10 Strategic Management Tools

Gartner has identified 10 technologies that are becoming strategic management tools for companies. We’ve discussed many of these technologies and trends in past columns, but it will be helpful for businesses to keep these on the radar when considering strategic planning for future development.

“We are already seeing the adoption of ‘big data’ within the IT and operations management [ITOM] industry. In particular, software-as-service [SaaS] management providers now have to collect and synthesize large volumes of data,” said Milind Govekar, managing vice president at Gartner. “We also expect more next-generation analytics to come to the forefront to address an increasingly hybrid cloud environment. On the social front, IT service desk social management tools will establish an interactive relationship with end users, enhance end-user productivity, provide a platform to share information and ideas, and market the value of IT to the business.”[1]

  1. Media tablets and beyond.
  2. Mobile-centric applications and interfaces.
  3. Contextual and social user experience.
  4. The Internet of things.
  5. App stores and marketplaces.
  6. Next-generation analytics.
  7. Big data.
  8. In-memory computing.
  9. Extreme low-energy servers.
  10. Cloud computing.

Media tablets and beyond. Using tablets in business has shifted from novelty to necessity. Just two years ago an East Tennessee health provider was refusing to consider bringing mobile devices into the system. This past spring, their IT established a BYOD team to assess support, applications, and tools to help the organization use tablets, smartphones and other devices more effectively to achieve business outcomes. Shifts toward acceptance and support are appearing across the spectrum. From developing governance policies to deploying mobile device management (MDM), IT leaders are faced with the challenge of delivering support across multiple devices.

Mobile-centric applications and interfaces. Managing applications and data is more important than managing devices. One application can support multiple devices that run different operating systems (OSs). However, organizations should not assume that tools and OSs work the same way in mobile environments as they do on the desktop. Gartner recommends that IT leaders establish a mobile competency center to ensure there is sufficient focus on this area. In the longer term, they will need to establish an end-user computing group with a single mission to provide a work space management service.

Contextual and social user experience. More and more users have adjusted to mobile technologies and social tools, increasing expectations that they can engage with businesses via these platforms. Businesses must be prepared with technology and tools to track and interpret the emerging analytics based on these richer interactions with organizations.

The Internet of things. 4G internet represents the beginning emergence of IMT-Advanced, a global wireless communications protocol that will ultimately transition Internet engagement to object based interactions. From appliances to vehicles to medical devices, more and more consumer devices will interact with other devices. Organization will face the challenges of utilizing “machine and statistical learning technologies” to track and respond to  Internet-attached sensors and instruments.

App stores and marketplaces. Businesses will increasingly face the challenge of supporting and developing applications that support a range of devices. Applications “will be variously in the cloud and on the premises, fixed and mobile, built and bought, and composed and atomic.”

Next-generation analytics. IT must be prepared to understand and respond to impact of systems “experiencing high error rates or suffering total failure and take remedial action.”

Big data. The ever-increasing data available to businesses creates the challenge of support rapid data processing and tools that can help organizations utilize key insights without drowning in a sea of data. Businesses will need to source and utilize emerging file system tools (such as GFS, HDFS and Lustre).

In-memory computing. “In-memory computing is, as the name indicates, a way of keeping data close to computation, instead of the standard method of storing data in another machine and sending it back and forth to the computer servers. In-memory means computation of big data sets can take place a lot faster.” [2] IT leaders will need to assess logging challenges, non-volatile random-access memory, and “ensure the architected performance is not compromised by excessive waiting due to latches and locks.”

Extreme low-energy servers. The advent of green computing and need for cost-savings over time, makes extreme low-energy servers attractive. IT faces monitoring challenges (to make sure investments are paying off) and administrative challenges (to reduce labor overhead).

Cloud computing. As cloud computing continues to skyrocket, IT faces the challenge of establishing itself as a “trusted service broker” that can work with business goals, identify cloud suppliers and develop cloud solutions that support business goals while guarding company assets.

[1] “Gartner Says Top 10 Strategic Technologies Will Be Assimilated Into Management Tools.” Gartner, June 12, 2012
[2] Quentin Hardy. “SAP’s In-Memory Computing Catches On.” New York Times, January 14, 2012