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Gartner's Top 10 Trends for CIOs

Anthony Caruana

Gartner VP Analyst Michele C. Caminos presented at Gartner Symposium and summarised the top 10 trends CIOs need to be watching. While some are obvious, there's no doubt that senior IT managers will be facing many signficant challenges over the next few years

1. Virtualisation

OK, so virutalisation in the data centre isn't new but the move towards widespread, ubiquitous desktop virtualisation is a trend to watch. IT is being transformed from many disparate physical systems into one huge logical system. We all know that virtualisation provides us with new levels of flexibility and the ability to increase capacity quickly. However, the diversity of end use devices means that the client experience needs to be virtualised so that it can be delivered to a broader variety of clients.

2. Patterns and analytics

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The amount of data we hold is expected to grow by 800% over the next five years with 80% of that data being unstructured. The ability to look at those huge volumes of data and make meaning from them will require us to build and deploy better analytical tools for more and more people. The days of the management data kiosk are dying with data analytics coming to everyone.

3. Energy efficiency and monitoring

Social responsibility will, if it hasn't already, become a significant issue for the next generation of IT managers. As we use more processing and storage we need more energy. It may be that the best way to deliver ROI on your next infrastructure refit will be to start over with more energy efficient systems rather than trying to squeeze out incremental improvements. While that looks daunting, the ability to save significant amounts on energy may deliver payback faster than a normal replacement program.

4. Context aware applications 

The people who work in your business have unprecedented access to information from more different sources than could have been imagined 20 years ago. And the pool of available data is not getting any smaller. Your staff and colleagues will expect systems that know where they are, what device they're using and what they want to do. That means getting smarter about how apps are developed and delivered.

5. Staff retention

The exit of baby-boomers from the employment pool will result in a huge loss of knowledge and experience. Compounding this is that the next generation of workers are more dedicated to their career than organisations. As a result, there's a lot of job mobility. In the past staff stayed in a jobs for much longer building greater knowledge depth whereas the next generation are getting a far broader business education. This presents new challenges but enormous potential benefits.

6. Social networks

Facebook is not an IT problem; it's a management issue. Blocking access to social tools like Facebook will make your company less attractive to new staff. But it will also separate you from your customers. Your customers will expect social media tools to be a routine point of contact for the business. Although this isn't directly within the CIO's purview, the CIO can work with other executives and highlight the potential benefits.

7. Consumerisation and the tablet

Why do people like using the iPad? Because it's nice to use. Staff will either request the IT department to supply tablets or provide support for personal devices being brought into the business. IT management will need to get its security policies and processes up to date in order to accommodate this growing trend.

8. Compute and Data Centre Density

The number of processor cores available in modern systems is growing quickly with quad, eight and sixteen core processors either with us or on the horizon. This is going to mean that data centres will need to be redesigned so that smaller, more processor-dense systems are accommodated.

9. Cloud

The cloud is here and its utilisation is growing. Enough said.

10. Fabric Computing or Infrastructure Convergence

We are now moving towards a plug and play data centre where everything - storage, memory, processing - is a node off the network. This is going to result in significant redesign of the data centre and the end of physical device silos. This is not here yet but it is on the way.

Anthony Caruana attended the Gartner Symposium as a guest of Gartner.