Gartner Predictions: IT Faces Nexus of Big Data, Cloud, Social, and Mobile

By | Jan 10, 2012

New Gartner predictions for 2012 paints a picture of a changing landscape for IT organizations in business due to a convergence of "four IT forces" that will bring changes to the way IT manages its infrastructure. The analysis from Gartner Predicts 2012 describes the push stemming from the rapid evolution and convergence of cloud computing, social media, mobility, and big data as a force for creating a climate of IT change in 2012. But how IT pros attempt to control their new landscape is what is in question. Gartner states, "They need to ask themselves how they will handle the nexus--whether in individual pieces, or as a unified phenomenon all of itself."

One can look at the individual pieces of the new landscape through the lens of small business. In 2012, it is cloud computing that will ramp up, causing many companies to look to a cloud provider for their enterprise needs, according to a recent article on Fox Business. For IT, this will mean managing both on-site and off-site systems and services, as well as actively assessing the cost benefit and impact of cloud computing to the enterprise. This may be the year in which small and midsize businesses become more exposed when it comes to mobile security--particularly as more employees bring consumer devices such as tablets and smart phones to work, and companies begin to embrace consumer technology as business productivity tools. But looking at these individual pieces of the four forces shows overlap and dependence upon one another, and IT must be willing to adapt existing business processes to account for these dependencies.

For IT, looking at each piece as an independent entity brings perspective to what each part brings to the table, but it is understanding the whole that brings clarity to the real challenges ahead. Business processes and procedures will need to be updated to account for the convergence of the "four IT forces" such that they remain effective for the enterprise. As an example, big data gained a lot of attention in 2011, with major vendors such as IBM and Oracle offering solutions for handling vast datasets. For many verticals, these solutions are practical and cost-effective for IT to carry out and manage. Adding the cloud piece to the big data issue might mean using a vendor's cloud-based service as part of the solution. But this adds cost complexity and managerial complexity that necessitates changes to the business, data and management processes. Add in the mobile piece, where tablets and smartphones enter the picture as devices to access the data and run analytics, and new security processes and procedures come into play along with the potential need for mobile management software. Finally, the social component impacts both the data-gathering end as a possible source for new data and the customer-facing end for customer relationship management. Social media analytics tools might be needed to aid IT, and the decision whether they will be cloud-based or housed on-site needs to be addressed. Even social media then has potential impacts to the whole.

One of the most intriguing of the Gartner predictions, echoed in an article in Tech Journal South states that until 2015, more than 50 percent of enterprises are at risk of failure due to ineffective IT management. It is to the benefit of IT, then, to look at not just the individual "four IT forces" but at the big picture created by those forces' convergence in order to maintain complete control of the changing enterprise.

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