Gartner’s 2011 Top Ten Strategic Technologies

Gartner Ten Strategic 2011 Gartner recently held their Symposium/ITxpo, October 17-21, in Orlando.  At that conference, Gartner released their annual list of top 10 Strategic Technologies and trends for 2011 in a presentation delivered by Gartner VPs David Cearley and Carl Claunch

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.  

The summary below provides the list of the ten technologies along with my summary observations about Gartner’s take on technology trend.  The first five on the 2011 list is familiar from last year's list. 

  • Cloud Computing. This trend continues to mature along both private and public delivery models.  In 2011 expect more vendors to focus on providing private services or technologies to create private implementations to address concerns with security and control.
  • Next-Generation Analytics.  Gartner says the next focus for analytics is to combine real-time predictive functionality with collaborative applications.   Future analytics capabilities will bring business intelligence to a much broader set of users and therefore impact a broader set of business processes.
  • Social Communications and Collaboration.  An outgrowth of the ‘Web 2.0’ trend, this technology area includes the use of social software for internal communication and collaboration, customer-facing websites, and public social networking.
  • Mobile Applications and Media Tablets.  This emerging technology will significantly impact both consumer and enterprise computing.  Gartner points out that the launch of the Apple iPad will drive IT departments to evaluate when, where and how tablets should be used in a business context.
  • Storage class memory.   Gartner says that flash memory, becoming popular in consumer devices, will make its way into the enterprise storage hierarchy in servers and client computers.  There are key advantages for IT (space, heat, performance and ruggedness).  Expect this technology to have a significant impact on many analytical and transactional applications.

New to the Gartner list for 2011 are the following 5 technologies.

  • Social Analysis:   Gartner says that social analytics, an intersection of “Next Generation Analytics” and “Social Communications and Collaboration”, is an important emerging trend.   A key development to watch out for will be the ability to harvest intelligence from mobile applications and context aware computing. 
  • Context-Aware Computing:  Systems will increasingly anticipate the user's needs (based on their things like environment and historical behavior patterns), then proactively provide the most appropriate and customized content, product or service.
  • Video:  Gartner says it is time for businesses to develop strategies and goals for using video technologies within business processes.  Video can add new capabilities to business processes and workflow.
  • Fabric-Based Infrastructure and Computing:   Gartner says systems will become more flexible and modular as they evolve to support the dynamic needs of public and private cloud computing.
  • Ubiquitous Computing:   The explosion of sensors, chips, and other low cost computing devices is resulting in smarter objects.   Businesses and IT leaders will need to learn how to incorporate these ever increasing large number of computing devices and their data they provide into business processes and decision making systems.

For more on Gartner's list of 10 strategic technologies

A Primer On Water Management Issues

IBM Water Mgmnt Icon Today is Blog Action day at water.org.  It's a good time to get the word out to everyone on water management issues. Read more about water.org's blog action day at Blog Action Day – Working Together To Solve The Water Crisis.  This post is my contribution to the Blog Action Day.

Most of us reading this post take our access to water for granted.  However, I would imagine that we all realize that water is critical to sustaining life on our planet.  Water makes up 60 to 70% by weight of all living organisms and is essential for photosynthesis.  If the Earth’s water supply vanished, there would be no plants, no animals, and no people. 

While the Earth’s water is not vanishing, many scientists believe that our global water supply is in crisis.  We may or may not be at the crisis stage, but we definitely need to take action to solve our water management issues.

Some Quick Facts About WaterWater Wasted

  • Water covers 75% of the earth's surface.  Nearly 98% of the earth's water is in the oceans.  Fresh water makes up less than 3% of water on earth, over two thirds of this is tied up in polar ice caps and glaciers.  Fresh water lakes and rivers make up only 0.009% of water on Earth and ground water makes up 0.28%.
  • It takes 700 gallons of water to make a cotton T-shirt, 2,000 gallons to make one gallon of milk, and 39,000 gallons to make a car.
  • Global agriculture wastes an estimated 60% of the 2,500 trillion liters it uses each year. 
  • Municipalities lose as much as 50% of their water supply through leaky infrastructure.  
  • More than one trillion gallons of water are wasted in U.S. homes each year from easy-to-fix leaks.
  • 1 in 5 of the word’s population still lacks access to clean, safe drinking water. 
  • The United Nations predicts that nearly half the world’s population will experience critical water shortages by the year 2080.
  • There are nearly 53,000 different water agencies in the United States alone, each managing a short stretch of river or a handful of reservoirs. 
  • In the last 100 years global water usage has increased at twice the rate of population growth.

