Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013

Late last month Gartner published their annual Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013. Based on the view that Gartner paints it looks to me as a evelotuionary year ahead rather than revelotionary. This is no way is a bad thing. It shows what revolutionary concepts from last year have made it and are continuing to be invested in.

Gartner analysis can be summerized into three core statements / trends:

  • It's clear that there is a shift of where computing happens, from your desk to your palm and fingers anywhere in the world (1) (2) (5)
  • Information is real-time, always on and universally connected (3) (7) (8)
  • Cloud architectures are the de facto standard for enterprises going forward (4) (6) (9) (10)

 

The top 10 strategic technology trends for 2013 include:

  1. Mobile Device Battles
  2. Mobile Applications and HTML 5
  3. Personal Cloud
  4. Enterprise App Stores
  5. The Internet of Things
  6. Hybrid IT and Cloud
  7. Strategic Big Data
  8. Actionable Analytics
  9. In Memory Computing
  10. Integrated Ecosystems

 

Mobile Device Battles

Gartner predicts that by 2013 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide and that by 2015 over 80 percent of the handsets sold in mature markets will be smartphones. However, only 20 percent of those handsets are likely to be Windows phones. By 2015 media tablet shipments will reach around 50 percent of laptop shipments and Windows 8 will likely be in third place behind Google’s Android and Apple iOS operating systems. Windows 8 is Microsoft’s big bet and Windows 8 platform 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. 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. The implications for IT is that the era of PC dominance with Windows as the single platform will be replaced with a post-PC era where Windows is just one of a variety of environments IT will need to support.

Mobile Applications and HTML5

The market for tools to create consumer and enterprise facing apps is complex with well over 100 potential tools vendors. Currently, Gartner separates mobile development tools into several categories. For the next few years, no single tool will be optimal for all types of mobile application so expect to employ several. 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. Nevertheless, native apps won't disappear, and will always offer the best user experiences and most sophisticated features. Developers will also need to develop new design skills to deliver touch-optimized mobile applications that operate across a range of devices in a coordinated fashion.

Personal Cloud

The personal cloud will gradually replace the PC as the location where individuals keep their personal content, access their services and personal preferences and center their digital lives. It will be the glue that connects the web of devices they choose to use during different aspects of their daily lives. The personal cloud will entail the unique collection of services, Web destinations and connectivity that will become the home of their computing and communication activities. Users will see it 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. The personal cloud shifts the focus from the client device to cloud-based services delivered across devices.

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 and potentially an ecosystem to support apptrepreneurs.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept that describes how the Internet will expand as physical items such as consumer devices and physical assets are connected to the Internet. Key elements of the IoT which 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. Smartphones and other intelligent devices don't just use the cellular network, they communicate via NFC, Bluetooth, LE and Wi-Fi to a wide range of devices and peripherals, such as wristwatch displays, healthcare sensors, smart posters, and home entertainment systems. The IoT will enable a wide range of new applications and services while raising many new challenges.

Hybrid IT and Cloud Computing

As staffs have been asked to do more with less, IT departments must 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. The internal CSB role represents a means for the IT organization to retain and build influence inside its organization and to become a value center in the face of challenging new requirements relative to increasing adoption of cloud as an approach to IT consumption.

Strategic Big Data

Big Data is moving from a focus on individual projects to an influence on enterprises’ strategic information architecture. 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. Instead they are moving towards 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.

Actionable Analytics

Analytics is increasingly delivered to users at the point of action and in context. With the improvement of performance and costs, IT leaders can afford to perform analytics and simulation for every action taken in the business. The mobile client linked to cloud-based analytic engines and big data repositories potentially enables use of optimization and simulation everywhere and every time. 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.

In Memory Computing

In memory computing (IMC) can also provide transformational opportunities. The execution of certain-types of hours-long batch processes can be squeezed into minutes or even seconds allowing 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. Millions of events can be scanned in a matter of a few tens of millisecond to detect correlations and patterns pointing at emerging opportunities and threats "as things happen." 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.

