Cloud computing, mobile applications and tablets, social communications and video rank among the most critical technologies that will be strategic to organizations in 2011, according to the latest Gartner findings.
The technology research firm today released the top 10 technologies and trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2011. The analysts presented their findings during the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, being held in Orlando through Oct. 21.
Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.
Enterprises and SMBs across industries should factor these technologies in their strategic planning process by asking key questions and making deliberate decisions about them during the next two years, according to David Cearley, vice president and analyst at Gartner.
While organizations may not integrate all of these technologies, or need to, others will heavily invest in certain areas and become more aggressive in deployments with potential for significant market disruption.
“Sometimes the decision will be to do nothing with a particular technology,” said Carl Claunch, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “In other cases, it will be to continue investing in the technology at the current rate. In still other cases, the decision may be to test or more aggressively deploy the technology.”
The top 10 strategic technologies for 2011 as defined by Garter are:
Cloud Computing. The next three years will see the delivery of a range of cloud service approaches that fall between these two extremes. Vendors will offer packaged private cloud implementations that deliver the vendor’s public cloud service technologies (software and/or hardware) and methodologies (i.e., best practices to build and run the service) in a form that can be implemented inside the consumer's enterprise. Many will also offer management services to remotely manwith potential for significant market disruption in the next five years. As such, these technologies impact the organization's long-term plans, programs and initiatives. age the cloud service implementation. Gartner expects large enterprises to have a dynamic sourcing team in place by 2012 that is responsible for ongoing cloud-sourcing decisions and management.
Mobile Applications and Media Tablets. Gartner estimates that by the end of 2010, 1.2 billion people will carry handsets capable of rich, mobile commerce providing an ideal environment for the convergence of mobility and the Web. Mobile devices are becoming computers in their own right, with an astounding amount of processing ability and bandwidth. The quality of the experience of applications on these devices, which can apply location, motion and other context in their behavior, is leading customers to interact with companies preferentially through mobile devices. This has lead to a race to push out applications as a competitive tool to improve relationships and gain advantage over competitors whose interfaces are purely browser-based.
Social Communications and Collaboration. Social media can be divided into: (1) Social networking/social profile management products, such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and Friendster as well as social networking analysis (SNA) technologies that employ algorithms to understand and utilize human relationships for the discovery of people and expertise. (2) Social collaboration: technologies, such as wikis, blogs, instant messaging, collaborative office, and crowd-sourcing. (3) Social publishing: technologies that assist communities in pooling individual content into a usable and community accessible content repository such as YouTube and flickr. (4) Social feedback: gaining feedback and opinion from the community on specific items as witnessed on YouTube, flickr, Digg, Del.icio.us, and Amazon. Gartner predicts that by 2016, social technologies will be integrated with most business applications. Companies should bring together their social CRM, internal communications and collaboration, and public social site initiatives into a coordinated strategy.
Video. Video as a standard media type used in non-media companies is expanding rapidly. Technology trends in digital photography, consumer electronics, the web, social software, unified communications, digital and Internet-based television and mobile computing are all reaching critical tipping points that bring video into the mainstream. Over the next three years Gartner believes that video will become a commonplace content type and interaction model for most users, and by 2013, more than 25 percent of the content that workers see in a day will be dominated by pictures, video or audio.
Next Generation Analytics. Increasing compute capabilities of computers including mobile devices along with improving connectivity are enabling a shift in how businesses support operational decisions. It is becoming possible to run simulations or models to predict the future outcome, rather than to simply provide backward looking data about past interactions, and to do these predictions in real-time to support each individual business action.
Social Analytics. Social analytics describes the process of measuring, analyzing and interpreting the results of interactions and associations among people, topics and ideas. These interactions may occur on social software applications used in the workplace, in internally or externally facing communities or on the social web. Social network analysis involves collecting data from multiple sources, identifying relationships, and evaluating the impact, quality or effectiveness of a relationship.
Context-Aware Computing. Context-aware computing focuses on the concept of using information about an end user or object's environment, activities connections and preferences to improve the quality of interaction with that end user. The end user may be a customer, business partner or employee. A contextually aware system anticipates the user's needs and proactively serves up the most appropriate and customized content, product or service. Gartner predicts that by 2013, more than half of Fortune 500 companies will have context-aware computing initiatives.
Storage Class Memory. Gartner sees huge use of flash memory in consumer devices, entertainment equipment and other embedded IT systems. It also offers a new layer of the storage hierarchy in servers and client computers that has key advantages: space, heat, performance and ruggedness among them. Unlike RAM, the main memory in servers and PCs, flash memory is persistent even when power is removed. In that way, it looks more like disk drives where information is placed and must survive power-downs and reboots.
Ubiquitous Computing. The work of Mark Weiser and other researchers at Xerox's PARC paints a picture of the coming third wave of computing where computers are invisibly embedded into the world. As computers proliferate and as everyday objects are given the ability to communicate with RFID tags and their successors, networks will approach and surpass the scale that can be managed in traditional centralized ways. This leads to the important trend of imbuing computing systems into operational technology, whether done as calming technology or explicitly managed and integrated with IT.
Fabric-Based Infrastructure and Computers. A fabric-based computer is a modular form of computing where a system can be aggregated from separate building-block modules connected over a fabric or switched backplane. In its basic form, a fabric-based computer comprises a separate processor, memory, I/O, and offload modules (GPU, NPU, etc.) that are connected to a switched interconnect and, importantly, the software required to configure and manage the resulting system(s).
Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives
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