Every year Gartner, Inc. identifies the 10 strategic technologies for the year ahead. It released the 2010 edition in October and I found the results very interesting.
For Gartner to consider a technology, a "strategic technology," it must have 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."
The number one technology on the 2010 list is one that we at NetDocuments are very close to and have been doing for the past 10 years -- that is "Cloud Computing."
"Cloud computing is a style of computing that characterizes a model in which providers deliver a variety of IT-enabled capabilities to consumers. Cloud-based services can be exploited in a variety of ways to develop an application or a solution. Using cloud resources does not eliminate the costs of IT solutions, but does re-arrange some and reduce others." – Gartner
Listed below are the other nine strategic technologies for 2010:
It was interesting to note that many of the technologies mentioned are in some form related to cloud computing or SaaS. These include "IT for Green," "Reshaping the Data Center" and "Mobile Applications." I will highlight each one of these below, as well as "Social Computing," as it has become even more relevant to the business enterprise with Salesforce.com's announcement of Chatter.
IT for Green
There are many ways to move to a more environmentally friendly workplace. The last decade saw companies do this by moving to a less paper office with the help of scanners and document management systems to reduce paper waste. The next step for these companies is to reduce energy waste by getting rid of their servers and moving to SaaS and the cloud.
Reshaping the Data Center
Gartner talks about this point in terms of design principles and mentions how a pod-based data center design approach can save space and is more efficient. I propose to take that one step farther by suggesting that a cloud-based design approach can save even more space and is even more efficient. That is because much of the data center can be eliminated by going SaaS and storing data in the cloud.
This one actually surprised me. Not because it made the list, but because it was not higher on the list. Gartner states that by the end of 2010, 1.2 billion people will be using mobile devices capable of running rich web applications. Many software providers have already released apps for the iPhone and Android OS that provide rich functionality from anywhere in the world, and cloud computing companies such as ourselves and Salesforce.com allow users to access their entire DMS or CRM directly from the mobile device.
Social media is certainly on everyones radars with the popularity of Twitter and other social networks, and this point was made clearer at Dreamforce 09 when Salesforce.com announced their new Chatter feature. Chatter, which is billed as the "Facebook for the Enterprise" brings social networks to the business enterprise. To learn more about Chatter and social computing for business, read Marc Duncan's recent blog titled, "Dreamforce Offers Glimpse into the Future of SaaS and Social Media."