Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with 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.
A strategic technology may be an existing technology that has matured or become suitable for a wider range of uses. It may also be an emerging technology that offers an opportunity for strategic business advantage for early adopters or with potential for significant market disruption in the next five years. These technologies impact the organisation's long-term plans, programs and initiatives.
“We have identified the top ten technologies that will be strategic for most organisations, and that IT leaders should factor into their strategic planning processes over the next two years,” said David Cearley, vice president and Gartner fellow.
“This does not necessarily mean enterprises should adopt and invest in all of the listed technologies; however companies need to be making deliberate decisions about how they fit with their expected needs in the near future.”
Cearley said that these technologies are emerging amidst a nexus of converging forces – social, mobile, cloud and information. Although these forces are innovative and disruptive on their own, together they are revolutionising business and society, disrupting old business models and creating new leaders. As such, the Nexus of Forces is the basis of the technology platform of the future.
The top ten trends are:
Trend One: 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% of the handsets sold in mature markets will be smartphones. But only 20% of those handsets are likely to be Windows phones. By 2015 media tablet shipments will reach around 50% 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. Consumerisation 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 standardise 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.
Trend Two: 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. But 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-optimised mobile applications that operate across a range of devices in a coordinated fashion.