As we mentioned in previous blog posts about cloud computing, Gartner Research noted cloud computing as the top strategic technology that businesses cannot afford to ignore.

So what about the other computing trends we need to be following? According to Gartner a strategic technology is one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years.  Mobile apps and media tablets are hot, as is social computing. No big surprises there. Other hot technology trends — get used to hearing the words fabric-based infrastructure and storage class memory.

Here are the top technologies worth watching in 2011:

  1. Cloud computing*
    Cloud computing is maturing quickly and will soon become a “norm” for business technology. Many of the top technologies for 2011 are closely tied to the cloud.
  2. Mobile apps and mobile devices
    iPads, iPhones, droids — what ever allows us to do business on the move makes us more productive. It is essential that business build their IT structure to accommodate mobile computing. And yes, this involves the cloud.
  3. Next-gen analytics*
    The evolution of business intelligence — businesses need better algorithms to help them make better predictions. Next-gen analytics make business planning more reliable and more mobile as the algorithms and scenerios can be run on smartphones and other portable devices.
  4. Social analytics*
    Social analytics involves taking social networking data and incorporating it into business analysis. There is no escaping the fact that social networking plays a very important role in business intelligence. Social network analysis tools are useful for examining social structure and interdependencies as well as the work patterns of individuals, groups or organizations. Social network analysis involves collecting data from multiple sources, identifying relationships, and evaluating the impact, quality or effectiveness of a relationship.
  5. Social communication*
    No doubt about it, linking social networks to CRM applications will put your business on the cutting edge.
  6. Video*
    The availability of inexpensive video recorders has allowed corporate use of video to go mainstream. E-learning, marketing, webinars, and telepresence will be key uses of video by businesses. The IT challenge will be making sure your business addresses associated privacy issues and has the proper tools in place to produce and deliver quality video.
  7. Context-aware computing
    This concept closely ties in with social communication. Basically, the user experience your business provides is closely tied to social analytics in an effort to drive sales.
  8. Ubiquitous computing
    The idea here is that each person uses multiple devices and expects to have a seamless computing experience. Since there isn’t yet one device that does it all, we are all required to carry around a bunch of different devices. We need our devices. For everything.
  9. Storage class memory*
    This concept is still a bit experimental. Data growth is the driving factor behind storage class memory. Using storage class memory as a disk drive replacement, storage system products will have performance that is orders of magnitude better than that of comparable disk-based systems and require much less space and power in the data center.
  10. Fabric based infrastructure and computers
    This technology allow businesses to form their own flexible servers from pools of processors and memory instead of physically swapping boxes. This technology is closely tied to cloud computing and virtualization. Look for more buzz on this subject as Gartner predicts that by 2012 the world’s top 2000 companies will use fabric-based computing architecture.

* Carry-over technology from Gartner’s Top Strategic Technologies for 2010.

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