Ten Popular IBM Smart Service Oriented Architecture SOA Articles

IBM SOA Newletter - July I’m on a distribution list for the IBM Smart SOA and BPM Newsletter, which is a great newsletter (it received a 2009 Hermes Award in the e-newsletter category). 

The June 26, 2010 newsletter had a number of interesting articles, including:

  • How agile companies create and sustain high ROI
  • Connect cloud and on-premise applications
  • Resources for smarter banking

However, the one article that caught my eye was an article titled “Top IBM Smart SOA articles”.  I’ve been interested in Business Process Re-Engineering topics since leading a early-mid 1990’s IBM team on a journey to rewrite and deploy new marketing management processes.  That was a multi-year effort that spanned every division and geography in IBM.  I learned a bunch from that experience about how to architect a business for marketing management processes.

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a great tool that we did not have in the mid 1990’s.  SOA promises to create greater alignment between IT and line of business while generating more flexibility – IT flexibility to support greater business flexibility.   We all know that the explosion of the Internet is creating new business models and this is causing business processes to change faster and faster.  To be competitive, businesses requires the flexibility that SOA can provide. 

The article “Top IBM Smart SOA articles” provides a nice list of the most popular articles (as downloaded by readers).  The list covers a wide range of topics related to SOA and the articles are great reading for any business or IT leader that is passionate about improving business processes.  I’ve summarized the list here for you.

  1. Managing the complexity of business processes  This article discusses an approach to controlling the development and maintenance efforts for business processes by limiting their complexity.
  2. SOA and integration in the cloud bring agility and value down to earth.  Leveraging a cloud-based integration solution delivered as a service provides an easily scalable approach to business integration.
  3. Make a BPM business case and learn 11 habits for success
    Links to two new white papers that help you make a case for BPM and understand how to be successful.
  4. Getting started with BPM: Find the best entry point
    In this article, IBM describes three common entry points to BPM, helping you understand how to get started with BPM.
  5. Advanced case management and BPM: Better together
    This article describes two concepts and how they relate to each other 1) the value that business process management (BPM) brings to the knowledge worker, and 2) the value of the additional technology components behind advanced case management (ACM)
  6. Ideas for innovation from the Smart Work Jam
    This article provides an overview of the highlights and insights as harvested from the Smart Work Jam, where for 72 hours, more than 2,000 participants from 68 countries "jammed" with nearly 5,000 posts across seven topics around the topic of working smarter.
  7. Outperforming companies share new way of working
    This article summarizes findings from an IBM Institute for Business Value study called "A New Way of Working: Insights from Global Leaders."   The study was designed to find out what makes leaders more dynamic, collaborative and connected; and the common barriers that prevent them from working smarter.
  8. Making SOA governance fit your organization
    This article helps you tailor Service Oriented Architecture governance to your organization, with tips from a book by IBM authors, based on their experiences with customers. 
  9. How SOA can ease your move to cloud computing
    This article helps those of you wanting to get started with cloud computing.  It describes how taking time to set up your SOA environment can give you an important jump start on cloud computing.
  10. Serious games for smarter skills: The future of learning
    Gaming is only for play time.  this article describes how gaming technology can play a role in helping us improve business processes.

So if you are thinking your business processes need some re-engineering, I’d recommend taking a look at applying Service Oriented Architecture methodologies upfront.  SOA can provide your company with an architectural model for integrating business partners’, customers’ and suppliers’ services into an enterprise’s business processes.

You can access the online issue of the whole newsletter, IBM Smart SOA & BPM Newsletter – Vol. 43.  You can also access all back level issues of the newsletter via http://www-931.ibm.com/bin/newsletter/tool/parchive.cgi?nlId=10481 where you can also set up a subscription for yourself so you get the newsletter emailed directly to you every month.

My Thoughts on the Cloud Computing Trend

Last month I posted "IBM Cloud Computing White Papers".  In that post I provide summaries and links to a number of white papers IBM has posted on the Cloud Computing topic. 

SWSC16 As I mention in that post, I did a bunch of research on the topic of Cloud Computing back in late 2007 and 2008.  The post last month gave me the opportunity to reflect on the cloud computing trend.  In 2008 it was an emerging buzzword in the IT industry.  Today, 2 years later, the concept is a little more defined and the hype has died down a bit. 

Yes, there is more that needs to happen before the true potential of cloud computing becomes a reality, but there is no question that we all need to pay attention to the vision of cloud computing…because cloud computing (or whatever it ends up being called) is the future of the IT industry. 

