Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2012 by Gartner

Garter has come up with strategic technology trends which would govern the field of IT in 2012. These trends are important for all stakeholders of IT industry to better understand the market and be successful.

What is a Strategic Technology? Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. 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. These technologies impact the organization's long-term plans, programs and initiatives.

Factors which govern the selection of Strategic Technology Trends:

  1. A high potential for disruption to IT or the business
  2. The need for a major capital investment
  3. The risk of being late to adopt.

The top 10 strategic technologies for 2012

The following figure gives a visual representation of all the different trends Gartner includes in the list (not in the same order) and has been categorized into different business domains for easy identification. The article then moves on to highlighting the aspects as mentioned by the Gartner Vice President David Cearley and will discuss and explain each in detail later.

                                                  Exhibit: Top 10 strategic technologies for 2012

Human Experience

  1. Media Tablets and Beyond: The following years according to Gartner will be governed by diversity in this field in terms of the different platforms used and different technologies leveraged. Also the trend of bringing one’s own devices to work will become common and the security management for the same will need to be addressed. For employees and consumers, there will be a need to have different mobile strategies with the former focusing on the social goals, business goals, financial goals and risk management goals and the latter on additional features like API management and integration with various other platforms. Also the following years will be followed by cheaper and better Smart Clients and distributed market share between Microsoft, Apple and Android in the overall client platform domain.
  2. Mobile-Centric Applications and Interfaces: According to David Cearley of Gartner, the user interface (UI) and the various applications will change drastically. The UIs with windows, icons, menus and pointers will be replaced by mobile-centric interfaces emphasizing touch, gesture, search, voice and video. Applications will shift to more focused and simple apps that can be assembled into more complex solutions. Fragmented and modular blocks and adaptable programming will become key resources to build the above-said features.
  3. Contextual and Social User Experience: Anticipation of a user's needs and proactively serving the most appropriate and customized content, product or service will become an important aspect of each Smart Client and this will require Context-aware computing which in turn will need information about the end-user or objects environment, activities, connections and preferences to improve the quality of interaction with that end-user or object. Therefore social information is set to become a key source of contextual information to enhance delivery of search results or the operation of applications.

Business Experience:

  1. Internet of Things: The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept that describes how the Internet will expand as sensors and intelligence are added to physical items such as consumer devices or physical assets and these objects are connected to the Internet. Based on the vision and concept and the technological advancements that have been occurring over the past years there has been acceleration in the number and types of things that are being connected and in the technologies for identifying, sensing and communicating. These include the use of Embedded sensors, Image Recognition and Near Field Communication (NFC) payment. These technologies will govern the businesses of the future.
  2. App Stores and Marketplaces: Gartner forecasts that by 2014, there will be more than 70 billion mobile application downloads from app stores every year and along with this will change the experience of the applications from a consumer-only phenomenon to an enterprise focused one. The role of IT will shift towards management of market and thereby providing governance and brokerage services to users.
  3. Next-Generation Analytics: Analytics is expected to change and move to a completely different level with

    • Traditional offline analytics moving to in-line embedded analytics
    • From analyzing historical data to explain what happened to analyzing historical and real-time data from multiple systems to simulate and predict the future.
    • From structured and simple data analyzed by individuals to analysis of complex information of many types (text, video, etc.) from many systems supporting a collaborative decision process that brings multiple people together to analyze, brainstorm and make decisions.

IT Department Experience:

  1. Big Data: New technologies like In-memory DBMS will make Analytics and Data warehousing faster. This will not enable the users to put all useful information into a single data warehouse. Logical data warehouses bringing together information from multiple sources will replace the single data warehouse model.
  2. In-Memory Computing: Use of flash memory in consumer devices, entertainment equipment and other embedded IT systems while offering a new layer of the memory hierarchy in servers will come into dominance because of its advantages including that of space, heat, performance and ruggedness. This will also help trigger In-memory applications like in-memory analytics, event processing platforms, in-memory application servers, in-memory data management and in-memory messaging.
  3. Extreme Low-Energy Servers: The adoption of low-energy servers might change the management approach of organizations. These servers are built on low-power processors typically used in mobile devices and have the potential advantage of delivering 30 times or more processors in a particular server unit with lower power consumption as compared to the current server approaches. The new approach is well suited for certain non-compute intensive tasks such as reduce workloads or delivery of static objects to a website. Due to the higher management costs of the low-energy servers and most applications requiring more processing power broader use of the proposed approach might be limited.
  4. Cloud Computing: Cloud has the potential of bringing the next biggest revolution and is a highly disruptive force. Though the market is currently in its early stages it will soon encompass full-fledged applications and solutions. With more and more major service providers entering and developing products in their full range the cloud trend is expected to set soon

We believe all companies directly providing IT services or indirectly enabling the tier I suppliers should concentrate on the above mentioned trends and try to inculcate them in their processes or their product/service offerings to tap the future market to the fullest.