For those of us living in developed nations, our water infrastructure is many decades old.  In fact, in some places it is centuries old.  As our demand for water is increasing, we need to modernize the existing infrastructure.  One way to do that is to apply information technology.

Today’s water management systems are operating without enough data and insights.   The planet needs new water management systems, based on smart technology that can collect and analyze real-time data.  These new systems will provide water authorities with the insights they need to supply more water to more people with lower energy-use and cost. 

How Can Technology Help?

What is needed are water management systems that can provide real time collection and analysis of all sources of data.  This includes integrating disparate sensor technologies that produce disparate data formats along with other data from an array of partners.  Information technology solutions are needed that can take data that’s coming in fast and turn it into intelligence that augments the ability to improve decision making about water distribution.  These solutions need to connect the folks in the central control room with those working in the field building bridges, dams, dykes to the sensor experts and sophisticated modelers.

  • Technology can monitor, measure and analyze entire water ecosystems, from rivers and reservoirs to the pumps and pipes in our homes.
  • The latest water meters, combined with appropriate Water Management solutions can provide a single, reliable, up-to-the minute and actionable view of water use for a government, a business, or a home.   These ‘smart’ water meters can provide real-time insight into water use, raising awareness, locating inefficiencies and decreasing demand.
  • Advanced sensors can help us collect all sorts of new data on water usage.  For example, sensors on levees can monitor changing flood conditions and respond accordingly.  Sensor based systems can provide the agriculture industry with detailed information on air quality, soil moisture content and temperature to calculate optimal irrigation schedules.
  • Advanced computing, analytics, and simulations can help us all move beyond “real time” to prediction, supporting better-informed policy and management decisions.
  • Technology can also be applied to our oceans to gather data on water temperature, currents, wave strength, salinity and marine life, and applying algorithms that can forecast everything from wave patterns over 24 hours to the right time to harvest mussels.

IBM Water Management Solution Areas

IBM is taking a leadership role among technology vendors in researching, piloting and developing a whole suite of water management solutions.  Taking a look at what IBM is doing can help us see the areas where technology can be applied to solve water management issues

  • Natural Water Resources – Provides sensor data integration, analysis and visualization to enable the measurement, modeling and management of water levels, usage and quality in natural water resources.
  • Water Utilities – Enables water providers to make rapid decisions regarding business processes and operational efficiency to maximize their return on investments as well as foresee and quickly respond to contamination issues and emergencies.
  • Water Infrastructure – Provides sensing systems for managing water infrastructure, such as levee oversight management and flood control.
  • Water Metering – Improves management of water supply and demand by integrating data between the dozens of stakeholders involved. Provides all stakeholders with consistent, real-time information to help them work together to make critical decisions about water supply in a geographic region.
  • Green Sigma for Water™ – is a business consulting service that identifies where water is being used, measures and monitors usage, and creates process improvements to reduce water use. IBM pilots have achieved reductions in water usage of 30%.
  • SmartBay Sensor System – Monitors wave conditions, marine life and pollution levels.  Provide real-time information to stakeholders in the Irish maritime economy, runs on a cloud computing platform, and is able to predict water conditions critical to those stakeholders.

Innovative Water Management Vendors

The Artemis Project held its second annual Artemis Project Top 50 Water Companies Competition during the spring of 2010.   These vendors are all coming up with some very innovative and creative solutions to Water Management issues.  Check out the winners:  A list of the 50 is here.   View a poster show of this year’s winners here.

What Is Needed

More work is needed as we transform the water infrastructure to digital technology:

  • Continue to Build Awareness for Water Issues.  Many in leadership positions are not aware of the critical need for water management information technology solutions.
  • Continue Market Testing & Solutions Platform Development.  Technology vendors need to continue to build assets and test solution platforms.  Stronger linkages are needed across the growing ecosystem.
  • Continue to Build Thought Leadership Deliverables.  Tech vendors need to develop content highlighting case studies, references, demonstrations, and white papers.

For More Information

There is a bunch of more reading material available.  Here some links…

Gartner: Top Technology Trends You Can’t Afford To Ignore

Successful business leaders do a good job of understanding and preparing for the potential futures.  They take time to figure out what the potential disruptive trends are today…and what trends will cause disruption in the future.   They understand not only those disruptive trends that will impact their business, but those that will disrupt their customers businesses as well.