Why you ask?  There are a number of reasons.  But primary in my mind is that it offers businesses the promise of business agility.   Agility enables the business to respond quickly to customer requests for new products and services.  It also allows businesses to partner more quickly to reach new markets faster.  And it also allows businesses to quickly change in the face of competition.  Here are some basic reasons why the cloud computing concept will take off.

  • Economics: Clouds will require a very small up front investment.  Usage will be be billed by consumption.  The resulting reduction in Total Cost of Ownership will allow businesses to pursue improvements in operational efficiency and productivity.
  • Risk Management:  In some cases, there will be no fixed time commitment.  This will allow businesses to try many new services faster.  This reduces big failure risks and allows clients to be innovative.
  • Time to Market:  Businesses will be able to adopt new services quickly for pilot usages and then scale quickly to a global scale.
  • Information Society:  Cloud computing will provide business executives value-added information generated by the collection and analysis of massive amounts of unstructured data.
  • Ubiquitous Society:  The cloud treats all devices the same making the cloud accessible via a heterogeneous set of devices (sensors, kiosks, PC, mobile device, telematics..)

In today's fast world, new competitors, with innovative business models (e.g. Google, Amazon, etc.), seem to be able to rapidly change their business.  To match these types of competitors, businesses must have a business architecture and an IT infrastructure that is flexible enough to respond quickly to all opportunities and threats.  The emerging cloud computing concept enables businesses to become more agile because it offers the ability to get to market quickly, and with a lower capital expense.  It also assures that as demand increases, resources can be added incrementally, without the need for major architecture changes.

From an IT standpoint, business agility implies the ability to rapidly build and configure tailored solutions which span internal and external systems.  Cloud computing can enable the development of applications in real-time and then also enables them to be quickly deployed globally to any device from sensors to mobile device to PCs.  Once developed, Line of Business executives need those applications to execute in real-time, scaling to meet the needs of the business.   Follow on generations of applications must be able to handle increasingly higher amounts of data as the user base grows.  Once running, applications in the cloud offer non stop operation.  Users aren't burdened by HW and SW upgrades.  

In the future, there will be all sorts of new types of services enabled because of computing clouds.  Services we can''t even imagine right now.  The fact is that the more applications and services that are deployed in the cloud, the more opportunities there are to leverage services provided by others in the same or other clouds.

The biggest 'hurdles' to realizing the vision of cloud computing is security, privacy, & risk Management issues.  These issues can be HUGE to overcome.  The security issues will be very complex to solve and a number of the white papers I summarized in the post "IBM Cloud Computing White Papers" discuss those security issues.

I do believe that we will solve the 'hurdles' and businesses will learn to trust running our systems in the 'clouds'.   Remember the initial fear you had of buying things online with your credit card?  I bet you do that now with much less fear.  Perhaps you don't even think about it.

Anyway, Cloud Computing is a disruptive force in the Information Technology industry and it is one of the trends I will continue to watch closely.

Saugatuck’s Latest Report on SaaS

image Saugatuck has released a new report “An Endless Cycle of Innovation: Saugatuck SaaS Scenarios Through 2014”.  This is the result of the fourth annual research program into SaaS by Saugatuck, which says that Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a disruptive trend that is changing the fundamentals of business for both the user companies and for SaaS providers themselves.  

According to Saugatuck, the disruption apparently happens as part of a “multi-year “loop” cycle that reciprocates between users and providers, with each side influencing the other in unforeseen ways”.    Saugatuck says that many companies end up mismanaging SaaS implementations and this prevents those companies from being able to derive real competitive advantage from SaaS.   Likewise, many SaaS providers are not taking advantage of the global market for their solutions because they are tied into these ‘multi-year loops’.

The report released by Saugatuck attempts to understand how users, providers and ISVs interact during these multi-year loops through exploring a number of different scenarios. 

Here are some interesting highlights from the research that were provided via the press release

    • Despite impressive investments in SaaS development and adoption in different parts of the world, SaaS (and Cloud Computing) will not become the primary IT standard and practice by YE 2012.  SaaS will instead be primarily an important “agent of change” through this time period.  By YE 2014, however, SaaS (and Cloud Computing) will become integral to infrastructure, business systems, operations and development within all aspects of user firms, with variations in status and roles based on region and business culture.
    • Many traditional ISVs will be paralyzed by “strategic uncertainty” regarding SaaS and other software business models through YE 2012, opening more doors for more SaaS providers.  At the same time, the global economic situation will severely thin the ranks of existing, early-stage SaaS start-ups (especially those that are not cash-flow positive).
    • While few users will “swap out” existing core legacy applications and systems with SaaS solutions through YE 2012 – except in highly commoditized market and customer segments – SaaS solutions will become the de facto choice for the majority of user organizations that are replacing legacy applications or business systems as they reach the end of their useful lives, or when driven by other important business considerations (e.g., M&A activity).

