Five tips to tackle disruptive tech

Five technologies will continue to impact IT strategies over next few years and IT managers must prepare for changing environment, Gartner warns.
Written by Lynn Tan @ Redhat, Contributor

Five disruptive technologies are likely to merge and force IT departments to alter their long-standing practices for procuring and managing IT, says Gartner.

According to a statement Monday, the research house identified the technologies as Web 2.0, software as a service, the consumerization of IT, tera-architectures, and open-source software.

Gartner said SaaS is empowering business units to act independently of corporate IT strategies, while Web 2.0 tools are presenting new ways of community building, and consumerization of IT is putting pressure on IT departments to be more responsive. Open source, the report added, is a hidden "secret" that enables many elements of the other disruptive technologiesThe fifth disruptive technology is the tera-architecture that enables systems and applications to scale easily. Google Apps as an example where the search giant has applied a tera-architecture approach.

Tom Austin, Gartner vice president and a research fellow, said systems built on tera-architectures "threaten to upset the careful balance of power between IBM and Microsoft in messaging, and more importantly, they introduce entirely new ways to implement and scale applications".

Austin said these five emerging trends "reinforce each other, and their combined effect will prove far stronger than each individual trend".

"IT managers who oversee applications must incorporate these trends into their long-term planning," he added.

Calling on IT departments to "take advantage of, rather than just react to" these technologies, Austin offered this advice to IT managers:

1. Question core assumptions about the role of the IT organization
Previously, it was the only source of IT, but now that users can often buy what they need from the Web, business executives must re-evaluate IT-related operating principles, guidelines, policies, practices and governance.

2. Experiment with free-form environments
Create free-form searchable personal Web pages for users, along with "folksonomies" or uncontrolled tags created by individuals, as well as tag clouds, feeds, blogs and wikis.

Companies need to provide free-form, open environments to facilitate productive social interactions, and to allow patterns of behavior and interaction with the rest of the business ecosystem as well as new business models--and opportunities--to emerge and evolve over time.

3. Help users innovate
Innovation speeds up economic development. As such, IT managers should apply this general rule to the enterprise, allowing selected users to exploit Web-based tools and share their experiences with other users.

4. Segment users
The IT organization needs to stop providing the same support to everyone: one size does not fit all.

IT managers should segment users based on difference in roles, responsibilities, and information and application access requirements. The IT organization can increase workers' effectiveness by providing support that better fits their individual needs.

5. Stop trying to provide everything
The IT organization should admit that it can no longer compete with the Web in providing many personal and social tools.

The IT organization should define what it is really good at, and for other activities, play the role of advisor and facilitator. It should no longer assume responsibility for supporting and managing all IT systems that workers use.

Users must take personal responsibility for experimenting with new software and communities.

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