Gartner - Tech Trends You Cant Ignore Gartner regularly holds a webinar about every 2-3 months entitled “Top Technology Trends You Can’t Afford To Ignore”.     During these hour long webinars, Gartner presents it’s most current list of the top ten technologies.   The list changes from year to year ever so slightly, so when Gartner held one of these webinars last month, I attended.

To make this top ten technology trend list, Gartner says the technology has to be disruptive in nature.  Gartner defines a disruptive technology as one which drives major change in business processes or revenue streams, consumer behavior or spending, or IT industry dynamics.  These trends have the potential to significantly alter the competitive environment in an industry.

During the webinar I attended,  Raymond Paquet, Managing Vice President at Gartner,  1) defined the trend, 2) described the impact the technology has on business and IT, and 2) provided recommendations on how leaders should begin using the technology.

Here’s the list of Top Technology Trends You Can’t Ignore from the recent Gartner webinar of the same name.

  1. Virtualization – This trend, which used to be focused just on servers, is maturing across all elements of an information technology infrastructure.
  2. Data Deluge – The explosion of unstructured data is causing the emergence of a whole set of new emerging technologies designed to manage all data inputs and make sense out of the chaos.
  3. Energy and Green IT – There’s an increasing awareness on energy efficiency measurements.
  4. Complex Resource Tracking – Monitoring energy consumption so that you can dynamically move workloads to save energy.
  5. Consumerization and Social Software – Gartner says this trend is impacting business in a great way and business leaders need to incorporate social computing across their business.
  6. Unified Communications – Tightly integrating all forms of communications into all business applications and organizational processes.
  7. Mobile and Wireless – The explosion of mobile smart devices is leading to an explosion of mobile applications, causing a whole new set of requirements on the infrastructure. 
  8. System Density – Blades are evolving into componentized, data-center-in-a-chassis solutions and therefore the trend is towards high density application of blades resulting in maximum use of floor space.
  9. Mashups and Portals – Lots of creativity going on here with focus being placed on both visualization integration and content integration into a personalized, customized portal.
  10. Cloud Computing – Gartner says cloud technology is an important one for businesses to implement.  Private clouds will dominate and will allow businesses to improve agility.  Leaders should ignore the hype and focus on results.

For more information, you can access the replay of the webinar I attended:   Technology Trends You Can't Afford to Ignore (website registration may be required).  You can also access the full library of Gartner webinars (upcoming and replay archives) at the following URL  http://my.gartner.com/portal/server.pt?objID=202&open=512&mode=2&PageID=3428358  (website registration may be required). 

CEO Survey: Trends in Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Penske - 2010 3PL CEO Survey Last week, Penske Logistics  and Northeastern University’s College of Business Administration jointly released the 17th Annual Survey of Third-Party Logistics Providers at the annual conference of Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP).   The conference was attended by over 3,100 supply chain professionals from 41 countries.

The survey of 31 CEOs from leading third-party logistic providers provides a view into important trends and issues within the Supply Chain Management industry.  The surveyed companies represent important players in the supply chain market ecosystem within North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. 

I took a look at the report and here are my key takeaways:

  • Revenue Outlook is Improving.   25 of the 31 CEOs surveyed reported their companies were profitable during 2010.  Three reported they broke even and another three reported their companies were unprofitable.  The CEOs in all three regions were considerably more bullish about future revenue growth prospects of not only their companies, but also the regional 3PL industry that the previous year’s survey findings.
  • Progress Being Made In Sustainability.  While there is still much more work to be done with regard to sustainability, there seems to be some progress.  Fourteen of the 31 companies reported that they began new green initiatives during the past 12 months and all but 6 of the companies now have formal sustainability groups within their companies.
  • Near-Shoring As A Trend.   27 of the 31 CEOs report that manufacturing customers have begun to move toward “near-shoring” options during the past year.  Drives of this trend include quality control issues and a desire to reduce fuel usage (both for cost reasons and to help curtail carbon emissions)
  • Focus on Risk Management.  The report findings indicate CEOs have been busy implementing new business practices related to risk management/risk sharing; business continuity planning; performance based contracts; and enhanced vendor qualifications.   Pressure on 3PLs to share risk with their clients has increased, with 28 of the 31 CEOs reporting that their companies now have performance-based contracts with many of their clients.
  • Opportunities for Growth.  CEOs in all three regions ranked the overall growth of the market for outsourcing services as the most important opportunity.   Other opportunities include differentiating on sustainability capabilities and opportunities related to expansion of service offerings.

The full report is available for download at http://www.penskelogistics.com/pdfs/2010_Lieb_Exec_Sum.pdf