There’s no question that SaaS is undergoing a fundamental shift in how software is acquired, used and paid for.  It is a very disruptive trend that will certainly continue, especially as the shift towards cloud computing.

This report is based off a web survey including 1,788 qualified user enterprise executives; interviews with 30 user enterprise executives with SaaS experience; and briefings with 25 SaaS vendors/providers.

The report is now available for purchase and downloading via Saugatuck’s web site.

Gartner’s Latest List of Disruptive Technologies

Every Wednesday, Gartner does a free webinar on a variety of topics.  Earlier this month, they had a presentation titled "Technology Trends You Can't Afford to Ignore."   I attended the webinar and took some notes.

The webinar provided attendees with Gartner’s latest list of disruptive technologies.  According to Gartner, a disruptive technology is one which drives major change in business processes or revenue streams, consumer behavior or spending, or IT industry dynamics.  It’s important that companies have processes in place to identify the disruptive technologies that will impact their business and develop plans to address these disruptions. 

Gartner regularly publishes disruptive technology lists.  Back in October 2007, I posted Gartner:  Five Disruptive Trends, which was a summary of their current list at that time, which included the following five trends:

  1. Web2.0
  2. Software as a Service
  3. Global-class computing
  4. The Consumerization of IT
  5. Open-Source Software

You can read my October 2007 post Gartner:  Five Disruptive Trends for more on that Gartner list.

So I was interested attending the webinar and seeing what was on Gartner’s list this time.  Here is a summary of Gartner’s July 2009 list of the top 10 technologies that will drive significant disruption over the next five years.

  1. Virtualization.   Virtualization helps reduce the number of servers used, decreasing power consumption.
  2. Data Deluge.  According to Gartner, the amount of data produced around the world will grow by 650% over the next few years, and 80% of it will be unstructured.
  3. Energy & Green IT.   We need to come up with regulations for technology and power consumption. 
  4. Consumerization & Social Software.  Consumerization, Social media, social computing, and social networking will change the way we work.   See my April 16, 2009 post on The Consumerization of IT  or my March 12, 2009 post Social Computing as a Disruptive Force for more on this trend.
  5. Unified Communications.    Unifying communications will allow users to route communications to their preferred device and change that device preference whenever they need to.  
  6. Mobile  Mobile devices 10 years ago were just phones.  Today, they are little computers. Tomorrow, it may be the primary device employees use to get their work done.  
  7. Complex Resource Tracking  This is all about the need to manage our networks more efficiently
  8. System Density.   We are going to need more and more servers.  That's going to increase power and cooling requirements, even as the price of the hardware continues to drop.
  9. Mashups and Enterprise Portals.  Employees will increasingly need and demand new ways to see information. 
  10. Cloud Computing. Cloud-computing can certainly save you a lot of time and money, but it will cost a lot of time to make the switch to the cloud happen.  I spent a bunch of time researching cloud computing.  For more information, see this post, which also contains links to other cloud computing posts I have done.

A quick comparison of the 2007 list with the list today, we see that Consumerization of IT/Social Software made both lists.  And we also see that Saas/Cloud Computing made both lists.   Both these trends are important disruptive trends, for sure.

For more information, or to download the replay and a pdf of the presentation, go to this Gartner website: Webinar Wednesday Series: Technology Trends You Can't Afford to Ignore

Cloud Computing: What is it?

Cloud computing is an emerging buzzword in the IT industry.  An October 28, 2008 search on Google for the phrase “Cloud Computing” returned 19,300,000 hits.   So you can see there is ample hype on this topic.  The concept is not really all that new, but it is getting lots of play right now in the media.  And rightly so…because cloud computing (or whatever it ends up being called) is the future of IT.  

There has been much debate in our industry and in the media about what Cloud Computing really is.  Thousands of articles and blogs can be found on the web where authors have attempted to define what cloud computing is.  As a result, there is much confusion as to what cloud computing really is.  Every author ends up with a definition that benefits their offerings, their magazine, their blog, or in some cases, their analyst research report.  

