What would a Mentat make of Gartner’s 10 top trends. Far from living in the Dune universe where Mentats reside, nor having a Mentat’s exceptional cognitive abilities of memory and perception as a foundation for their supra-logical hypothesizing, I donned the Mentat’s “naïve mind” and came to some surprising conclusions on the Gartner trends.
IT consists of two concepts, ‘Information’ and ‘Technology’. The top 10 trends are new or innovative technologies. But what do they mean for ‘Information’? The pattern that occurs most in the top 10 trends is ‘fragmentation’ – fragmentation of information and thereby fragmentation of organizations, processes and people.
Mobile device battles fragment data across different mobile and cloud ecosystems. Today you can sign up for any 3 closed ecosystems (iPhone, Android and Windows), but it is difficult to exchange information among them. Consumerization opens organizations to different devices and different operating systems which drive more fragmentation of information. Hybrid IT and cloud computing distributes IT infrastructure, data and applications over different players. An organization can have part propriety IT infrastructure, but use a cloud application (SalesForce.com) and have other parts of its data stored with Amazon. This distributes and fragments the information.
Strategic big data predicts several data warehouses will spring up, depending on functional use. The big data stores may be limited in time, or even setup in a cloud environment. This is a move away from the old school single enterprise data warehouse setup. Fragmentation of information is the result. Then there are the Enterprise app stores, which underpin the previous trends. These app stores are set up for different ecosystems because of consumerization. They can be managed partially on propriety infrastructure and partially by a Storage-as-a-Service provider (cloud). So again the driving force is fragmentation.
The second pattern to emerge is the increased creation of data. Personal clouds, be it from Apple iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, Dropbox or Amazon Cloud Drive) lets end users create, manage and store information in structured and unstructured formats, thus leading to more data. Then there is the Internet of Things, where physical objects ranging from jet engines to pill bottles produce data. An explosive creation of data (information) is the result.
And then there is the addition of ‘speed’ by mainstream in-memory computing. This technology makes separating transactional and analytical process redundant, which fuels more rapid fragmentation. The odd one out, trend 11, is integrated ecosystems. This is a ‘vendor concept’ that offers all vertically integrated technology from one vendor, thereby locking in all future revenue streams. It is a wise response to fragmentation, at least for a vendor.
What does this increased fragmentation and creation of data and information mean for organizations, process and people? I believe it makes everything more volatile and temporary, which is then more challenging to manage. But at the same time it will be easier to kick start new initiatives, and IT will present more possibilities than ever before to do new, imaginative things. IT will be easier to use, to mix up and match. There will be more tools and less limiting top down control.
You want to do smart analysis on a certain subject, just download a data mart form the Enterprise app store with your smart phone, hook it up to a measurement device and analyze any object or process real time, store the results in a personal cloud and share it with peers all over the world. This creative thinking was impossible 10 years ago. So this ‘naïve mind’ welcomes the fragmentation of information and the instability that it fuels, because it will spark a new era of creativity and imagination.