Top 2013 Strategic Tech Trends
October 24, 2012

Report: Gartner Talks Top 10 Strategic Tech Trends for 2013

Enid Burns for — Your Universe Online

It's a big week for tech. Yesterday Apple introduced the hotly anticipated iPad Mini, and on Friday Microsoft will launch Windows 8 along with a compliment of PCs, tablets and phones running the new operating system. While those products might be the talk of the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, the analyst firm presented the top 10 strategic technology trends it sees happening for 2013.

Gartner defines a strategic technology "as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt," it says in the report.

Trends that made the list include new technologies as well as existing technologies that have matured or grown to cover a wider range of uses. "We have identified the top 10 technologies that will be strategic for most organizations, and that IT leaders should factor into their strategic planning processes over the next two years," said David Cearley, vice president and Gartner fellow. "This does not necessarily mean enterprises should adopt and invest in all of the listed technologies; however companies need to be making deliberate decisions about how they fit with their expected needs in the near future."

Converging forces such as social, mobile, cloud and information are influencing these emerging technologies.

This may be the year that mobile phones overtake PCs as the most common web access device, according to Gartner. The report forecasts that by 2015, over 80 percent of the handsets sold in mature markets will be smartphones. Tablet shipments continue to grow. Microsoft should not expect to build a dominance in the marketplace as roughly only 20 percent of mobile handsets will be operated on Windows. By 2015, manufacturers will ship 50 percent as many tablets as laptops. Gartner estimates that at this point, Windows 8 will be in third place behind Google's Android and Apple iOS operating systems on tablets.

Several trends involve online services, where and how they will be available, and a divergence of services for individuals and enterprises. The personal cloud will make it possible for people to step away from the PC. An online storage bank means that consumers can buy lighter, more agile devices to do their computing, and run services from the cloud. Enterprise app stores will emerge as a location for businesses to buy and sell relevant apps, and cut through the clutter of general app stores. Gartner also points to the Internet of Things (IoT), as "a concept that describes how the internet will expand as physical items such as consumer devices and physical assets are connected to the internet." The report explains that key elements of the IoT are found embedded in mobile devices such as NFC sensors for payments and image recognition technologies.

As businesses try to minimize their output for resources, hybrid IT and cloud computing emerge as a way for companies to provide the resources and computing power employees need to get the job done in a more cost-effective way. While employees are using more cloud-based services, big data is moving from a focus on individual projects to an influence on enterprise strategic information architecture. Data services must adapt to deal with volume, variety, velocity and complexity.

Companies are looking for ways to measure accountability, which calls for actionable analytics. The trend toward measurement helps businesses quantify performance. Gartner also identifies a move toward in-memory computing (IMC), which squeezes hours of long, batch processes into minutes or seconds. The process allows for businesses to improve efficiency and move onto the next project.

Integrated ecosystems rounds out the list of top 10 trends in strategic technology. Integrated ecosystems identifies the market shift to more integrated systems and ecosystems. The move is away from loosely coupled approaches and systems. At the forefront of the trend is the user desire for lower cost, simplicity and more assured security.

Each year Gartner comes out with a list its top 10 strategic technology trends. The analyst firm doesn't recommend adopting all 10 items, but the report is there to help businesses and individuals determine what technologies are rising, and where to adopt one or more.