When you evaluate all the definitions and listen to what CIOs are looking for out of their IT systems in the future, some common characteristics surface.  From all the research I've conducted, the best definition I can come up with is that entry level cloud computing is specified as a elastically scalable, virtualized system that is rapidly provisioned with flexible pricing models.  Lets look at these characteristics in a little more detail.
1. Flexible pricing:  Utility pricing, variable payments, pay-by-consumption and subscription models make pricing of IT services more flexible
2. Elastic scaling:  Resources scale up and down by large factors as the demand changes
3. Rapid provisioning:  IT and network capacity and capabilities are – ideally automatically – rapidly provisioned using Internet standards without transferring ownership of resources
4. Advanced virtualization:  IT resources from servers to storage, network and applications are pooled and virtualized to provide an implementation independent, efficient infrastructure

One other key characteristic about cloud computing that is very important.  The complexity of the systems behind the service is hidden from the end user.  The cloud service worries about delivering the resources needed to support the service.  What the user sees is a service that they need at the time they need it.  And that service should be simple.  Users don't need to worry about all the complexity that is required to deliver the IT service to them.  

Cloud computing is already a force for basic consumer applications.  An example is Google Maps.  Think of it.  When you go to Google Maps, you don't care about the IT complexity behind the scenes.  You don't have to worry about servers, software, or storage.  You are immediately immersed into the map itself.  And what a simple service it is to understand.   Add in all the capability to search for points of interest, drag, zoom in/out, and you have a very simple, yet powerful application that can be used by one person this hour, or scale up to handle a million users the next hour.

Cloud computing will move beyond the current consumer focus into the enterprise market.   Clouds will eventually enable hundreds of devices – cell phones, cars, or sensors in clothing, for example – to be the de facto interface to on-line resources and services.  Technologies supporting cloud – virtualization, automation, open standards, scalable storage and web-based computing – will allow corporate data centers to act with the efficiency of the Internet and at Web speed – faster, more nimble, and with flexibility.  And, it is a green technology model that reduces energy consumption by improving IT resource utilization, therefore requiring fewer servers to handle equivalent workloads.  

A key reason is that enterprises will adopt cloud computing is that it offers the promise of business agility.   Agility enables the business to respond quickly to customer requests for new products and services.  It also allows businesses to partner more quickly to reach new markets faster.  And it also allows businesses to quickly change in the face of competition.  

In today's fast world, new competitors, with innovative business models (e.g.  Google, Amazon, etc.), seem to be able to rapidly change their business.  To match these types of competitors, businesses must have business architecture and an IT infrastructure that is flexible enough to respond quickly to all opportunities and threats.  The emerging cloud computing concept enables businesses to become more agile because it offers the ability to get to market quickly, and with a lower capital expense.  It also assures that as demand increases, resources can be added incrementally, without the need for major architecture changes.

From an IT standpoint, business agility implies the ability to rapidly build and configure tailored solutions which span internal and external systems.  Cloud computing can enable the development of applications in real-time and then also enables them to be quickly deployed globally to any device from sensors to mobile device to PCs.  Once developed, Line of Business executives need those applications to execute in real-time, scaling to meet the needs of the business.   Follow on generations of applications must be able to handle increasingly higher amounts of data as the user base grows.  Once running, applications in the cloud offer non stop operation.  Users aren't burdened by hardware and Software upgrades.  

In the future, there will be all sorts of new types of services enabled because of computing clouds.  Services we can't even imagine right now.  The fact is that the more applications and services that are deployed in the cloud, the more opportunities there are to leverage services provided by others in the same or other clouds.

In future posts, we'll explore cloud computing in more detail, including the potential benefits of cloud computing as well as some of the adoption barriers.  

For more information on cloud computing, here are a couple links…
Economist Special Report on Cloud Computing, October 28, 2008:  http://www.economist.com/specialreports/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12411882
IBM's chairman emeritus for the Academy of Technology, Irving Wladawsky-Berger talks about what cloud computing really is and why it's so vital today.  http://www.internetevolution.com/document.asp?doc_id=163365
Business Week August 2008 Special report on Cloud Computing:  http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2008/tc2008082_445669.htm
Wikipedia article on Cloud Computing  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing

HorizonWatch: Top IT Technology Trends To Watch In 2008

Horizon pic earthviewYesterday, I posted a list of important General Trends impacting the IT industry in 2008.  Today’s post contains a list of important IT Technology Trends for 2008 as developed by the HorizonWatch team I am on.  These represent IT industry related technology trends that we feel are significant to warrant increased attention during the 2008 calendar year.  We will be watching these from our role in HorizonWatch and thought you would be interested in seeing them. 

