In the world of technology, timeliness is extremely important. Being the first to take advantage of new and popular trends gives you more time to implement and perfect them. So when Gartner unveils their annual predictions for IT trends for the forthcoming year, it’s a good idea to pay attention.
After looking through Gartner's top 10 IT predictions for 2014, two things are very evident:
We have already seen these trends emerging heavily throughout 2013. The Software as a Service (SaaS) industry has been experiencing tremendous growth thanks to the growing popularity of cloud computing, and BYOD has been a hot topic for nearly all of 2013. It’s safe to say that Gartner's predictions aren’t too far off.
Gartner estimates that the amount of mobile technology will be growing exponentially through 2018. For most people, this isn’t very surprising. The problem that Gartner sees is that some companies aren’t prepared for the rate in which mobile device usage at work will grow. According to Gartner’s report, “The unexpected consequence of bring your own device (BYOD) programs is a doubling or even tripling of the size of the mobile workforce.”
The question that CIO’s will have to ask themselves is whether or not they have the infrastructure and protocol in place to handle that much growth.
As Gartner recommends, one of the first steps companies should take to prepare for the predicted mobile device growth in the workplace is to review your current BYOD policy or create one if you don’t currently have one in place. Also, it is going to be crucial that companies invest in MDM software. Trying to monitor hundreds, or in some cases thousands of employee-owned devices for BYOD without the use of integrated software is next to impossible.
For companies completely new to BYOD, you will also want to revamp your service desk to make sure they’re prepared for the change. If your service desk is primarily used to only handling issues with company issued Blackberry phones, they might be thrown for a loop when someone calls them for an issue with their iPhone 5S.
The Era of Personal Cloud
A lot of companies have already begun integrating cloud computing into different aspects of their operations. For the most part, they’ve started out small with things like creating backups to Dropbox or collaborating on documents with Google Drive. But Gartner predicts that the cloud will eventually become more important than devices. They call this “The Era of Personal Cloud”.
Obviously, a shift this big will mean increased security measures for cloud computing and advances in the services that are offered. Gartner describes a world where device specs will no longer be as relevant or as significant because all services will be handled on the cloud. Therefore, rather than improving devices, companies will have to improve the capabilities of the cloud.
Gartner also mentions Web-Scale IT as a new trend for 2014. Web-Scale IT is simply a way of describing the way in which cloud services for enterprises is scaled. For the most part, when we think of scaling we think in terms of size. However, with Web-Scale IT “capabilities go beyond scale in terms of sheer size to also include scale as it pertains to speed and agility." In other words, efficiency will start to play a much bigger role in cloud computing.
If Gartner's predictions are correct, companies need to start preparing for significant changes in the way that they operate. Luckily, some changes can be implemented right now such as warming up to BYOD and integrating SaaS into different areas of operation. Some of Gartner's predictions such as Smart Machines might be a little while away, but BYOD and cloud computing are here now.