Ten Technology Trends to Watch in 2011 - Part 2

Ten Technology Trends to Watch - Part 2

Thursday, August 11, 2011 | Staff Writer

Gartner's recent webinar, ‘Tech Trends You Can’t Afford to Ignore,’ outlines ten key tech trends that are shaping how IT organisations do business. In this second of a two part series, we examine five more trends that organisations must watch carefully in order to thrive today and in the next few years, with specific recommendations on what organisations need to achieve in the short- and long-term.

Unified Communications and Collaboration.
Email, text, IM, workspaces, wireless, VOIP, VTC, ATC, mobility, presence, and PBX represent today’s range of tightly integrated communications applications affecting how IT organisations do business today. These are characterised by many overlapping areas, resulting in a technology and organisational issue that can be a strong area for managed services to take hold. According to Gartner , organisations need to make certain apps providers have a strategy for taking advantage of unified communication and identify other unified communications business scenarios within the next two years.
Mobile and Wireless.
With thousands of new applications coming online, IT must manage an ever-increasing demand for new servers for delivery, cope with application delivery complexity and immature management tools, and position mobile and wireless for virtualisation. The next two years represent a critical timeframe for developing strategies that will support mobile applications and position mobile apps as critical enablers of client interaction and satisfaction.

System Density.
Today’s blades are proprietary server-infrastructure-in-chassis solutions that are steadily evolving into componentized, data-center-in-a-chassis solutions. Virtualisation will become increasingly critical to success, the trend towards high-density, high use of floor space will continue, and utilisation levels and compute to energy levels will remain of principal importance. In the next year, organisations must analyse asset use, map server growth to energy and cooling levels, and engage facilities teams.
Mashups and Enterprise Portals.
Mashups include integration patterns such as visualisation and content integration, along with gadget page space co-location. Enterprise value will be placed on private cloud enablers and the rapid/flexible development of new portals, with application types centering on packaged application extensions, personal portal delivery, and increased location awareness. Mashups and enterprise portals represent unrecognised business processes, creeping and uncontrolled standards, and new internal and external sources. In the next year, organisations will need to evaluate their use, highlight the best, and set clear standards that support innovation.
Cloud Computing.
Cloud computing is characterised by scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities that are delivered to customers using Internet technologies. Cloud services are now widely available, can help reduce operating expenses, with private clouds expected to improve agility, dominate, and force IT to focus on service levels. In the next two years, organisations will need to evaluate commodity services to see what can be moved to the cloud, evaluate the cloud delivery model for internal use, and categorise applications and services based on SLAs and risks.

According to Gartner, IT organisations will invest more on private cloud services than on external cloud providers due to low barrier to entry, the elastic and scalable nature of the cloud, lower cost and pay per use, increased agility to customers, ease of migration, and reduced risks. Organisations will opt for the public cloud for scale on demand, agility and flexibility, pay per use, higher compute capacities, elasticity, and time to market.

Managing cloud sourcing is a major challenge that will require industry-specific service brokers to orchestrate cloud providers to meet the needs of small enterprises, while dynamic sourcing teams with new business- and IT- skills will evolve to manage the day-to-day sourcing decisions of large enterprises.

What should IT be doing right now in response to the latest tech trends?  Gartner research proposes greater focus on virtualisation and green IT for immediate cost and flexibility gains, as well as storage virtualisation, deduplication, and thin provisioning. Web social software should also be evaluated to help transform customer and employee interactions.

The Gartner action plan for the next 18 months calls for exploit mashups and cloud-based services to address users’ immediate needs, greater support for growth initiatives by linking UC to collaboration and enterprise applications, and sustained tracking of subtle business patterns and weak signals.

Finally, in the long term, organisations will need to manage public and private cloud services with new servers and specialised systems to minimise costs and maximise agility, adopt more sophisticated resource analytics to support operational costs and efficiency, and recognise opportunities that may materialise from cloud computing and social networking, as well as new approaches to managing infrastructure. 

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