Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013

In a new report, Gartner highlights the technologies and trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2013. Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt. These technologies impact the organization's long-term plans, programs and initiatives. “We have identified the top 10 technologies that IT leaders should factor into their strategic planning processes over the next two years,” said David Cearley, VP and Gartner fellow. “This does not necessarily mean enterprises should adopt and invest in all of the listed technologies; however companies need to be making deliberate decisions about how they fit with their expected needs in the near future.”

1. Mobile Device Battles

1. Mobile Device Battles: Gartner predicts that by 2013 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide. By 2015, media tablet shipments will reach around 50 percent of laptop shipments. Windows 8, a new operating system, is Microsoft’s big bet and the platform's mechanics and styles should be evaluated to get a better idea of how they might perform in real-world environments as well as how users will respond. The report notes that consumerization will mean enterprises won't be able to force users to give up their iPads or prevent the use of Windows 8 to the extent consumers adopt consumer targeted Windows 8 devices. Enterprises will need to support a greater variety of form factors reducing the ability to standardize PC and tablet hardware.

2. Mobile Applications and HTML5

2. Mobile Applications and HTML5: The market for tools to create consumer- and enterprise-facing apps is complex. For the next few years, no single tool will be optimal for all types of mobile application so expect to employ several. The report also notes that six mobile architectures—native, special, hybrid, HTML 5, Message and No Client—will remain popular. However, there will be a long-term shift away from native apps to Web apps as HTML5 becomes more capable.

3. Personal Cloud

3. Personal Cloud: Users will see the personal cloud as a portable, always-available place where they go for all their digital needs. In this world, no one platform, form factor, technology or vendor will dominate, and managed diversity and mobile device management will be an imperative. According to Gartner, the personal cloud shifts the focus from the client device to cloud-based services delivered across devices.

4. Enterprise App Stores

4. Enterprise App Stores: Enterprises face a complex app store future as some vendors will limit their stores to specific devices and types of apps forcing the enterprise to deal with multiple stores, multiple payment processes and multiple sets of licensing terms. By 2014, Gartner believes that many organizations will deliver mobile applications to workers through private application stores. With enterprise app stores the role of IT shifts from that of a centralized planner to a market manager providing governance and brokerage services to users.

5. The Internet of Things (IoT)

5. The Internet of Things (IoT): IoT is a concept that describes how the internet will expand as physical items such as consumer devices and physical assets are connected. Key elements of the IoT that are being embedded in a variety of mobile devices include embedded sensors, image recognition technologies and NFC payment. As a result, mobile no longer refers only to use of cellular handsets or tablets. Cellular technology is being embedded in many new types of devices including pharmaceutical containers and automobiles. The IoT will enable a wide range of new applications and services while raising many new challenges.

6. Hybrid IT and Cloud Computing

6. Hybrid IT and Cloud Computing: Gartner notes that IT departments will increasingly have to play multiple roles in coordinating IT-related activities, and cloud computing is now pushing that change to another level. A recently conducted Gartner IT services survey revealed that the internal cloud services brokerage (CSB) role is emerging as IT organizations realize that they have a responsibility to help improve the provisioning and consumption of inherently distributed, heterogeneous and often complex cloud services for their internal users and external business partners. According to Gartner, the internal CSB role represents a means for IT to retain and build influence and to become a value center in the face of challenging new requirements relative to the increasing adoption of cloud.

7. Strategic Big Data

7. Strategic Big Data: Dealing with data volume, variety, velocity and complexity is forcing changes to many traditional approaches. This realization is leading organizations to abandon the concept of a single enterprise data warehouse containing all information needed for decisions. Gartner points out that they are moving toward multiple systems, including content management, data warehouses, data marts and specialized file systems tied together with data services and metadata, which will become the "logical" enterprise data warehouse.

8. Actionable Analytics

8. Actionable Analytics: Analytics is increasingly delivered to users at the point of action and with context. This new step provides simulation, prediction, optimization and other analytics, to empower even more decision flexibility at the time and place of every business process action.

9. In-memory Computing (IMC)

9. In-memory Computing (IMC): The execution of certain types of hours-long batch processes can be squeezed into minutes or even seconds thanks to IMC, enabling these processes to be provided in the form of real-time or near real-time services that can be delivered to internal or external users in the form of cloud services. The possibility of concurrently running transactional and analytical applications against the same dataset opens unexplored possibilities for business innovation. Numerous vendors will deliver in-memory based solutions over the next two years driving this approach into mainstream use.

10. Integrated Ecosystems

10. Integrated Ecosystems: The market is undergoing a shift to more integrated systems and ecosystems and away from loosely coupled heterogeneous approaches. Driving this trend, according to Gartner, is the user's desire for lower cost, simplicity and more assured security.

In a new report, Gartner outlines transformative technologies that will need to be acted upon in 2013 and beyond.