Ignore At Your Own Risk

Gartner Research recently posted the recording of a webinar they hosted called “Technology Trends You Can’t Afford to Ignore.” An intimidating title for sure, and since I’m generally of the opinion that no one in this industry can afford to ignore any technology trends, I gave it my full attention. The webinar was chock-full of surprising statistics, namely:

  • 50% of U.S. 21 year olds have created content on the Web. 70% of U.S. 4 year olds have used a computer.
  • Over 31 billion Google searches were performed —last month —vs. 2.6 billion 3 years ago.
  • More video was uploaded to YouTube in the past two months than if ABC, CBS and NBC had been airing new content 24/7 since 1948.
  • The average American teenager sends 2,282 text messages per month.
  • If Facebook was a country, it would be the 3rd largest in the world. Twitter would be 7th.
  • In 1997, a gigabyte of Flash memory cost $7,870. Today, it costs $1.25.

The world is definitely changing, and Gartner has identified 10 trends to stay on top of to ensure you don’t become extinct along the way. Some are a bit obvious – I think we’ve all heard plenty about Virtualization and Cloud Computing lately – but others are things you may not have thought of – or may not have considered the importance of to your business. Here’s the list itself:

  1. Virtualization Is Just Beginning
  2. Big Data —The Elephant in the Room
  3. Energy Efficiency and Monitoring
  4. Unified Communications —Extended
  5. Staff Retention and Retraining
  6. Social Networks —Ready or Not
  7. Legacy Migrations —Your Users
  8. Compute Density —Scale Vertically
  9. Cloud Computing
  10. Converged Fabrics

For decades, the move to “go green” has been at the forefront of consumer awareness, but with the explosion of content creation and the need for increased storage, data centers have been consuming ever more real estate, power, and cooling costs. In fact, Gartner now estimates that data centers can consume 40x more energy than the offices they support. The power issue is definitely moving up the food chain and EPA metrics aren’t far away.

The other “sleeper” on this list is the issue of staff retention and training. Not for the fact that it made the list, but how high up the list it made. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that people in today’s workforce will have 10 to 14 jobs by the age of 38. While technical depth and expertise is growing, broad general experience in IT is becoming more and more rare. Companies must find ways to increase cross-training and encourage continuous learning.

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