Social Media, Mobile Technology, Cloud Converging: Gartner

The availability of information, which drives social, mobile and cloud technologies, is the connective tissue in this "nexus of forces."

Social media, cloud computing, mobile technology and the ubiquity of information are converging to form a €œnexus of forces€ that will build upon and transform user behavior, creating business opportunities as it grows, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner. As the consumerization of IT, a result of the availability of excellent devices, interfaces and applications with minimal learning curves, drives the use of these four realms, together they are revolutionizing business and society, disrupting old business models and creating new leaders, the report said.

The availability of information, which is increasingly stored in cloud environments where it is accessible by a wide range of devices, is the connective tissue that binds this nexus of forces, as it drives social, mobile and cloud technologies to allow anywhere, any time access to content. Companies that are able to harness the power of ubiquitous information and disseminate that information across social, mobile and cloud platforms will find themselves with an edge over competitors, the report states.

"In the nexus of forces, information is the context for delivering enhanced social and mobile experiences," Chris Howard, managing vice president at Gartner, explained in the report. "Mobile devices are a platform for effective social networking and new ways of work. Social links people to their work and each other in new and unexpected ways. Cloud enables delivery of information and functionality to users and systems. These forces of the Nexus are intertwined to create a user-driven ecosystem of modern computing."

Gartner analysts said the rise of social media has also transformed the way people interact with content, most notably through the ability to share information and see what their friends, colleagues and other contacts are interested in. By connecting social media information to mobile devices and cloud-based storage systems, social interactions can provide a rich source of information about connections, preferences and intentions; however the report cautions that better tools are needed to manage the growing number of interactions, which in turn drives the need for deeper social analytics.

The report argues mobile computing has had the greatest impact of changing the way people live since the automobile, affecting a broad range of industries and services, including banking, health care and sales, to name but a few. The combination of cloud computing and mobile technology allows information to become more readily available and more pervasive, the report notes, as independent mobile software vendors using cloud services have more options to access information and processes than ever before.

"The combination of pervasive mobility, near-ubiquitous connectivity, industrial compute services, and information access decreases the gap between idea and action," Howard concluded. "To take advantage of the nexus of forces and respond effectively, organizations must face the challenges of modernizing their systems, skills and mindsets. Organizations that ignore the nexus of forces will be displaced by those that can move into the opportunity space more quickly€”and the pace is accelerating."