Social networking, mashups and cloud computing are set to shape the IT landscape over the next five years, as some of the 10 most disruptive technologies, according to the Gartner research group.
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Business IT applications will start to mirror the features found in popular consumer social software, such as Facebook and MySpace, as organisations look to improve employee collaboration and harness the community feedback of customers, says Gartner Fellow, David Cearley.
"Social software provides a platform that encourages participation and feedback from employees and customers alike," Cearley said. "The added value for businesses is being able to collect this feedback into a single point that reflects collective attitudes, which can help shape a business strategy."
Speaking at the recent Gartner Emerging Trends and Technologies Roadshow in Melbourne, Cearley said Gartner predicts that by 2010 web mashups, which mix content from publicly available sources, will be the dominant model (80 percent) for the creation of new enterprise applications.
"Because mashups can be created quickly and easily, they create possibilities for a new class of short-term or disposable applications that would not normally attract development dollars," Cearley said.
"The ability to combine information into a common dashboard or visualise it using geo-location or mapping software is extremely powerful."
Chief Information Officers who see their jobs as "keeping the data centre running, business continuity planning and finding new technology toys to show to people" will not survive, Cearley warns.
Instead, they will need to think beyond the constraints of conventional, in order to identify the technologies that might be in widespread use a few years from now.
Gartner recommends that CIOs establish a formal mechanism for evaluating emerging trends and technologies. It recommends setting up virtual teams of their best staff and giving them time to spend researching new ideas and innovations, especially those that are being driven by consumer and Web 2.0 technologies.
"The CIO then needs to act as a conduit from the business to the technology. He or she needs to see how it might be possible to use these technologies to solve a problem the business has identified," Cearley said.
Gartner’s top 10 disruptive technologies 2008-2012 are:
- Multicore and hybrid processors
- Virtualisation and fabric computing
- Social networks and social software
- Cloud computing and cloud/Web platforms
- Web mashups
- User Interface
- Ubiquitous computing
- Contextual computing
- Augmented reality