Thursday, January 22, 2009

The top 5 strategic technologies for 2009

The top 5 strategic technologies for 2009

Industry analyst Gartner recently released its annual report on the top ten strategic technologies for the upcoming year. The 2009 list included a variety of existing and emerging technologies that offer a business advantage for early adopters, or that have the potential for significant market disruption in the next five years.

The top five strategic technologies that are most relevant for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) in 2009 include:

Cloud computing. This has been the industry buzzword of 2008, and the term is loosely derived from the use of a cloud image to represent the Internet or other large networked environments. Cloud computing is about accessing resources and services on an on-demand, as-needed basis; in essence, it involves outsourcing certain IT operations and functions.

Analysts are predicting that small companies may begin to rely on cloud computing for more of their technology needs, preferring to outsource rather than deal with the costs and complexity of in-house IT infrastructure. 

In November, HP and NetSuite announced they are partnering to offersoftware as a service (SaaS) business applications to the SMB market. “SMB customers are looking for new ways to avoid up-front technology costs, and on-demand services are the ideal solution,” said Enrique Lores, senior vice president, Solution Partners Organisation and Commercial Sales, HP.

Virtualisation. In the absolute simplest definition, virtualisation enables one device to function as many. Much of the industry buzz has focused on server virtualisation, but virtualisation offerings stretch across nearly every aspect of IT, from the desktop to the data centre – storage,softwareservices, printing and imaging, desktop environments,communications and much more. 

While once seen as a tool only for enterprise-class environments, virtualisation can bring benefits to businesses of all sizes in the form of lowered costs and maximised space due to physical device consolidation. Plus, managing the infrastructure can be simplified thanks to the enhanced manageability that virtualisation and automation can deliver. 

Social software and social networking. Social software includes a broad range of technologies, including social networking, social collaboration, social media and social validation. Social networking through these various platforms allows smaller businesses to reach potential customers, partners and employees in new ways that are often less expensive and more effective than traditional methods. SMBs can use social networking to establish themselves on the Internet and build a customer base without ever having to implement offline tactics. 

Unified communications. Unified communication (UC) is an innovation that combines telephony and computing for real-time messaging, including e-mail, voice or SMS (text messaging), among others. UC is a concept that isn’t well understood in the SMB market, although many small and mid-sized businesses have already begun to embrace the cost saving and mobility advantages of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), which is just one element of a unified communications strategy. HP offers a portfolio of solutions to meet the communications needs of enterprises and smaller businesses alike.

Green IT. As organisations face stricter environmental regulations and rising energy prices coupled with limited physical space, green IT solutions have moved from being a trendy idea to an absolute necessity. SMBs that invest in more efficient products and solutions can fit more equipment into their data centres, and enjoy reduced power bills and increased performance. 

Hardware vendors like HP are making it easier than ever to invest in green IT, with a range of products and solutions to fit every environment and budget.

For more on the top ten strategic technologies for 2009, read the full Gartner report or listen to additional comments by David Cearley from Gartner on YouTube