Information is becoming the “oil of the 21st century” and will drive four major IT trends over the next decade including cloud computing, research firm Gartner predicts.

In a talk delivered to the Gartner Symposium and ITExpo, taking place this week in Orlando, the firm’s global head of research, Peter Sondergaard, said IT spending is increasingly being directed toward projects which can deliver faster and smarter business decisions.

“We are on a one way trip towards the IT driven intelligence society – driven by the consumer – where growing access to this growing universe of data gives us the opportunity to not only make better decisions, but to make smarter decisions,” said Sondergaard.

“Information will be the ‘oil of the 21st century’. It will be the resource running our economy in ways not possible in the past.”

Sondergaard predicts four broad trends will support this information transformation over the next 10 years:

  1. Cloud computing
  2. Business impact of social computing
  3. Context aware computing
  4. Pattern-based strategy

“Cloud computing will transform the IT industry as it will alter the financial model upon which investors look at technology providers and it will change vertical industries, making the impact of the Internet on the music industry look like a minor bleep,” he said.
The second major trend, social computing, will see the boundaries between personal and professional activities increasingly blurred. In so doing, Sondergaard predicts social computing will unleash yet to be realized productivity growth and contribute to economic growth.

The third trend, context aware computing, will see a proliferation of wireless technologies intelligently linked to a new Internet fabric. Services not imagined today will use people’s location – physical or virtual – to determine patterns of behavior, needs and desires.

The last trend, pattern-based strategy, will allow organizations to seek-out patterns from traditional and non-traditional sources model their impact using context aware technologies and predictive analytic tools.

“The combination of these four trends creates an unimaginable force impacting not just IT and the IT industry, but the capability of business and government,” he said.


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