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Top Strategic Tech Trends for 2014

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Leading information technology (IT) research advisory company Gartner recently revealed their Top 10  Strategic Technology Trends for 2014. According to Gartner a strategic technology is “one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years.” Included in the factors defined as significant are the potential to disrupt current IT or business models, the need for financial investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.

Strategic technology may be an emerging technology that offers benefits to early adopters or it may be an existing technology which has matured or become suitable for a wider range of uses. Overall, strategic technology “impact an organization’s long-term plans, programs and initiatives.”

According to Garner Analyst David Cearley, “the convergence of four powerful forces: social, mobile, cloud and information, continues to drive change and create new opportunities…”

The top ten strategic technology trends for 2014 include:

  • Mobile Device Diversity and Management – 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 organizations. Enterprise policies on employee-owned hardware usage need to be thoroughly reviewed and, where necessary, updated and extended. Balance flexibility with confidentiality and privacy requirements.
  • Mobile Apps and Applications – Improved JavaScript performance will begin to push HTML5 and the browser as a mainstream enterprise application development environment. 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. For the next few years no single tool will be optimal for all types of mobile application so expect to employ several.
  • The Internet of Everything – Imagine digitizing the most important products, services and assets. The combination of data streams and services created by digitizing 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).
  • 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.
  • Cloud/Client Architecture – 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 increasingly complex demands of mobile users will drive apps to demand increasing amounts of server-side computing and storage capacity.
  • The Era of Personal Cloud – The personal cloud era will mark a power shift away from devices toward services. Users will use a collection of devices, with the PC remaining one of many options, but no one device will be the primary hub. Rather, the personal cloud will take on that role. Access to the cloud and the content stored or shared from the cloud will be managed and secured, rather than solely focusing on the device itself.
  • 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.
  • 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. Large cloud services providers such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc., are re-inventing the way IT in which IT services can be delivered.  Their capabilities go beyond scale in terms of sheer size to also include scale as it pertains to speed and agility.
  • Smart Machines – A proliferation of contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants, smart advisors (such as IBM Watson), advanced global industrial systems and public availability of early examples of autonomous vehicles. The smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT. New systems that begin to fulfill some of the earliest visions for what information technologies might accomplish — doing what we thought only people could do and machines could not —are now finally emerging.
  • 3-D 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 means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.

It is important to note that while many of the trends listed here are identified on the 2014 list as strategic technology they have the ability to begin making an impact during the coming year on businesses and IT departments and continue to evolve moving forward.

Understanding more about how these technologies will impact businesses and consumer behavior will be key to developing tools and service models for the future.

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