Top Technology Trends Impacting The IT Industry

1.  Green Data Center:  This trend is all about helping companies reduce thei overall power consumption of IT systems.  In addition, the increased use of IT for business processes, the consolidation of workloads and increasing availability of bandwidth have driven the size of data centers and driven the power density in these data centers exponentially.  There is an emerging market need to design, construct and manage new data centers with higher energy efficiencies as well as improve the energy efficiency of existing data centers.  From the CIO’s perspective, they might not see it as a ‘Green Initiative’…they just know they need to optimize space, power, cooling and resiliency while improving operational management and reducing costs.

2.  Virtualization 2.0:  Virtualization technologies can improve IT resource utilization and increase the flexibility needed to adapt to changing requirements and workloads.  The next phase in virtualization technologies will be efforts that enable broader improvements in infrastructure cost reduction, flexibility and resiliency.  Virtualization is a technique for hiding the physical characteristics of computing resources from the way in which other systems, applications, or end-users interact with those resources. This includes making a single physical resource (such as a server, an operating system, an application, or storage device) appear to function as multiple logical resources; or it can include making multiple physical resources (such as storage devices or servers) appear as a single logical resource.

3.  Cloud Computing:  Cloud computing is an emerging approach to shared infrastructure in which large pools of systems are linked together to provide IT services.  The need for such environments is fueled by dramatic growth in connected devices, real-time data streams, and the adoption of service oriented architectures and Web 2.0 applications, such as mashups, open collaboration, social networking and mobile commerce.  Continuing advances in the performance of digital components has resulted in a massive increase in the scale of IT environments, driving the need to manage them as a unified cloud.  Cloud computing refers in general to software applications that are delivered over the Internet.  With cloud computing, organizations, such as companies or government agencies, can have access to massive amounts of computing power without having to expand their own data centers. In essence, computing is offered in the same way a utility offers water or electricity – on demand.  Examples of cloud computing range from Google’s Web services for consumers to Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud for businesses. 

4.  Software as a Service: Software as a service (SaaS) is a software application delivery model where a software vendor develops a web-native software application and hosts and operates (either independently or through a third-party) the application for use by its customers over the Internet. Customers do not pay for owning the software itself but rather for using it. They use the software through an API accessible over the Web and often written using Web Services or REST. The term SaaS has become the industry preferred term, generally replacing the earlier terms Application Service Provider (ASP) and On-Demand.

5.  Enterprise Web2.0 Mashups:  An enterprise mashup typically adds collaborative functionality, making the end result suitable for use as a business application.  Web “mashups” will drive many activities here. that combine data from more than one source into one integrated tool will be the dominant model for the creation of composite enterprise applications and will peak around 2012.  Mashup technologies will evolve significantly over the next five years, and application leaders must take this evolution into account when evaluating the impact of mashups and in formulating an enterprise mashup strategy.

6.  Information Management:  Information management is the collection and management of information from one or more sources and the distribution of that information to one or more audiences.  Information Management is a critical part of a company’s information infrastructure.  It enables optimization, abstraction and semantic reconciliation of metadata to support reuse, consistency, integrity and shareability.  One of the implications of this trend is that advanced analytics, rules/optimization engines, BPM, and information infrastructure will increasingly converge.

7.  Semantic Web:  The semantic movement is all about making it easy for software agents to find, share and integrate information more easily.  This is a complex job as there there has been a huge increase in non-structured data (blogs, wikis, videos, podcasts, and other web 2.0 tools).  As the semantic web takes hold, search engines will become more effective than they are now, and users can find the precise information they are hunting.  This could have a huge impact as mobile search begins to take off.

8.  SOA:  There’s been a lot of hype and buzz around SOA and it is all justified.  Companies are moving toward SOA to increase flexibility & agility by organizing business tasks as a set of reusable services or elements.  Increasingly business design requirements demand applications and technology silos be integrated with each other and SOA is a tool that helps IT achieve this required result.  Using SOA, IT applications that support business processes are restructured into reusable building blocks or ‘services’, which can be combined, configured, and reused to rapidly meet changing business needs in innovative, cost-effective ways.  

9.  The Security Imperative:  Security has shifted from technology discussion to a business imperative and has become a boardroom topic as the costs of ignoring it have become too apparent.   Being responsible for protecting people, property, and/or information is a formidable challenge that seems to change with the blink of an eye.  There are many threats that businesses and governments have to consider, including identity fraud, cyber attacks, suicide bombers. natural disasters. and pandemic threats.  Staying on top of the latest Security issues, strategies, and technologies is essential in preventing or mitigating emerging threats and in enhancing security for any organization.  Some of the emerging trends in 2008 will be a shift towards appliances, the emergence of multi-function security appliances, embedded security
, and advanced biometric solutions. 

