Gartner has today highlighted the top ten technologies and trends that will be strategic for most organisations in 2014.
Presented by analysts during the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, the research group 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.
A strategic technology may be an existing technology that has matured and/or become suitable for a wider range of uses.
It may also be an emerging technology that offers an opportunity for strategic business advantage for early adopters or with potential for significant market disruption in the next five years.
As a consequence, these technologies impact the organisation's long-term plans, programs and initiatives Gartner says.
“We have identified the top 10 technologies that companies should factor into their strategic planning processes,” said David Cearley, analyst, Gartner.
“This does not necessarily mean adoption and investment in all of the listed technologies, but companies should look to make deliberate decisions about them during the next two years.”
Cearley said that the Nexus of Forces, the convergence of four powerful forces: social, mobile, cloud and information, continues to drive change and create new opportunities, creating demand for advanced programmable infrastructure that can execute at web-scale.
In the words of Cearley, the top ten strategic technology trends for 2014 include:
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 (BYOD) programs is a doubling or even tripling of the size of the mobile workforce.
This is placing tremendous strain on IT and Finance organisations. Enterprise policies on employee-owned hardware usage need to be thoroughly reviewed and, where necessary, updated and extended.
Most companies only have policies for employees accessing their networks through devices that the enterprise owns and manages. Set policies to define clear expectations around what they can and can't do. Balance flexibility with confidentiality and privacy requirements.
Mobile Apps and Applications
Gartner recommends that developers focus on creating expanded user interface models including richer voice and video that can connect people in new and different ways.
Apps will continue to grow while applications will begin to shrink. Apps are smaller, and more targeted, while a larger application is more comprehensive.
Developers should look for ways to snap together apps to create larger applications. Building application user interfaces that span a variety of devices require an understanding of fragmented building blocks and an adaptable programming structure that assembles them into optimized content for each device.
The market for tools to create consumer and enterprise facing apps is complex with well over 100 potential tools vendors.
For the next few years no single tool will be optimal for all types of mobile application so expect to employ several. The next evolution in user experience will be to leverage intent, inferred from emotion and actions, to motivate changes in end-user behaviour.
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 organisationally ready.
Imagine digitising the most important products, services and assets. The combination of data streams and services created by digitising everything creates four basic usage models – Manage; Monetize; Operate; Extend.
These four basic models can be applied to any of the four "internets” (people, things, information and places).
Enterprises should not limit themselves to thinking that only the Internet of Things (i.e., assets and machines) has the potential to leverage these four models. Enterprises from all industries (heavy, mixed, and weightless) can leverage these four models.
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/interoperability is possible.
Hybrid cloud services can be composed in many ways, varying from relatively static to very dynamic. Managing this composition will often be the responsibility of something filling the role of cloud service broker (CSB), which handles aggregation, integration and customisation of services.
Enterprises that are expanding into hybrid cloud computing from private cloud services are taking on the CSB role. Terms like "overdrafting" and "cloudbursting" are often used to describe what hybrid cloud computing will make possible.
However, the vast majority of hybrid cloud services will initially be much less dynamic than that. Early hybrid cloud services will likely be more static, engineered compositions (such as integration between an internal private cloud and a public cloud service for certain functionality or data).
More deployment compositions will emerge as CSBs evolve (for example, private infrastructure as a service [IaaS] offerings that can leverage external service providers based on policy and utilisation).
Cloud/client computing models are shifting. In the cloud/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 or record and applications can span multiple client devices. The client environment may be a native application or browser-based; the increasing power of the browser is available to many client devices, mobile and desktop alike.
Robust capabilities in many mobile devices, the increased demand on networks, the cost of networks and the need to manage bandwidth use creates incentives, in some cases, to minimise the cloud application computing and storage footprint, and to exploit the intelligence and storage of the client device.
However, the increasingly complex demands of mobile users will drive apps to demand increasing amounts of server-side computing and storage capacity.
To read Gartner's other five strategic technology trends for 2014, check back to Techday.com/it-brief at 8:30am sharp tomorrow morning.
Do you agree with Gartner's predictions? Can you predict the remaining five trends? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below