Gartner has revealed the top 10 strategic technologies that are most likely to cause disruption or have a significant impact on business next year.
The analyst firm defines 'strategic technologies' as those that are just matured or still emerging, and which should be included in enterprise long-term plans, programmes and initiatives.
"Companies should factor these top 10 technologies into their strategic planning process by asking key questions and making deliberate decisions about them during the next two years," said David Cearley, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.
The technologies include cloud computing, but Gartner added that cloud management services are likely to be of increasing importance and that companies should set up "dynamic sourcing teams" to manage such deals.
Next up are mobile applications and media tablets. Gartner said that mobile devices are "computers in their own right", and that companies should prepare for an increased use of mobile applications among the workforce.
Another non-typical enterprise technology comes in the form of social communications and collaboration. Gartner said that organisations should allow and control their use, explaining that sites like Facebook and LinkedIn could be used for social profile management, relationship building and discovery.
The analyst firm predicts that social technologies will be integrated into most business applications by 2016.
Adding to this is an increase use of video, which Gartner said should be supported and adopted. Video will come into the mainstream, and over a quarter of all content that workers see by 2013 will be video, audio or images.
Gartner also said that the computing capabilities of smartphones and mobile computers will help businesses support operational decisions by modelling or running simulations.
"While this may require significant changes to existing operational and business intelligence infrastructures, the potential exists to unlock significant improvements in business results and other success rates," the firm said.
Analysis should extend to social networking, and should measure, analyse and interpret a company's associations with people, topics and ideas.
Context-aware computing will aid this, and using information about an end-user firm will allow companies to improve the way they serve customers or do business.
"The end user may be a customer, business partner or employee. A contextually aware system anticipates the user's needs and proactively serves the most appropriate and customised content, product or service," Gartner said.
Flash memory's hold over consumer devices will extend to enterprise servers, according to Gartner, offering savings on space, heat and performance.
The final two technologies in Gartner's list are ubiquitous computing, which will see computing power turn up in a range of devices thanks to technologies like RFID tags, and fabric-based computing which uses building-block modules to link enterprise systems.
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