Gartner lays out Top 10 strategic technologies

Analyst firm lays out what it thinks will be most important in 2010

At this week’s Gartner Symposium in Sydney, the analyst firm presented its top 10 strategic technologies for 2010.

Gartner senior analyst and mobile guru, Nick Jones, presented the strategic technologies, and defined them as the ones which will impact CIOs within the mainstream enterprise between the next 12 to 36 months.

“Strategic technologies will drive significant change, disruption, modifications to your strategy,” Jones said, urging all CIOs to explicitly address them in their strategy, plans and IT architecture.

According to Jones, Gartner develops its top 10 list by sourcing information from CIOs, hype cycles, analyst questions and the top technologies people ask about.

However, he warned this list is not exclusive, and there are likely to be more strategic technologies that CIOs should track throughout the year.

Top 10 strategic technologies 2010:
  • Cloud computing

  • Advanced analytics

  • Client computing

  • IT for Green

  • Reshaping the data centre.

  • Social software and social computing

  • User activity monitoring (security)

  • Flash memory

  • Virtualisation for availability

  • Mobile applications

Cloud computing: Jones said cloud computing continues to grow in importance. According to Gartner, the three important areas of corporate use of the cloud are consumption of cloud services, developing cloud based applications and implementing private cloud computing environments.

“Not everything is appropriate in a public cloud at this point in time,” Jones said. “Regulatory and maturity issues may mean you don’t want to put things on public clouds, but you may want to experiment with cloud computing, so private clouds may be the answer.”

He said CIOs are going to need to explore cloud computing at many different levels of the organisation.

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Virtualisation for availability: Virtualisation has been very popular in past top 10 lists as a consolidation technique but Jones said “migration and system availability” is a new use that’s begun to emerge.

“With live migration what you can do is take the data and state of a virtual machine, take it off one virtual machine and put it onto another virtual machine, and at some point the application can stop executing - the last instruction executes on your previous machine, and the next instruction executes of your new machine,” Jones said, adding that you are effectively teleporting your application.

He said this method of technology can then become the basis for high availability systems.

IT for green: Jones said green IT remains important, but acknowledged that many IT managers still felt the cost will outweigh the value of implementation.

“Some of the emphasis on green IT has shifted, it’s now not just about making the organisation’s IT function more green, it’s about using IT to support the overall corporate green goals,” Jones said.

According to Gartner, the new emphasis on green IT covers corporate issues such as document management, telepresence, teleworking, smart buildings, carbon tracking, and logistics.

Client computing:The dominant client computing model was and still is Windows on a PC, according to Jones. However, that model is starting to break down as more options become available to IT managers.

He said technologies such as virtual desktops, thin clients and BYO IT are challenging this model.

Mobile applications: “Mobile applications are becoming very important to the CIO,” Jones said. “What we’re seeing is as people deliver more business to consumer applications, three major B2C architectures have begun to emerge.”

Those are SMS, mobile web and native applications delivered by an app store.

Although expensive, Jones said developing a native application is the best way to reach your customers.

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Advanced analytics: “Analytics is the new face of business intelligence, not just processing data after the event, but analysing what’s happening now to predict what’s going to happen in the future,” Jones said.

Advanced analytics is about using analytical tools and models to maximise business process and decision.

“It’s about, for example, predicting fraud instead of detecting fraud,” Jones said.

Social software and social computing: According to Gartner, three aspects of social computing have grown in the enterprise, and therefore must be considered a strategic technology.

  • Internal social computing, such as wikis
  • Public social computing, such as Facebook and MySpace, not only through your employees’ use, but also monitoring such networks to identify your company’s public image.
  • B2B social media and customer communities

“You can start building communities of business related customers and partners, so they can share information and you can share information with them,” Jones said. “There are all sorts of ways in which you can use social computing as part of your enterprise strategy.”

Flash memory: By 2012, Gartner predicts that flash memory will cost about 16 cents per gigabyte, which could open up the potential for technologies such as terabyte memory sticks.

“A lot of new and interesting opportunities will be enabled by flash memory,” Jones said.

User activity monitoring (security): Jones said security is something IT managers all have to worry about and that they must know what all their users are doing across the network.

According to Gartner new types of technologies, network access and security attacks means IT managers must be extra vigilant in this area.

“All of the new forms of attack and vulnerability mean we have to pay increased attention in monitoring our users and what users are doing over the next five years,” Jones said.