Tablets, Mobile, Social, 'Things' Strategic Technology Trends for 2012, Gartner Says

5 minute read
Josette Rigsby avatar

Analyst firm Gartner, Inc. has once again looked into its crystal ball andidentified the 10 technologies and trends it feels will significantly affect the enterprise most in 2012. Gartner announced the top 10 list of strategictechnologies at its Gartner Symposium/IT Expo that just concluded.

How Do You Know It’s Strategic?

Strategic is one of those words that, many times, means different things todifferent people. Strategy to some is just an elaborate plan that is unlikely to ever be implemented, but instead serves as point of inspiration (or source of mockery). Gartner defines a strategic technology as

one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the nextthree years.”

According to Gartner, strategic technologies:

  • have high potential for disruption to IT or business
  • require significant capital investment
  • have high risk if adopted late

Let’s take a look at what Gartner’s analysts expect to be on the lips oftechnology leaders for months to come.

The Top Ten Strategic Technology List


Tablets aren’t just sexy toys for the consumer market. The furtherconsumerization of technology will continue to move forward and companies willhave to address this new form factor for employees, customers and partners.Organizations will have to consider their goals, how they will manage risk andof course how they will address implementation on the tools as part of theirmobile efforts.

Mobile-Centric Applications, Interfaces

Users expect to be constantly connected and have access to everythinganywhere they need it. To support these users, organizations must ensure thattheir information is easily consumable over all channels, not just the desktop.Mobile and touch application are introducing new user interface paradigms.Instead of standalone monolithic applications, the new application model islikely to be one of composition and assembly so that changing needs can bequickly addressed. In addition, new technology developments such as HTML5 willimprove the ability of organization to better deliver cross-platformapplications and reduce the need to write redundant native applications.

Contextual, Social User Experience

Social computing and developing deep relationships with users will continueto be a point of influence for technology projects. Gartner anticipates thatunderstanding the end-user’s or object’s environment, activities, connectionsand preferences to improve the quality of interaction will become even moreimportant for organizations to deliver.

Internet of Things

The internet has moved from the desktop to mobile and later it will beeverywhere. The Internet of Things refers to growing trend of sensors and intelligence added to physical items such as consumer devices or physical assetsand the connection of these to the Internet.

Organizations will have to determine if they can benefit from capabilitiessuch as:

  • embedded sensors -- detect and communicate changes
  • image recognition
  • near field communication (NFC) payment -- already popular in Asia, NFC allowsusers to wave their phone to pay for goods

App Stores, Marketplaces

Gartner predicts there will be more than 70 billion mobile application downloadsannually in the next 2 years. Users have gotten so accustomed to the “app store”concept that marketplaces will begin to play a more important role in theenterprise. This shift will put technology teams in a slightly different role -- they will no longer be planners and directors dictating what’s installed in manycases; they will instead be managers to govern the diverse new ecosystem.

Learning Opportunities

Next-Generation Analytics

Analytics will continue to grow in importance, specifically in three areas: 

  • in-line embedded analytics
  • using large historical and near real-time stores of data to analyze trends andpredict future events
  • incorporating more complex unstructured data into analysis

 Leaders will have to incorporate cloud computing to deal with the performancechallenges and optimize efficiency so that users will be able to quickly findthe answers they need for decision making.

Big Data

Data volume and complexity is growing at an astounding rate. Many of thetraditional tools and techniques for  data management are notcapable of dealing with the challenges of big data. Technologists willaccelerate their use of new technologies such as NoSQL, the cloud and federatedmodels to manage the new content environment.

In-Memory Computing

Gartner suggests that the next year will bring a large increase in the use offlash memory in consumer devices and embedded enterprise systems. Runningexisting applications in-memory or refactoring these applications to exploitin-memory approaches can result in improved transactional applicationperformance and scalability, lower latency (less than one microsecond)application messaging, faster batch execution and faster responsetime in analytical applications. These are critical for modern, fast-movingorganizations.

Extreme Low-Energy Servers

Technology is going more green. Gartner predicts that organizations willbegin exploring low-power processors for applications that do not requireintense computing capabilities. Low-Energy servers can reduce power consumptionand possibly cost versus traditional servers.

Cloud Computing

Most organizations have moved beyond the exploratory face with the cloud andwill focus on creating  cloud strategies that define where and how theywill use the cloud, the need for public and hybrid clouds and how they secure,govern and manage the environment.

2011 has flown by, so analysts’ predictions will be pouring out of every whitepaper, blog and email for the next few months. It will be interesting to see howmuch they get correct.

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