Gartner: Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends For 2014

By Peter High, Contributor • Forbes • Oct 14, 2013

Gartner just concluded its Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 in Orlando, gathering tens of thousands of IT executives. Among the most anticipated aspects of the gathering are the ruminations from the Gartner pontificators regarding IT trends.  Among several trends shared were the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014. Here is a summary of those trends:

Mobile Device Diversity and Management

Gartner suggests that now through 2018, a variety of devices, user contexts, and interaction paradigms will make “everything everywhere” strategies unachievable. The unintended consequence of bring your own device (BYOD) programs has been to render much more complex (by two or three times, Gartner estimates) the size of the mobile workforce, straining both the information technology and the finance organizations. It is recommended that companies better define expectations for employee-owned hardware to balance flexibility with confidentiality and privacy requirements.

Mobile Apps and Applications

Gartner predicts that through 2014, improved JavaScript performance will begin to push HTML5 and the browser as a mainstream enterprise application development environment. As a consequence, it was suggested that developers focus on expanding user interface models including richer voice and video that can connect people in new and different ways. Apps will grow and applications will shrink, continuing a trend that has been documented for a while now.  The market for creating apps continues to be very fragmented (Gartner estimates that there are over 100 potential tool vendors), and consolidation is not likely to happen in earnest for a while. It is suggested that ‘the next evolution in user experience will be to leverage intent, inferred from emotion and actions, to motivate changes in end-user behavior.”

The Internet of Everything

The Internet is expanding into enterprise assets 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 organizationally ready. Gartner identifies four basic usage models that are emerging:

  • Manage
  • Monetize
  • Operate
  • Extend.

These can be applied to people, things, information, and places, and therefore the so called “Internet of Things” will be succeeded by the “Internet of Everything.”

Hybrid Cloud and IT as Service Broker

Gartner suggests that bringing together personal clouds and external private cloud services is essential. Enterprises should design private cloud services with a hybrid future in mind and make sure future integration/interoperability is possible. Early hybrid cloud services will likely be more static, engineered compositions, and Gartner suggests that more deployment compositions will emerge as cloud service brokerages evolve.

Cloud/Client Architecture

As the power and capability of many mobile devices increases, the increased demand on networks, the cost of networks, and the need to manage bandwidth use “creates incentives, in some cases, to minimize the cloud application computing and storage footprint, and to exploit the intelligence and storage of the client device.” Gartner also notes that as mobile users continue to demand more complex uses of their mobile technologies, it will drive a need for higher levels of server-side computing and storage capacity.

The Era of Personal Cloud

The push for more personal cloud technologies will lead to a shift toward services and away from devices. The type of device one has will be less important, as the personal cloud takes over some of the role that the device has traditionally had with multiple devices accessing the personal cloud.

Software Defined Anything

Software-defined anything (SDx) is defined by “improved standards for infrastructure programmability and data center interoperability driven by automation inherent to cloud computing, DevOps and fast infrastructure provisioning.” Dominant vendors in a given sector of an infrastructure-type may elect not to follow standards that increase competition and lower margins, but end-customer will benefit from simplicity, cost reduction opportunities, and the possibility for consolidation.

Web-Scale IT

Large cloud services providers such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and the like are re-inventing the way in which IT services can be delivered.  Gartner points out that the capabilities of these companies exceed the “scale in terms of sheer size to also include scale as it pertains to speed and agility.” The suggestion is that IT organizations should align with and emulate the processes, architectures, and practices of these leading cloud providers. The combination of the aforementioned three among others is how Gartner defines “Web-scale IT.”

Smart Machines

Gartner suggests that the “the smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT.” These will include the proliferation of

  • contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants
  • smart advisors (e.g., IBM Watson)
  • advanced global industrial systems
  • autonomous vehicles.

The company also projects that smart machines will strengthen the forces of consumerization after enterprise buying commences in earnest.

3-D Printing

The growth of 3-D printers is projected to be 75 percent in the coming year, and 200 percent in 2015. Gartner suggests that “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.”

Peter High is the President of Metis Strategy, a business and IT advisory firm. He is also the author of World Class IT: Why Businesses Succeed When IT Triumphs, and the moderator of the Forum on World Class IT podcast series. To read his series on CIO-pluses, visit this link. To read his series profiling CIOs who have risen beyond that role, visit this link. Follow him on Twitter @WorldClassIT.

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