Gartner Identifies Top 10 Strategic Technologies

By Michael Vizard  |  Posted 10-21-2013
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Gartner Identifies Top 10 Strategic Technologies

By Michael Vizard

According to Gartner, a strategic technology is one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years.

At the moment, Gartner contends there are 10 strategic technologies that will drive four powerful social, mobile, cloud computing and information forces that will cause fundamental business changes in 2014 while creating new IT opportunities. In fact, Gartner says these technologies are creating nothing less than an advanced programmable infrastructure that can execute at web-scale.

The list of emerging strategic technologies for 2014 includes:

1.    Mobile Device Diversity and Management. Through 2018, the growing variety of devices, computing styles, user contexts and interaction paradigms will make "everything everywhere" strategies unachievable. The unexpected consequence of bring your own device is a doubling or even tripling of the size of the mobile workforce. This is placing a tremendous strain on IT organizations.

2.    Mobile Apps and Applications. Through 2014, improved JavaScript performance will begin to push HTML5 and the browser as a mainstream enterprise application development environment. Developers should focus on creating expanded user interface models including richer voice and video. Apps will continue to grow in popularity while application themselves will begin to shrink in size. Apps are becoming smaller and more targeted, while a larger application is becoming more comprehensive. Developers should look for ways to snap together apps to create larger applications.

3.    The Internet of Everything. The Internet is expanding beyond PCs and mobile devices into enterprise assets such as field equipment and consumer items such as cars and televisions. The problem is that most enterprises and technology vendors have yet to explore the possibilities of an expanded Internet and are not operationally or organizationally ready.

4.    Hybrid Cloud and IT as Service Broker. Bringing together personal clouds and external private cloud services is an imperative. Enterprises should design private cloud services with a hybrid future in mind and make sure future integration and interoperability is possible. Managing this will often be the role of cloud service broker, which handles aggregation, integration and customization of services.

5.    Cloud and Client Architecture. Cloud and client computing models are shifting. In the cloud and client architecture, the client is a rich application running on an Internet-connected device, and the server is a set of application services hosted in an increasingly elastically scalable cloud computing platform. The cloud is the control point and system, and applications can span multiple client devices.

6.    The Era of Personal Cloud. The personal cloud era will mark a power shift away from devices toward services. In this new world, the specifics of devices will become less important for the organization to worry about, although the devices will still be necessary.

7.    Software Defined Anything. Software-defined anything (SDx) is a collective term that encapsulates the growing market momentum for improved standards for infrastructure programmability and data center interoperability driven by automation inherent to cloud computing, DevOps and fast infrastructure provisioning. As individual SDx technology silos evolve and consortiums arise, look for emerging standards and bridging capabilities.

8.    Web-Scale IT. Web-scale IT is a pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting by rethinking positions across several dimensions. If enterprises want to keep pace, then they need to emulate the architectures, processes and practices of these exemplary cloud providers.

9.    Smart Machines. Through 2020, the smart machine era will blossom with a proliferation of contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants, smart advisors (such as IBM’s Watson), advanced global industrial systems and public availability of early examples of autonomous vehicles. The smart machine era might be the most disruptive in the history of IT.

Gartner Identifies Top 10 Strategic Technologies

10. 3D Printing. Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 75 percent in 2014 followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015. The consumer market hype has made organizations aware of the fact 3D printing is a real, viable and cost-effective.

The Challenge for CIOs

The challenge facing CIOs is figuring out how to deliver on the promise of these technologies. As a group, the technologies collectively represent the ingredients of a primordial soup awaiting some type of catalyst to create something more significant.

“It may take a while for these technologies to make a real impact,” says Gareth Herschel, an industry analyst with Gartner. “But we’re definitely starting to see some single-cell organisms emerge from the soup.”

Speaking at the recent TUCON 2013 conference, TIBCO Software CEO Vivek Ranadive went so far as to suggest that we are now approaching a new Civilization 3.0 era in which technology will empower value creators more than ever. Much of that innovation, says Ranadive, will cause a lot of upheaval.

“Any time you make a transition there are winners and losers,” says Ranadive. “We live in a world today where the world’s largest record company has no stores, the world’s largest book store has no books, and it’s only a matter of time before world’s largest college has no campuses.”

Of course, all that upheaval will fundamentally change the role IT plays in organizations. Rather than being the builders and maintainers of applications running on IT infrastructure owned by the organization that employs them, CIOs are becoming cloud service brokers. Those services are not only external; they also include the ones that the internal IT organization builds in support of unique custom business processes.

Naturally, it will take some time for this transformation to occur, but it’s clearly underway. The only thing left to determine now is how each individual IT organization will respond to what is shaping up to be one of the most seminal moments in enterprise IT history.