Integrated Ecosystems

The market is undergoing a shift to more integrated systems and ecosystems and away from loosely coupled heterogeneous approaches. Driving this trend is the user desire for lower cost, simplicity, and more assured security. Driving the trend for vendors the ability to have more control of the solution stack and obtain greater margin in the sale as well as offer a complete solution stack in a controlled environment, but without the need to provide any actual hardware. The trend is manifested in three levels. Appliances combine hardware and software and software and services are packaged to address and infrastructure or application workload. Cloud-based marketplaces and brokerages facilitate purchase, consumption and/or use of capabilities from multiple vendors and may provide a foundation for ISV development and application runtime. In the mobile world, vendors including Apple, Google and Microsoft drive varying degrees of control across and end-to-end ecosystem extending the client through the apps.

 

 

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Enterprise Social Player Emerge with Differentiators

Mike Walker's Blog: Enterprise Social Player Emerge with Differentiators

A colleague from my former days with the Microsoft Architecture Strategy Team, Simon Guest,  just joined a company called Neudesic. I just read an interesting article on his blog entitled “Feeling the Pulse at Neudesic!” which triggered a few thoughts on how social will transform cloud providers into the next stage of the web for enterprises.

We are already seeing this from vendors like Salesforce.com with Chatter, released June 22nd this year. They have pioneered this usage for enterprises. Salesforce has really shown thought leadership here in baking this into their core platform in a real way. Directionally they see Chatter as the center of the Salesforce world. Hoping to reduce the dependency on technologies such as email and IM in the form of “living” feeds that describe the activities of enterprise. Additionally, this can be viewed across the company so information has no boundaries. I really like this direction and I too see this as the future.

This brings us to the news of the Pulse solution. Neudesic’s Pulse started by partnering with  Microsoft  to integrate social features into Microsoft Dynamics CRM but now it extends both platform and functional support. Supporting not only Microsoft CRM but also SharePoint and Salesforce.com. Like Chatter, Pulse was inspired by popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, Pulse is an enterprise social networking product that creates an interconnected network of people and systems throughout the organization to help keep information fresh an relevant.

Mike Walker's Blog: Pulse UI

Simon describes Pulse as:

In essence, Pulse is Facebook for the enterprise. If you’ve ever used Facebook or another social networking site, the feeds, profiles, walls, likes, follows, etc. will all feel very similar.

One of the main differences however is that because the social network is inside the walls of an enterprise, the possibilities for extending become so much more interesting. Not only can you “friend” other colleagues, but you can also “friend” systems. Like to know when business is won or lost? “Friend” the CRM system, and if someone updates an opportunity, you get a pulse notification. Similarly, if someone joins or leaves the company, the HR system “pulses” about the change. Are the IT Systems going down for routine maintenance? You’ve guessed it… another pulse! I’m sure there are many additional directions that this could be taken – just think of the countless internal systems that we habitually visit every day. What if each of them could send push notifications into a central social network?

While the above statements provide the “cool factor” to this technology I think there is more to the story here to highlight. What is really great about this technology over SalesForce.com’s offering are these core differentiators:

