Our friends at Gartner kick off their latest "summit" this week in a chilly but vibrant Las Vegas, Nevada. The focus of the conference, when not at the slot machines or blackjack tables, is Application Architecture, Development and Integration.

Opening Keynote

After an early morning refresher session on cloud computing, the conference kicked off in earnest with the opening keynote address from Jeff Shulman -- a Group Vice President and Team Manager in Gartner Research. Mr. Shulman's presentation was titled: "The Ten Most Important Strategic Planning Assumptions."

While Mr. Shulman's discussion about the disruptive force of cloud, mobile and social was nothing new to the audience of CMSWire.com, the aforementioned assumptions did raise a few eyebrows:

  • By 2016, half of all CIOs expect to operate the majority of their applications and infrastructures through cloud technologies.
  • By 2015, the enterprise use of PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service, think middleware in the cloud) will grow from 3% today to 43%.
  • By 2015, comprehensive single-source PaaS software suites will emerge from the leading providers and their partner ecosystems.


PaaS Roadmap from Gartner Reseach

  • By 2014, more than 65% of cloud applications implemented by user organizations will use some form of advanced in-memory data management technology to meet their performance and scalability requirements.
  • By 2015, more than half of new business applications will leverage event streams to increase awareness and improve behavioral effectiveness.
  • By 2015, mobile application development projects will outnumber PC projects by a ratio of 4:1.
  • By 2014, 75% of the Fortune 1000 will offer public Web APIs.
  • By 2017, 25% of enterprises will have an enterprise app store for managing corporate-sanctioned apps on employee devices.
  • By 2016, 50% of new integration projects, up from 10% today, will involve on-premises applications, e-commerce trading partners and cloud services.
  • By 2016, 25% of all cloud services will be intermediated rather than consumed directly, up from 5% today.

Mr. Shulman concluded his keynote with this recommendation: Develop an Application Strategy. Part of me wants to say that is an underwhelming way to follow-up the list of predictions, but then I remember how many companies don't have any kind of strategy and I understand why Mr. Shulman felt it was important to state the obvious.

SOA and Integration

After the opening keynote, I attended two related sessions about Application Integration and Advanced SOA. The key takeaways from these sessions were:

  1. If you lead an internal application development team, you are going to be doing more application integration and less new application development. You need to accept this and prepare your teams. This work can still be rewarding for your people, but you need to be open with them about the future.
  2. Service Oriented Architecture has matured to a point that almost every organization is using it. Unfortunately, most of you (us) are doing it wrong. Now that most companies have implemented SOA and made their mistakes, it's time to follow Mr. Shulman's advice from above and develop a SOA strategy in order to be prepared for the future.

Managing Change and Why Games Make Us Better

Day 1 of the conference concluded with my two favorite sessions so far.

Matthew Hotle, VP and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner, gave a talk about how to manage organizational change. At first glance, I did not think Mr. Hotle's presentation made sense at an architecture and development conference.

Learning Opportunities

But I quickly came to the realization that too often, we as leaders in IT introduce change -- either through new platforms or enterprise applications -- and we underestimate or ignore the impact of that change on our organization.

Mr. Hotle helped the attendees to think above the implementation details about how a new software platform or, dare I say, content management system will affect the productivity and job satisfaction for our teams. I highly recommend his research for anyone in a leadership position.

The last session of the day featured a guest keynote speech from video game designer and researcher, Jane McGonigal. Mrs. McGonigal's presentation was titled: "Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Help Us Achieve Extraordinary Goals."

Mrs. McGonigal covered an enormous amount of content in her hour-long presentation -- including a massive multiplayer game of thumb-wrestling involving 800+ attendees. Therefore, rather than try to recap everything she discussed, I will offer only the highlights:

  • As of September 2011, there are 1 Billion gamers on the planet: 187 Million in the US, 300 Million in China.
  • Mrs. McGonigal's dream is to see a gamer or game designer be nominated for a Nobel prize by 2023.
  • Games make us resilient -- stronger in the face of a challenge. How? Because gamers spend 80% percent of their time failing while playing a game.
  • 71% of workers in the U.S. are actively disengaged -- meaning they don't care about the work they are doing. Gamification (a buzzword that Mrs. McGonigal admittedly doesn't care for but uses it because it has stuck) can help.
  • Gamification is the invention of new work and business practices that will engage employees, customers and consumers as effectively as a good game.
  • Our teams are being made up of more and more gamers, they want a similar experience during their work-life that they get in their game-life.

What does all this mean to you? There are many tasks in the day of a content management professional that are less than exciting to perform. We as leaders need to think seriously about how to make the mundane tasks more exciting and valuable -- gamification can help. We can't be afraid of a little bit of embarrassment if it will help enrich the work experience of our people.

What do you think about all this? Are you at the conference? If so, drop us a comment below and let us know what your favorite experience has been so far.