The Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends 2014

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  • 8/10/2019 The Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends 2014


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    The Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for

    2014Published: 19 February 2014

    Analyst(s): David W. Cearley

    Gartner has compiled its annual list of the top 10 strategic technologytrends that have the potential to disrupt individuals, businesses and IT organizations. This year's list highlights the disruptive impact of the Nexus of Forces: mobile, social, cloud and information.


    The Effects of Mobile and Cloud Dominate Our Top 10

    We looked at the technology trends that will have the biggest potential for significant and disruptiveenterprise impact over the next three years, and identified the following top 10 trends:

    1. Mobile device diversity and management

    2. Mobile apps and applications3. The Internet of Everything

    4. Hybrid cloud and IT as service broker

    5. Cloud/client

    6. The era of personal cloud

    7. Software-defined anything

    8. Web-scale IT

    9. Smart machines

    10. 3D printing

    Factors that denote significant impact include:

    High demand for a particular technology by end users or business leaders

    The potential for disruption to IT or the business

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    The need for major investment

    The risk of being late to adopt

    Changes in the trajectory of a trend and/or it reaching a tipping point (for example, capability,

    pricing)In some cases, the impact of the trend will be the need to radically change use of existing (or adoptnew) technologies, IT processes or business processes, resulting in significant cost and disruption.We biased the selection of trends for our list toward trends that are highly disruptive. The focus ison trends where an acceleration, shift or tipping point is occurring or is likely to occur during thenext two years that will make the technology newly strategic or applicable to a wider market.

    Many specific technologies may be associated with a particular strategic technology trend. Thesemay be technologies that have matured and/or become suitable for a wider range of uses. In thecase of these mainstream technologies, the strategic decision is likely to revolve around product/ vendor selection and the degree to which enterprises incorporate them into the broad ITenvironment.

    A technology may also be an emerging one that offers an opportunity for strategic businesscompetitive advantage for early adopters, or has the potential for significant market disruptionduring the next three years. For emerging technologies, the strategic decision may be to requestfunding for evaluation.

    We selected these trends because they have broad impact across a wide range of industries andcompanies. However, individual companies should use the list, and lists from previous years, as astarting point to create their own customized lists. Adjustments based on industry, unique businessneeds, technology adoption models (for example, early adopter, mainstream or risk-averse) and

    other factors could change the emphasis or, in some cases, add or remove trends.Factor these technologies into your strategic planning processes by explicitly evaluating thepotential business impact and making deliberate decisions about them during the next two years.Sometimes, the decision will be to do nothing with a particular technology, which is perfectly OK. Inother cases, it will be to continue investing in the technology at the current rate. In still other cases,you may decide to test, pilot or more aggressively adopt and deploy specific technologies related toone or more of the trends. Gartner recommends that IT organizations, particularly in rapidlychanging industries, formalize the technology research function to track emerging and strategictrends.

    Ultimately, the reason for examining trends such as these is to understand their potential impact onthe enterprise. CIOs and IT strategy leaders should recognize that the impact can be positive ornegative, and must examine the potential threats or risks associated with the trend. In particular,they must examine the implications of ignoring the potential impact of a trend or the potential for acompetitor to exploit a trend to change the competitive landscape.

    The Disruptive Nature of the Nexus of Forces

    The Nexus of Forces continues to drive change and create new opportunities:

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    Mobile -centric trends and technologies increasingly define the client environment and the coreend-user app and experience. Moreover, the ongoing mobile trend has been a major diver inthe expansion of social media and the generation of new location-based and other contextualinformation.

    Cloud is becoming a mainstream computing style and delivery option with hybrid cloud, cloudbrokerage, and new delivery, management and security options accelerating adoption. Theadvent of cloud-based information sources, including social data, continues to drive big dataanalysis strategies and is a key element driving the era of smart machines.

    Cloud and mobile are two tightly linked forces, with the cloud becoming the major deliveryvehicle and "remote brain" for these devices. The forces are combining to drive new applicationarchitectures and a new user experience, including the "personal cloud."

    Information and social elements are deeply embedded into all of the strategic trends. On theinformation supply side, the Internet of Everything (IoE) drives an enormous increase ininformation available for analysis. On the information demand side, the IoE expands the targetendpoints and user scenarios, where the results of this analysis are needed. Beyond IoE, theexplosion in cloud-based information from enterprise and external sources, the need tocombine that with existing enterprise information sources and the expansion of areas wheredeep information analytics is needed (for example, Web-scale IT, software-defined anything[SDx] and smart machines) drives the need for more sophisticated and proactive informationmanagement and analytical models.

    The nexus forces create demand for advanced programmable infrastructure and services thatcan execute at Web scale, and support the personal cloud and new application models thatplace emphasis on cloud-centered design combined with rich mobile and embedded clientexperiences. Client/cloud and nexus-driven application architectures will be needed.

    Research HighlightsWe have research that delves into each technology trend and explores its impact. The following is abrief summary of each technology trend.

    Mobile Device Diversity and Management

    The influx of consumer technology into the enterprise and the attendant bring your own device(BYOD) trend have brought to light the conflict between the IT organization and the enterprise's end

    users. Many of today's core IT systems, such as SAP, appear to focus on serving IT rather thanend-user interests. As a result, end users are willing to spend their own money on personalizationoptions such as using a favorite mobile phone or tablet along with personal apps that make theirwork life easier and more productive. They desire the devices and programs that they believe willbest-support their productivity, and they find ways of working around IT policy and standards.

    In "Managed Diversity Defines Best Practices for BYOD and Endpoint Management Policies," weexplain how Gartner's managed diversity model is a structured compromise that offers end-user

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    device choice while protecting enterprise assets and supporting end-user productivity. IT leaderscan apply the managed diversity model to all "smart" endpoint device types, including mobilephones, smart desk phones, PCs, notebooks and tablets.

    Beyond the traditional mobile and PC space, companies such as Google and Samsung arepioneering wearable devices in the form of eyeglasses and wrist-based devices. This expansion ofclient endpoints will drive further diversity. We explore this growing market segment in "ODMs andEMS Companies Are Ready to Capture Their Share of the Future Wearable Device Market."

    Mobile Apps and Applications

    Mobile commerce has gained so much attention that some companies, like Starbucks andWalgreens, are referencing their mobile strategies in their annual reports as a means of achievingbusiness objectives and driving competitive advantage. These companies are being innovative withtheir approaches and, consequently, are finding financial success from their investments. However,if customers do not adopt the mobile commerce apps, then the benefits will not be forthcoming. Aswe highlight in "Use Mobile Apps to Provide Customer Value, and Revenue Will Follow," providing avaluable customer experience will increase mobile commerce app adoption, drive usage, andincrease both loyalty and revenue. IT and business leaders supporting e-commerce shouldincorporate the f