What are the experts predicting for tech trends in 2008? At the recent Gartner Symposium/ITxpo held last October in Orlando, more than 6000 senior business and IT strategists from virtually all major industries gathered for the industry's largest conference to gain the latest advice on driving profits and performance with IT.
Attendees rely on the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo for their annual planning and to gain insight into how their organizations can best use IT to address business challenges and improve operational efficiency.
Reflecting Gartner's very latest research findings, the analysts projected the 10 technologies likely to play a 'strategic' role in 2008. Gartner defines a strategic technology as one "with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years."
In addition Gartner also looks at "high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt."
"Companies should factor these technologies into their strategic planning process by asking key questions and making deliberate decisions about them during the next two years," said David Cearley, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.
"Sometimes the decision will be to do nothing with a particular technology. In other cases it will be to continue investing in the technology at the current rate. In still other cases, the decision may be to test/pilot or more aggressively adopt/deploy the technology. The important thing is to ask the question and proactively plan."
Here's a look at the top 10 tech trends, and what Gartner had to say about them:
Green IT: The focus of Green IT that came to the forefront in 2007 will increase in 2008. As the impact on power grids, carbon emissions from increased use and other environmental impacts are under investigation, companies should be mindful of potential regulations that could limit the building of data centers, and should be prepared with backup plans for handling growing data demands.
Unified Communications: At present only 20 percent of the installed base with PBX has migrated to IP telephony, with more doing some sort of trial testing. Gartner says that over the next three years the majority of corporations will migrate to Internet Protocol telephony, resulting in a major change in voice communications.
Business Process Modeling: Top-level process services must be defined jointly by a set of roles (which include enterprise architects, senior developers, process architects and/or process analysts).
A key to success will be an organization's ability to bring these roles together, whether they be process or service designated. Gartner also expects business process management software suites to better complement SOA applications development.
Metadata Management: Over the next three years, companies working to integrate both customer data and product data will link these master data management efforts together in an overall enterprise information management (EIM) strategy.
According to Gartner "This critical part of a company's information infrastructure will enable optimization, abstraction, and semantic reconciliation of metadata to support reuse, consistency, integrity and shareability." Metadata management, Gartner notes, also extends into SOA software development projects with service registries and application development repositories.
Virtualization 2.0: Virtualization technologies can improve IT resource utilization, but with the addition of automation technologies - with service-level, policy-based active management - even greater improvements are possible.
"Resource efficiency can improve dramatically, flexibility can become automatic based on requirements, and services can be managed holistically, ensuring high levels of resiliency," Gartner says.
Mashup and Composite Apps: Over the next 3 years, Web mashups will be the way companies create composite enterprise applications, Gartner predicts. Mashup technologies will evolve significantly over the next five years, and application leaders must take this evolution into account when evaluating the impact of mashups and in formulating an enterprise mashup strategy.
Web Platform and Web-Oriented Architecture: Software-as-a-Service, in which applications are available on-demand over the Web, is becoming a sensible option for many companies. Emerging Web platforms, Gartner says, will provide service-based access to information, applications, and business processes through Web-based "cloud computing" environments.
Companies must also look beyond SaaS to examine how web platforms will impact their business in 3-5 years.
Computing Fabric: According to Gartner researchers, "A computing fabric is the evolution of server design beyond the interim stage, blade servers, that exists today. The next step in this progression is the introduction of technology to allow several blades to be merged operationally over the fabric, operating as a larger single system image that is the sum of the components from those blades.
The fabric-based server of the future will treat memory, processors, and I/O cards as components in a pool, combining and recombining them into particular arrangements to suit the owner's needs."
The researcher added, "For example a large server can be created by combining 32 processors and a number of memory modules from the pool, operating together over the fabric to appear to an operating system as a single fixed server."
Real World Web: The term "real world Web" is informal, referring to places where information from the Web is applied to the particular location, activity or context in the real world. Gartner states, "It is intended to augment the reality that a user faces, not to replace it as in virtual worlds.
It is used in real-time based on the real world situation, not prepared in advance for consumption at specific times or researched after the events have occurred." It gives the example of a navigation unit that adjusts the information it delivers as a car or boat moves around. Gartner sees real world Web application improving many business processes and creating new revenue streams.
Social Software: The Web 2.0 market will go through a lot of changes between now and 2010, Gartner says, and will experience considerable flux with continued product innovation and new entrants, resulting in considerable vendor consolidation. However, the research firm does see social networking being adopted by many enterprises to augment traditional collaboration.
According to Gartner, "These 10 opportunities should be considered in conjunction with many proven, fully-matured technologies, as well as others that did not make this list, but can provide value for many companies," said Carl Claunch, vice president at Gartner.
"For example, real-time enterprises providing advanced devices for a mobile workforce will consider next-generation smartphones to be a key technology, in addition to the value that this list might offer."
Written by: Anne Sych, Marketing Manager for Novo Solutions, Inc.
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