Orlando - What will rock IT's world in the next three years?
All flavors of mobile devices carried in bunches by end-users, a swell of interconnected and supportive mobile apps, personal clouds, hybrid clouds, Web-scale IT, the Internet of Everything and robotics are among a few.
End-users may triple the number of devices they carry, management suites will morph and 25 billion things on the Internet will be addressable through apps with interfaces that cover touch, voice and video. There is also a dose of 3D printing options, and some SAML thrown in (see No. 4) to meet identity and access demands.
This is Gartner's view of the world as laid out in its Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014. It was presented to CIOs and other IT executives at the annual Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, Fla. And yes, mobile, cloud and big data are forcing functions.
Last week, in a forward-looking, scene-setting session (an annual CIO favorite), David Cearley, a Gartner Fellow and vice president, presented to a packed house a proposed future for IT.
Here's how it looks (and not in any particular order for the first eight, according to Cearley).
1. Mobile Device Diversity and Management:
Get ready for diversity because there won't be a dominant platform or vendor. But there will be a flood. By 2016, each user will have 3-5 devices covering all shapes, sizes and abilities and with interfaces that range from touch/voice to keyboard/mouse to gestures. The enterprise mobile platform will be cloud delivered, social-enabled, multi-channel, device aware and device agnostic. Distinct markets for mobile device management, security containers and file synch/share and other tools may fade into suites. Cearley's take: Invest tactically in best-of-breed solutions with greater than two years payback. Pick strategic vendors by 2016.
2. Mobile Apps and Applications:
More Google, Apple and Microsoft here. More UI options. More cross-platform applications. "The app will be the unit of management not the container or the device," Cearley said. Applications will snap together to create bigger, more sophisticated apps. HTML 5 will be the application platform of choice.
3. The Internet of Everything:
People, things, information and places. There's value in all that connectivity and architecture will matter. Mange, monetize, operate and extend will frame CIOs thinking. App logic, data and analytics will be put anywhere - the network edge, gateways, clouds and in the enterprise. The "things" blob will hold some 25 billion pieces. CIOs will need to evaluate business processes to discover where the opportunities lie, said Cearley. The downside? Privacy liabilities and information overload.
4. Hybrid Cloud and IT as Service Broker:
Stop if you have heard this before (hint: SOA composite apps). Hybrid clouds will breed static apps and apps put together dynamically, by event or deployment needs, based on policies, capacity, pricing, and needs like disaster recovery. Here standards such as the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) will aid in providing authentication to services, which will be available across security boundaries. Hybrid IT puts tech in the backseat and deals with the enterprise as an advisor (enterprise app store), a broker (service integrator) and a provider (*aaS services). Cearley cautions: "The cloud is the most hyped term out there and when you put hybrid in front of it, the hype goes up by an order of magnitude."
5. Cloud/Client Architecture:
From the developers point of view the cloud is the control point and system of record, apps do not go away they are everywhere, context is key and computing finds its way to the end-user, there are multiple client endpoints, and mobile security containers redefine security.
6. The Era of Personal Cloud:
The intersection of cloud and mobile give end-users their own self-defining digital space that is made up of who they are and what services they use. And it comes complete with all the connecting tissue. Sync Me, See Me, Know Me, Be Me becomes the logical flow from a users home on the digital range.
7. Software Defined Anything:
Networking, storage, data centers, integrated systems, IaaS, OpenStack, Real-time infrastructure, Open Compute Project. It's all food for software-defined functions where everything is a platform. A standards approach expands depth and breadth across the board. Standards are key but also a bitter pill for vendors who have enjoyed lock-ins with their proprietary technology. The API Economy comes into play here. Cearley's take: "Think about API strategy going forward."
8. Web Scale IT:
This is the pot of the gold at the end of software-defined networking rainbow. "Rethink the IT value chain," says Cearley. In: Open source, DIY, resiliency, services, DevOps, sharing, learning, scale out, new-age vendors. Out: proprietary, turn-key, complexity, GUIs, ITIL, heroes, rules, scale up, old-school vendors.
9. Smart Machines:
Everywhere. Used as replacements, assistants, advisors, observers, helpers. "This is at the very early stages of development, but is most disruptive over the next five years," Cearley says.
10. 3D Printing:
The enterprise can gain rapid and iterative prototypes and models, short-run manufacturing, and new product opportunities. Vendors battle for markets. Hurdles: businesses need to adapt to the technology, major cost consideration, scope of available printing materials.
How close to reality do you think Cearley is? How close does your current situation map to these ten trends? Is this the future or just futuristic?