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

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