Gartner: Mobile, Social Will Drive Change

Rapid change in the way consumers are using mobile devices and social networks are extending into the enterprise, and will increasingly disrupt how companies manage their IT and data center operations, according to Gartner analyst David Cappuccio.

Rich Miller

December 6, 2010

4 Min Read
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David Cappuccio, VP and Chief of Research, Gartner, gives keynote address on Top Trends in IT Infrastructure at Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas. About 1,700 participants at the conference and the opening address was standing-room only.

Rapid change in the way consumers are using mobile devices and social networks are extending into the enterprise, and will increasingly disrupt how companies manage their IT operations and data center infrastructure, according to Gartner analyst David Cappuccio. Although these trends are driven by younger users, the business class is also embracing mobile phones and tablets and social media like Facebook and Twitter.

That will have major implications in IT in the next five years, whether companies are ready or not. "This is the consumerization of IT on steroids," said Cappuccio, the keynote speaker at the annual Gartner Data Center Conference, which got underway today in Las Vegas."Social networks will impact all kinds of enterprises. Do not try to stop them. It won't work."

Fast-moving change is always a challenge for enterprise IT, Cappuccio noted, as users seek out new technology and platforms even as operations teams seek to control and manage their existing corporate IT assets. In the annual Gartner overview of 10 Trends to Watch in the Data Center, Cappuccio also highlighted many ongoing trends, including the importance of virtualization, energy efficiency, monitoring and automation, increased server density, and cloud computing.

But Cappuccio also told the packed room of more than 1,700 attendees that the way consumers use technology - including a new generation of younger "always-on" workers - will force IT and data center professionals to adapt. As college graduates enter the workforce, they will work and communicate using different devices and methods than the retiring Baby Bomers they are replacing.

"We as a culture have changed dramatically because of these mobile phones," he said. "The perception of what a mobile phone is used for is rapidly changing. The traditional client is going away."

An example: Cappuccio said the average teenager sends 2,282 text messages a month, while use of voice minutes is declining. "This generation's mode of communications is text," he said."It's how they do business. We need to take account of this in our unified communications."

Embrace Social Networking
That extends to social networking as well, Capuccio said. Engagement with Twitter and Facebook can help companies understand what's being said about them, as well what their own employees are sharing on these services.

"If you're not monitoring and tracking (social media), you're missing a huge opportunity," Capuccio said. "It's part of the culture now, and if IT doesn't embrace it, shame on us. If you hire people and tell them they can't use Facebook and Twitter, good luck with that. "

Enterprises should instead focus on employee usage patterns and develop a code of conduct for social media."Set reasonable guidelines for people," said Cappuccio. 'In general, most people will follow a code of conduct if it's intelligently laid out. If you don't develop a code of conduct, they'll use it anyway. "

Here's Cappuccio's full list of 10 Trends to Watch:

  • 1. Virtualization is Just Beginning: "It's going to take over everything," said Cappuccio, who said many vitualized data centers haven't addresses utilization issues.  "There are fully vrtualized servers running at 25 percent utilization," he said. The big upside: the desktop. "We've been trying to control users for 30 years. Virtualized desktops s a way to do that."

  • 2. Big Data is on the Rise: Storage requirements will grow 800 percent over the next five years, Capuccio said. "It's not just about managing it," he said. "It's about understanding it and getting something out of it."

  • 3. Energy Efficiency: "Monitoring and reporting on energy consumption will be exected by 2012," he said. "The power issue is moving up the (management) food chain."

  • 4. Unified Communications and Collaboration: Social and mobile are changing everything, and unification puts internal IT feifdoms under stress. "It's a technology issue, but in most cases it's also an organizational issue," said Cappuccio. "In many cases it involves taking away responsibility and controlling things centrally."

  • 5. Workforce Development and Retention

  • 6. Social Networking

  • 7. Migrations for Windows and Microsoft Office: Cappuccio: "How many people thought we'd have a standard operating system that was 12 years old? That's Windows XP."

  • 8. Data Center Density

  • 9. Cloud Computing

  • 10. Fabric Convergence

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