Gartner: Top 10 Strategic Tech Trends For 2014

Strategic Tech Trends

As 2013 wraps up, focus has already begun to shift to 2014. Surveying the IT landscape from hardware and networking to cloud and mobile, Gartner analysts took a look at up-and-coming technology trends and presented them at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013.

Take a look at the 10 trends Gartner recommends strategic solution providers stay on top of for the next year.

10. Mobile Device Diversity, Management

As of May 2013, 91 percent of Americans reported having a cell phone, according to a Pew Research Center study, and more than half of them have smartphones. As a result, more and more options for staying mobile are emerging to supply the growing demand.

A side effect of increasing mobile technology, BYOD is doubling or tripling the mobile workforce, the Gartner study said. As a result, enterprises need to revisit their BYOD policies to adapt to a changing technology environment in the workplace. The Gartner study recommended putting policies in place but staying flexible as mobile continues to adapt.

9. Apps

For mobile application environments, Gartner for 2014 predicts the future lies in HTML5 and the browser due to continued JavaScript performance improvements.

With more and more users wanting to work across multiple devices, Gartner recommended app developers work to create "building blocks" that can be assembled to fit the needs of different devices. Overall, Gartner predicted that for 2014 there will be more popularity in smaller, more targeted apps than more comprehensive, one-size-fits-all apps.

8. The Internet Of Everything

The Internet has its tendrils in almost every piece of our lives, from our appliances to our mobile devices to our cars. Cisco CEO John Chambers said he saw the Internet of Everything as a $14.4 trillion opportunity, in a keynote at the Cisco Live event earlier this year. The problem, Gartner said, is that the enterprise has yet to fully jump on board with the trend. Gartner recommended that enterprises improve their businesses by adopting what it called the four basic usage models: manage, monetize, operate and extend.

7. Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Service Broker

Hybrid is the name of the game for cloud in 2014, Gartner said. Even if working in the private cloud, Gartner said enterprises should make sure they are ready to go hybrid in the future. Stepping in to take charge of this transition in 2014 will be the Cloud Services Broker (CSB), Gartner said. The 2014 hybrid cloud will be pretty static, Gartner said, but will get more and more dynamic as the market evolves and CSBs grow in the marketplace.

6. Cloud/Client Architecture

Increasing demand for the cloud is shifting the balance between the cloud and client architecture models, Gartner said. The increased pressure on networks is causing enterprises to shift the load to the cloud and reduce the "storage footprint," Gartner said. Going into 2014, Gartner said that businesses will be looking to leverage the client device to reduce the network strain.

5. The Era Of Personal Cloud

In what Gartner calls the shift to the "era of the personal cloud," the PC will no longer take the lead in devices. Instead, users will balance a variety of devices that are connected through a personal cloud. The job of the solution provider will be to manage and secure the user's herd of devices through the cloud, Gartner said.

4. Software-Defined Anything

As software-defined anything (SDx) grows in the marketplace, Gartner predicts that more and more standards and regulations will pop up over 2014. Gartner said it expects vendors in particular will be reluctant to adopt standards that will affect the bottom line. However, on the bright side, Gartner said the end consumer will be the benefactor of simpler and more efficient products at a lower cost.

3. Web-Scale IT

What Gartner is calling Web-Scale IT is changing the value chain in the cloud space through competition from big cloud players like Amazon and Google. Gartner said in its analysis that enterprises should look to model themselves off of these cloud leaders, from designing the database center and facilities to architecting the cloud itself. Through a top-to-bottom imitation of large cloud players, enterprises can attempt to achieve the same scale, speed and agility.

2. Smart Machines

Smart machines, from self-driving cars to computerized personal assistants, will be the "most disruptive in the history of IT" through 2020, Gartner said. For that reason, there is a lot of success to be found for those who jump on board the trend early, Gartner said. This applies for both individuals and enterprise users, Gartner said. Despite consumerization, smart devices will have a big impact on both the enterprise and consumer levels before ultimately settling in the consumer space.

1. 3-D Printing

Gartner statistics predict 3-D printing to grow 75 percent in 2014 alone, with the number of unit shipments doubling in 2015. While it's a cool technology, what is the impact for the channel? Gartner says that the buzz in 3-D printing's consumer base will lead to it becoming a business solution that helps cut costs, improves products and speeds up manufacturing. Channel partners are pretty mixed so far on the adoption of 3-D printing into their own businesses, but some are optimistic about its possibilities for opening up new high-margin product lines.