  • Potential – This is by far the most important aspect here. The potential of integrating a range of solutions rather than just one primarily is a huge differentiator. The information is king, not the enabling technologies. So if there are cloud platforms that lock you into just there information sets and not others it demishes the potential greatly. So solutions that embrace multiple information sets by other vendors like Microsoft will prevail.
  • Platform Independence – I have the freedom to choose which platform I want to make social. Combination of vendors, platforms and repositories on premise or cloud based can be chosen. Just like with development technologies, we live in a hybrid world of a variety of different solution enabled technologies. While companies could make big bets on CRM solutions in the cloud we have to ask ourselves if we are going to put all of our socially aware capable solutions there? If not (and I believe this is the case), then we should chose solutions like Pulse that deliver that platform independence. 
  • Avoidance of Vendor & Platform Lock-In – With technologies like Chatter, you are locked-in to the Force.com platform. While you can integrate to it there is a great deal of flexibility that is lost. Additionally, if one day your organization chooses to move on to the next big technology solution that replaces this capability your feeds, functionality and data are locked in Chatter. Salesforce does have API’s to retrieve the raw data but context and all the application logic you have built will be lost. 
  • Total Cost of Ownership – Investment for a solution like Pulse is significantly lower if enabled across the enterprise and solutions. I don’t have to make a enterprise license agreement with one vendor to see the benefits of making my enterprise socially aware. This can be a multimillion dollar investment for an organization and is a tough sell for social capabilities, especially if it is the first foray into social.
  • Salesforce Inclusive Partnerships – Salesforce just doesn’t have much love for Microsoft or any other vendor not part of the Salesforce buddy system. While this isn’t  a reason not to choose a vendor it should be a strong warning sign. Like it or not Microsoft owns the enterprise productivity desktop market today. I can’t count how many business folks I talk to that live by Excel, Word and PowerPoint.  As a vendor with such large potential impact on companies it is their ethical responsibility to be aware of this and to reduce the  loss of productivity by acknowledging solutions in the MSFT productivity stake and not working against it.

In my mind those are the primary differentiators that really make this solution exciting. This post isn’t to do a formal comparison or to disprove the merits of the Chatter solution but rather highlight new solutions and their unique value proposition in making solutions socially aware.

Further Reading

 

The State of Enterprise Architecture

Recently there was a panel discussion regarding “The State of Enterprise Architecture: Vast Promise or Lost Opportunity?“. It was actually a very interesting panel discussion. Take a peek when you have a moment.

Here are a few excerpts that I really agree with:

In a lot of cases, we make a big deal about the technical expertise of architects, but in a lot of architectural engagements that I have been involved in, I didn’t actually know anything at all about the subject matter that I was being asked to architect.

What I did know how to do was ask the right questions, find the people who knew the answers to those, and help the people who actually had the information orchestrate, arrange, and understand it in a way that allowed them to solve the problem that they really had.

This is very true. It is all about asking the right people the right questions and even more often it’s about asking those same people the next two or three questions that are the real answers you are looking for. This also isn’t something that is easy for anyone to pick up. While the occasional cheat sheet/checklist is good as a refresher to make sure you tied everything off it should be used as the end all be all. Questions alone with out the right people asking them are not effective.

In terms of its maturity as a profession, it may be 100 or 200 years back, compared to law or medicine, but on the other hand, the quality of the practice is much more like where medicine and law were 50 year, 25 years ago.

I have to agree on a lot of fronts. It is somewhat the EA Wild West out here. There are so many competing frameworks, certifications and methods that it is difficult for the EA community to have a common vocabulary or measurement.

The fundamental with leadership in EA is that architects don’t own things. They are not responsible for the business processes. They are not responsible for the sales results. They are responsible for leading a group of people to that transformation, to that happy place, or to the end-state that you’re trying to achieve.

Enterprise Architects only have influence to the organization where it needs to be. This is both good and bad. I think that the previous comment made about the quality of the EA practice being equivalent to 25 to 50 years ago wouldn’t be the case if EA’s didn’t have to “earn there keep” as influencers. They have to earn there stripes to be effective in the industry. This is the true test of a good EA.

If you do not lead and do not take the risk to lead, the transformation won’t occur.

As an EA it’s all about putting yourself out there and taking calculated risks for yourself, not necessarily for the company.

Again, very good panel with Dana Gardner,Jeanne Ross, Dave Hornford and Len Fehskens.

For more information and the full article:

[UPDATE]

Direct link to audio podcast: https://www.opengroup.org/events/podcasts/BriefingsDirect-State%20of%20Enterprise%20Architecture%20With%20The%20Open%20Group.mp3