In a rapid-fire 60-minute webinar, Gartner analyst Raymond Paquet presented his list of the top trends in technology that everyone should be keeping an eye on over the next four years. Some of the trends are already well-established, like the adoption of tablets in the enterprise, but others haven’t really taken off yet. What’s the deal with the service desk trend, you ask?
Despite the eclectic look of the list, Paquet feels there is one common denominator driving all ten of these trends: content. More than eight trillion text messages were sent in the past year, and more than 30 billion pieces of content are added to Facebook every month. It is our need to access this (and other) content from anywhere, at anytime, and on any device that is creating change in the IT sector.
In this article, we give an overview of all ten trends. You can also skip directly to the ones that pique your interest by clicking on the links below.
6. Fabric data center (2012-2016)
Fabric computing is being touted as the foundation of next-generation enterprise IT architectures. According to Paquet, many organizations are already moving to a fabric-based infrastructure. This type of computing involves a set of storage, networking, and processing functions that are linked or “woven together” by high-bandwidth interconnects (where bandwidth speed is the total information flow over a given period of time).
If managed appropriately, companies can use a fabric-based infrastructure to provide just enough capacity and energy for optimum efficiency in the data center. (See trend 2 to learn why this is a big deal.)
8. Big data (2012-2014)
At the beginning of the webinar, Paquet proposed that content is the driving force behind these ten movements in the tech industry. In a way, though, content is a trend in and of itself. Big data is probably the most talked-about topic in IT right now. Studies reveal that companies making data-driven decisions show higher productivity gains than other factors can explain. That’s reason enough for most companies to start running big data analyses. The challenge lies in making the data available for analysis, i.e. storing and managing the data.
The amount of data to be stored is growing at a rate of 65 percent annually. Eighty percent of that will be unstructured data, which is fundamentally more difficult to manage. Companies need to find a way to store big data without overloading their data centers (see trends 2 and 3). Since unstructured data usually isn’t the mission critical information that requires high performance storage, Paquet suggests companies use a lower-cost tier of storage to save money. In addition, most unstructured data is untouched after 90 days. Companies could easily archive this data, which means they wouldn’t have to keep replicating (and paying for) information they don’t use.
9. Service desk (2014-2015)
The consumerization of IT is not only bringing tablets to the enterprise (see trend 1), it’s also disrupting other areas of the business, such as the service desk. More and more companies in the consumer market today are providing customer service help online and via social and mobile tools. People are getting used to tweeting rather than calling the airline if their flight is cancelled. When they want to figure out how to set up a new app on their tablet, they turn to the ultimate crowdourcing support tool, Google. And with all of it, they have come to expect rapid response times. While real-time support may not be realistic in the enterprise, the service desk will need to adapt to these other expectations going forward.
By 2016, Paquet says, service desks in the enterprise will be taking a proactive rather than reactive approach to IT problems. More focus will be placed on training and educating users on their devices to improve productivity. When a problem does arise, users will be able to contact the service desk via their mobile device.
10. Virtual and software-defined networks (2014-2016)
Lagging somewhat behind the arrival of on-demand software in the enterprise, the virtualized network is the missing piece needed for a truly virtual data center. A software-defined network, or virtual network, increases agility in the data center by separating the software from the underlying hardware. You are able to manage the entire network without being restricted by individual application silos. This allows you to more efficiently direct network traffic based on the user, application, geographic load, and other factors.
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