3 Analyst Firms on the Trends Shaping the Future of IT

As we said last week, it’s prediction season. We’ve kicked off our own trends to watch series, but we also wanted to check in with what the analyst firms are saying. Forrester, Gartner and ZapThink have all published their own trend watch-lists. Common themes include cloud computing, mobility and analytics.


Forrester identified 15 trends, broken down into five categories in its The Top 15 Technology Trends Enterprise Architects Should Watch: 2011 To 2013 report. The firm used the criteria “impact, newness, and complexity” to determine its list:

“Empowered” Technologies:

  • SaaS and cloud-based platforms become standard
  • Collaboration platforms become people-centric
  • Customer community platforms integrate with business apps
  • Apps and business processes go mobile on powerful devices and faster networks
  • Telepresence gains widespread use

Process-Centric Data and Intelligence:

  • Next-gen BI takes shape combining real-time access with pervasiveness, agility, and self-service
  • Analytics target text and social networks
  • IaaS ?nds a broader audience
  • Master data management matures

Agile and Fit-to-Purpose Applications

  • Business rules processing and policy-based SOA move to the mainstream
  • BPM will be Web-2.0-enabled
  • Event-driven patterns demand attention

Smart Technology Management

  • System management enables continued virtualization
  • IT embraces planning and analysis tools to manage the future
  • Client virtualization is ubiquitous


Gartner has a much shorter list, looking at only four high-level trends, without any reference to time frame. Four Converging Trends That Will Change the Face of IT and Business:

  • Cloud
  • Business impact of social computing
  • Context Aware Computing
  • Pattern Based Strategy


ZapThink rounds out the analysis with its five supertrends of the next decade:

  • Location independence
  • Global Cubicle
  • Democratization of technology
  • Deep interoperability
  • Complex Systems Engineering

Adding it Up

Looking over all of this, I think we can find some common themes and boil it all down to five points:

  • Location independence, mobility and remote work
  • Cloud computing
  • Standards and interoperability
  • Patterns and analytics
  • Collaboration

What’s Missing

The trends listed here are conservative to the point of obviousness, which is fine – these really are the important trends for IT managers to be looking into. But is there anything else out there that’s staring us all in the face but hasn’t been mentioned yet?

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