10.  Emerging Country Provisioning Platform:  Provisioning configures required systems, provides users with access to data and technology resources, and refers to all enterprise-level information resource management involved (server, services, user, mobile subscriber, & mobile content).  There are a number of emerging economies that are making the leap to the Internet Age.  The Internet, along with mobile devices, can serve as a platform for citizens to access basic services, such as banking, healthcare and insurance.   There is a window of opportunity to establish a provisioning platform within these emerging economies. 

11.  Embedded Data Intelligence:  In the past 5 years businesses have been buying and installing all sorts of Networked Devices, including sensors, actuators, and controllers.  These devices are designed to deliver new data & act upon insights.   Clients are increasingly interested in to using these networked devices to help them establish a sense and respond framework that integrates both operational and business information to achieve the benefits of the real-time enterprise.   Embedded Data Intelligence solutions are designed to analyze the data collected from sensor networks that are monitoring physical objects and environments. By extracting useful events and insights from this data, organizations can now respond to new opportunities and threats and use this information to unleash new found business value and create innovative business models.

12.  Unified Communications:  The whole objective here is to move towards an integrated, single environment that offers the user a more complete and simpler experience. Gone are the days when voice and paper drove business communications.  Today, there are many tools that drive business communications and decisions.  So expect in 2008 that the march toward digital convergence and unified communications will pick up steam.  In the business enterprise, IP telephony has reached about 25 percent of the global market, with most organizations testing the waters for wider deployment.  The movement of Microsoft and others into this space will enhance its uptake.

13.  Speech Technology:  In 2008 advanced speech recognition and translation technology will continue to find its way into more applications, both enterprise and consumer.  Two areas to watch are

  • Real Time Language Translation…Moving to an on demand environment for the translation of the spoken and written word, including Speech to Speech, Speech to Text, and Text to Speech, and
  • Contact Center…Reducing labor costs by integrating speech technology into the Contact Center of the Future.

14.  Surface Computing:  A surface computer is a computer that interacts with the user through the surface of an ordinary object, rather than through a monitor and keyboard.  The category was created by Microsoft with Surface (codenamed Milan), the surface computer from Microsoft which was based entirely on a Multi-Touch interface and using a coffee-table like design, and was unveiled on 30 May 2007.  Users can interact with the machine by touching or dragging their fingertips and objects such as paintbrushes across the screen, or by setting real-world items tagged with special bar-code labels on top of it.  Watch for continued buzz around surface computing in 2008. 

As always…if you have any feedback or comments on this post, please let us know below…or via email if you wish.  Thanks!

Gartner: Five Major Disruptive Trends

Gartner recently announced here they are tracking five major trends that they believe will force IT organizations to change the way they procure and manage Information Technology. 

The five major trends and Gartners description of them are as follows:

  • Web 2.0 – "Web 2.0 communities are bonding people in ways many people do not fully understand.  Community members are doing business in ways that most enterprises had never even considered as they laid out their communications strategies." 
  • Software as a service (SaaS)"SaaS is already empowering business units to act independently of corporate IT strategies."
  • Global-class computing"Global-class systems, built on tera-architectures (as in Google Apps), threaten to upset the careful balance of power between IBM and Microsoft in messaging, and more importantly, they introduce entirely new ways to implement and scale applications."
  • The Consumerization of IT"Consumerisation and users’ clamour for IT organisations to be as responsive as internet vendors are giving many IT departments headaches." 
  • Open-source software"Open source is a hidden "secret" that enables many elements of the other four discontinuities to develop."

Nothing really earth shattering here, but it is important to think about each one individually and the impact they have on IT departments.

Gartner analysts discussed these disruptive trends during their Orlando version of their Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2007, which took place October 7-12, 2007.  They are also apparently planning on focusing on these trends during the next version of their symposium, which takes place 4-8 November in Cannes, France.  You can read up more about this symposium series here.

So this press release/announcement was, in part, an advertisement for people to attend the conference.  However, each of the trends do have merit and we are, of course, already seeing these trends today.   And when you consider the combination of all of the trends happening together, you can make a very good case that IT managers who oversee applications will have their work cut out for themselves as they develop short and long term plans.

For more information, you can read the press release regarding the above major trends.