of-breed solutions, leveraging technologies from all EMC Federation companies and working integrated as one on everything from Software-Defined Data Centers to Business Data Lakes.This is what has been top of mind for our customers this year. How about for your enterprise? How have your expectations of your IT vendors changed?