Major tech trends to raise significant data management, privacy issues, Gartner predicts
Barcelona, Spain March 18, 2004 Information technology leaders must look ahead to the next wave of IT innovation and prepare for such technology-driven changes in the next decade as global sourcing, the connected society and the need for enterprises to adopt a real-time infrastructure, according to tech consultancy Gartner.
These trends are driving the world toward a future in which "always-on" devices provide a tidal wave of data on customer behavior in real time, forcing companies not only to contend with almost incomprehensibly large data-management issues but also with thorny privacy issues, too.
The consultancy highlighted these trends at the opening of its European Symposium/ITxpo in Barcelona this week, and Gartner also pointed to the growing evidence of a tech recovery in 2004.
Gartner's latest survey of 956 chief information officers across the world shows signs of a business recovery forming and indicates that modest growth is returning to IT budgets in 2004. Further evidence is seen in several parts of the industry that returned to healthy growth in 2003, including the PC and mobile phone area, where shipments increased by 10.9 percent and 21 percent, respectively.
"The global economy has improved to the point where companies have made a significant shift from protecting profitability to a focus on driving growth, creating a radically different environment," said Michael Fleisher, Gartner's chairman and CEO. "While IT leaders must continue to maintain vigilance around tight cost control, they now face the challenge of driving innovation and growth within their enterprise."
In this environment, Gartner urged delegates to its symposium to stay in direct touch with key emerging technology developments. To illustrate the magnitude of change to be expected, and in connection with Gartner's 25th anniversary this month, the consultancy's analysts, speaking at a press briefing, looked back on some of the major shifts that have occurred since 1979 and how life has changed as a result.
"PCs were still exotic in 1979, [but] by 2006, over 10 billion microprocessors will be shipped per year," said Steve Prentice, vice president and chief of research for hardware and systems at Gartner. Prentice noted that 1979 saw the birth of Ethernet, and the subsequent two and a half decades have seen the world transformed as a result of personal and corporate connectivity.
Gartner said connecting places and objects in new ways will remain the fundamental driver in technological evolution, and the consultancy highlighted what it considers the most significant technology-driven shifts during the next decade.
Gartner said one of the most significant shifts caused by IT in the near-term is the reality of offshore or global sourcing. Increasingly, companies will aggressively leverage technology investments and increased connectivity to access lower-cost, high quality labor.
"Offshore outsourcing has become a political issue rather than an IT issue," said Prentice. "The only way for the developed economies to compete is by getting smarter, not cheaper."
Gartner advised that to thrive in this environment, IT leaders must become active participants in creating the new top end; that is, in understanding and driving the next wave of innovation and growth.
The Connected Society
During the next decade, there will be a subtle but highly profound shift at the intersection of the physical world of people, objects and places, and the virtual world of information, according to Gartner. Information technology will move from being something separate and apart from us, to being as much a part of our everyday experience as our clothes and personal belongings. Four technology areas will be key in creating and supporting this: