What’s next for enterprise tech?

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Tech trends are often a long time coming, with many bits and pieces hyped for years and years as the next big thing before finally tipping into the mainstream.

Others drop on the sector out of nowhere Twitter, anyone? and change the game before half of us even know what's going on.

With this in mind, Gartner analyst Jeffery Mann did some crystal ball gazing for IT PRO, picking out five of the top enterprise tech trends to watch for in the next year or so.

A few won't come as a surprise, but make sure you're keeping an eye on these trends over the next few months.

Online video

Video has been picked as the next big thing for 40 years, Mann said. "It's stubbornly refused to be the next big thing," he noted.

But video is taking off. It's just not on video phones or real-time video has some have expected. Instead, it's in short clips posted online that's right, YouTube.

"There's a tremendous amount of interest in corporate YouTube," Mann said, with companies looking to post clips featuring their executives, as well as demos, promotions to customers and even training videos.

"It's kind of unexpected," Mann noted, adding the much-hyped real-time video is also progressing, but that YouTube has had a much bigger influence on businesses.

Click here to read on to find out if online video can be profitable.

Cloud computing

You may have heard of it? It's been the next big thing all year, even though some people haven't a clue what it actually means.

Mann noted cloud computing has been around for a while, but noted "every year it's becoming more accepted to more organisations."

The recession has helped drive many to move their IT systems to the cloud, as hosted platforms offer dramatic cost savings, he noted, and slashed budgets force businesses to take action. "When times were good, there was less incentive to change things," Mann noted. "There was no reason to take the risk."

"When there's a directive to cut 40 per cent of costs, you're more willing to take risks," he said.

However, when the economy rebounds, the cloud will stick around, as it offers other benefits, including more flexibility and agility.

"It's made its case we don't see it going away," Mann said. "I think it has sticking power beyond the recession."


Another tech that's been drowning in hype this year is Twitter. While the Twitter has many business benefits, it's not really designed for use for internal communciations.

Mann sees other systems stepping up to move microblogging behind the firewall, letting employees communicate in a way their used to in their personal lives with colleagues around the world or in the next cubicle.

He noted one example, a firm called Yammer. It offers a Twitter-like service for enterprise customers. Because it's based behind the firewall and limits who can see the messages, it's more secure than putting business comms online.

And, it's free and easy to run, so "IT doesn't have to even know it happens," Mann noted.

Social software suites

Microblogging will fit into the bigger trend of social software, Mann said. Such suites will pull together all of the elements of social networking such as blogs and wikis into a single supplier, making it easier to use for enterprise customers.

They'll also add more features, such as profiles, tagging and feeds people will be able to use the same systems at work as they do at home.

As with microblogging, the new packaged social software suites will sit behind the firewall and have other authentication features to ensure security. Admins can also control access for users, to ensure they're all seeing what they need to see and nothing more.

Current examples of such packages include IBM's Lotus Connections and Huddle. Mann said Microsoft is slowly taking SharePoint in this direction, too.

Green IT

Green IT has been a big trend for years but it's never really taken off, and has been declining in the face of the recession, Mann said.

"Green has been around the last couple of years," he said, adding there's less focus on it because of the recession.

That said, as companies pull out of the difficult economic situation their currently struggling through, Mann predicted "renewed interest in it."