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February 15, 2013

Cloud, Social, Mobile and Information: Gartner's 'Nexus of Forces' for the Future of Information Technology

By Colleen Lynch, TMCnet Contributor

Gartner (News - Alert) has a proven track record with its nearly fool-proof predictions regarding the technology industry and whether a company, product or idea will flourish or flop. Now the company has come out with its“2013 Priorities” predictions report, and though it is not exactly widely-read, it should be.

The list suggests that the future of technology markets lies in just four simple words: cloud, social, mobile, and information.

After much research and reporting, Gartner has ultimately decided that companies leveraging these four tech realms will prevail, and those that don’t will not be as successful. The idea model that addresses and utilizes all four components is known as the “Nexus of Forces,” and Gartner’s detailed report outlines just how the model can be used to its fullest.

When it comes to the four forces, Gartner stresses that while they each have their own benefits to a company and industry, pursuing only one of the four won’t accomplish much. This is because mobile and cloud work together, information analytics and social media work together, and all four forces appeal to customers more if they easily interact with the others. As far as marketing goes, the companies and products that will stand out are those that can proudly proclaim their prominence in the cloud, social, mobile and information (or “Big Data”) markets. 


Image via Shutterstock

If one is missing or neglected, Gartner insists that consumers will notice.

The report also notes that old approaches to IT that have been super-effective in the past are now obsolete. These include the use of existing architectures, strategies, structures and implementations. Everything is new, and Gartner gives a list of better alternatives that are currently shown to be successful and much more efficient. Companies that refuse to get onboard with these business practices or are unwilling to change will not only fail to get ahead, but will fall behind, says Gartner.

Gartner suggests prepping customers to adopt a “Nexus-centric view” toward their various technologies, so that customers can fully understand what their devices and services are capable of. This would necessitate funds and time investments to put toward customer and client education, but Gartner’s report indicates that this will be money well spent.

For example, Google (News - Alert) has a multitude of free services and features that many users with Gmail accounts and who use Google regularly as their search engine simply don’t know about, such as their information backup and music storage features.

Gartner also breaks down their list and gives time to each separate force within the Nexus and its own importance.

When it comes to the cloud, Cloud Industry Forum predicts that the formerly young, now-established technology will be deployed in more than 75 percent of businesses based in the UK by the end of this year, with an 80 percent increase across the board in cloud computing spending--and that’s just in the UK.

Gartner predicts that the cloud computing market as a whole for 2013 will be worth approximately $150 billion.

Ignoring the cloud is fast-becoming a non-option, similar to the way social media came into its prime in the last decade.

Now if a smartphone does not have social media features, it is a rare specimen and seen as ancient in comparison to the rest of the market.

So far, the Huffington Post (News - Alert) and iStrategyLabs report that one million websites (and counting) have officially integrated with Facebook--and that is just the tip of the social iceberg. Google+, Twitter (News - Alert), Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and the seemingly-infinite number of online dating websites have become standard stops in today’s Internet, and are in some cases the only way for companies to reach certain demographics.

Gartner does not need to spend time in its report on the mobile category, as anyone who interacts in society can see the rampant cell phone usage that has taken over most of the world. It is such a staple in daily life that it is now considered a given, and the numbers are unsurprising: Microsoft (News - Alert) Tag sets the date at 2015 for when mobile Internet usage will officially overtake desktops, but most in the industry would hardly bat an eye if it happened even before 2014. This statistic is enough to make Gartner’s point: 91 percent of all US citizens keep their mobile devices on-hand 24/7.

Lastly, Gartner urges companies not to disregard big data. Forbes describes the term as “methods and technologies that help businesses and individuals make better decisions by analyzing large data volumes and predicting probable outcomes,” and Gartner calls it a powerful consumer trend analysis tool.

To read more details on how to bring these four forces together with Gartner’s “Nexus of Forces” model, see the full report here.




Edited by Brooke Neuman
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