Each year, Gartner at its annual Symposium/ITxpo produces a top 10 strategic technology trends list. Some years, the technologies don't seem all that strategic (taxonomies in 2005) and some take a lot longer to develop (RFID tags in 2005 also). This year at its 2012 event, I thought Gartner hit on a bunch of good trends for enterprise IT. I'll go backwards down the list with a bit of my own analysis.
10. Cloud computing. Lundquist: At least it made the list. Cloud computing is indeed strategic but also the victim of a lot of hype. Cloud computing is an infrastructure decision that requires a lot of thought before you just jump in. The varieties of cloud computing (private, hybrid, public) have done more to confuse than clarify.
9. Extreme low energy servers. Lundquist: Still lots of innovation in the server space. Low energy and essentially disposable servers were the stuff of which the big Google and Yahoo server farms were made. Now design is making its way to the enterprise. Not good for all server apps, but great for apps that need lots of horsepower from hundreds or maybe thousands of CPUs working in concert.
8. In-memory computing. Lundquist: This is a big deal but will require a close look by IT before attempting an implementation. Moving data off storage and into memory promises super fast analysis capabilities. I'm still not convinced there is not a vendor lock-in of which you need to be careful.
7. Big data. Lundquist: I agree big data is a big deal. However, while agreement is widespread about the many types of data that are coming into the IT infrastructure, the best way to handle that data is still unknown.
6. Next-generation analytics. Lundquist: Again, agreed there is a need for analytics that incorporate all the information available to the data analyst. How to corral all that data and make real-time decisions based on that data is an art that is still evolving.
5. App stores and marketplaces. Lundquist: App stores have changed how consumers buy applications. Creating your own corporate app store is attractive. I'm just not sure what the ROI is for the effort of creating internal app stores of your current apps..Better first to cull the apps you are using in your company.
4. Internet of things. Lundquist: Nearly every year the Internet of things is predicted to be upon us. The machine-to-machine communication promise is still a bit of a hodgepodge of competing protocols. This will be a big deal, just not sure if it will be 2012.
3. Contextual and social user experience. Lundquist: How to turn all this experience into useful corporate activities rather than just monitoring is the big hurdle here.
2. Mobile centric applications and interfaces. Lundquist: I'm a believer here. For many enterprise organizations, the design, development and deployment of new mobile applications is a strategic need but companies just don't have the internal capabilities.
1. Media tablets and beyond. Lundquist: Wow, tablets in the No. 1 space is a huge leap. While tablets have been mostly a consumer product, their capabilities in the enterprise are just now unfolding. This is worthy of the No. 1 spot.