Every year in August, Gartner releases a new Hype Cycle of Emerging Technologies. This hype cycle shows the technologies that Gartner believes CIOs should look at in the next couple of years. From my experience, I know that this hype cycle is one that is found often in boardrooms, So I’m always interested to see what’s on the hype cycle for this year. And I must say that I’m a bit disappointed. My disappointment is really about the timeframe of these emerging technologies. Most of them are becoming interesting, in a timeframe of five to ten years. More than the average CIO would consider.
Some of these technologies are even on a timescale of more than ten years. And one of the challenges that you have, when you’re plotting so far into the future, is that the accuracy is sort of gone. But then I mean, that if something is more than ten years ahead, so many things can happen in that period of time, that it becomes almost non-interesting for the next, let’s say, five to seven years. And even stuff that’s on the five to ten years’ timeframe suffers the same faith. Only the stuff that is within our reach between two to five years is interesting, and that from the Gartner hype cycle, are: 5G, Edge analytics, 3d sensing cameras, and augmented intelligence are things that you more or less could keep an eye on.
Stare, be aware and prepare
I always make the distinction between three timeframes; the first timeframe is the time frame ‘far far’ away. I call that time to stare. Time to stare are technologies that will be coming towards you in a very period of time, let’s say about ten years or more. A slightly shorter timeframe is the time to be aware, technologies that will be coming towards in, let’s say five, to ten years. And then there is the time to prepare. These are the technologies that are basically just around the corner, depending on how forward-looking you are as an organization. I’ve read many Gartner reports. So, I know a little bit about the way how they look at companies and I think they make a distinction between A, B and C companies. Depending on the innovation appetite of the organization you are an A, B or C company. I tried to find that classification online but could not find it. Pension funds are typically less hungry for bleeding edge technology, so they are most likely a C company. Startups and spinoffs are more inclined towards that so in my opinion they are an A company.
Direction vs destination
Another thing is the difference between direction and destination. In other words: going south or going to Barcelona. The 5G technology promises higher bandwidth but how are you going to deploy it, if at all? You need to map the technology onto your business processes to see if deployment make sense. The Hype cycle indicates technology categories and inspires marketing departments. I wonder how many Business Process Managers products will now be labeled as DigitalOps products? Gartner (and other research firms) are also trying to coin new terms. I believe that Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) originated from Gartner as a term that is now widely used to indicate players like SAP. It doesn’t always work; I remember when they tried to push Net Based Bureau Services (NBBS) which happens also to be the name of a Dutch travel agency. That one (not for that reason per se) did not catch on. DigitalOps by the way (according to Gartner), provides Enterprise Architecture and technology innovation leaders with tools and methods to simplify, measure and manage processes across the enterprise. It is an evolution of Business Process Management. It might be fun to watch vendors reposition themselves as DigitalOps vendors over the coming period of time.
Enough to do
But apart from Gartner’s view on emerging technologies, there are still enough things to do. It might not register (anymore) on their Hype Cycle but there are still innovations, improvements and so on that you can implement in your organization. How about the move to microservices, promising agility and nimbleness compared to more monolithic approaches? Or Integration as a Service (IaaS) where you reap the benefits of a hosted and managed environment rather thawn installing and managing a WSO2 product stack yourself? If auto-scaling, auto healing, high availability and low cost & short time to market sound interesting, I would surely suggest looking into our Connext platform.
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