When it comes to assessing trends and analyzing the state of the IT industry, Gartner is something of an authority. Their extensive in the industry gives their assessment high credibility, and when they identify major IT trends they’re just about always right on the money.
So when David Cappuccio, managing vice president and chief of research for the Infrastructure teams with Gartner, gives a keynote speech at the Gartner Symposium IT/Expo, we would do well to note what he says. And what he said was that there are some major trends in the IT industry in the way of virtualization, social media, and efficiency-minded business.
Cappuccio break these into 10 trends, but looking at them we see a lot of overlapping principles and unifying ideas, so we’ll summarize a bit.
Efficiency is the engine that drives all these trends – efficiency in resource utilization and monitoring. Every trend he discusses is for the express or implicit purpose of greater efficiency. And much of the opportunity for increased efficiency in the industry right now comes in the form of virtualization and cloud.
Virtualization, according to Cappuccio, will prove a catalyst to more companies treating IT like a business, and that means find the best balance between value and productivity. This trend has a lot of correlation to three other trends he notes: energy efficiency, compute per square foot, and cloud computing. Virtualization offers potentially large benefits in electricity use and floor space, while cloud computing offers greater flexibility and less need for costly, customized web solutions for relatively simple applications. This will also come with a greater emphasis on inventorying and monitoring computer resources and their power usage.
A different sort of utilizing resources efficiently is finding and retaining the right staff members. Needless to say, we’re in agreement with the importance of that one. In an economic situation where changing jobs yearly is common, employee retention is critical to stability and productivity.
Big data, patterns, and analytics are another means to the same end – efficiency and productivity. Unstructured data is on the rise and it’s showing no signs of slowing, and it will be up to emerging technologies to allow IT companies to continue to improve utilization this kind of data.
And finally, there’s social networking. Cappuccio correctly notes that the true impact of social networking is the power and immediacy of communication it gives to the collective – the industry made up of individuals and organizations. On a platform where an individual has the same power of voice as does a large organization, a whole new dynamic of communicating with clients, customers, and peers is introduced. To be on top of social networking is to be plugged in to the beat of the industry.