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Top Ten Business Technology Trends

Gartner analysts recently identified the top ten key technologies -- and related trends -- that they believe will be strategic for mainstream organizations. The analysts presented their findings during Gartner's Symposium and ITxpo.

Gartner defines a strategic technology as having the potential for significant impact on the enterprise -- within the next three years. Factors for significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major financial investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.

The technologies were chosen because they could affect an organization's long-term plans, programs and initiatives. They are deemed strategic because they’ve matured to broad market use, or because they enable strategic advantage from early adoption.

Gartner's top 10 strategic technologies for 2009 include:
Virtualization; Cloud Computing; Servers (beyond blades); Web-Oriented Architectures; Enterprise Mash-ups; Specialized Systems; Social Software and Social Networking; Unified Communications; Business Intelligence and Green IT.

As you consider each of these technologies in turn, and the associated applications within your own business environment, it would be wise to reconsider the notion that embracing a new technology always must equate to a financial investment in infrastructure.

In this context, is the purchase of an on-demand managed service an investment, or is it more accurate to characterize it as an expense? Let's consider the Gartner description of Cloud Computing, as an example.
"Cloud computing is a style of computing that characterizes a model in which providers deliver a variety of IT-enabled capabilities to consumers. The key characteristics of cloud computing are 1) delivery of capabilities 'as a service,' 2) delivery of services in a highly scalable and elastic fashion, 3) using Internet technologies and techniques to develop and deliver the services, and 4) designing for delivery to external customers.

Although cost is a potential benefit for small companies, the biggest benefits are the built-in elasticity and scalability, which not only reduce barriers to entry, but also enable these companies to grow quickly. As certain IT functions are industrializing and becoming less customized, there are more possibilities for larger organizations to benefit from cloud computing."
According to Carl Claunch, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, "Companies should evaluate these technologies and adjust based on their industry need, unique business needs, technology adoption model and other factors."

Lowering the Barriers to Progress
Perhaps one of those other factors would be an candid assessment of what advantages are being gained by competitors who have already chosen to take action. Meaning, can you make a determination of the direct and indirect cost of your potential inaction?

Moreover, by utilizing a selective out-tasking model, it's now possible to minimize the financial impact on new technology pilots and full deployments, while at the same time creating the environment to maximize the strategic impact.

The perceived barriers that may inhibit you from taking action have essentially been lowered.