Cambridge, Mass. — A great deal of technology change is underway, although none seems to be an ultimate transformer of IT the way the Internet or ERP suites were, according to a new Forrester Research Inc. report. “The Emerging Technology Trends That CIOs Should Care About,” states that we are in the early years of “IT everywhere”—a new 16-year cycle of innovation and growth that follows the previous cycle of networked computing for enterprise applications and the Internet. Because we are in transition, we are still digesting the networked computing technologies and just barely seeing the earliest versions of the new IT everywhere technologies. Several technology trends that got their start during the “networked computing” wave will continue their digestion cycle during the just-starting “IT everywhere” phase.

The report lists service-oriented architecture (SOA), business process management (BPM), mobility and X Internet as trends that will drive a dramatic change in technology adoption and use.

SOA has gone mainstream, even as firms mature their SOA adoption, according to Forrester. Broad-based use of—and plans for—SOA indicate that its applicability is general in nature and not specific to particular industry situations. At an INN SOA conference in January 2008, Gary Plotkin, VP and CIO for The Hartford’s P&C operations, said SOA’s true value is to the business side of operations, not the IT department.

As CIO of a 198 year-old company with legacy systems dating back 47 years, Plotkin is bullish about SOA as tool to reuse and simplify IT infrastructure. Plotkin unveiled a chart that showed the interrelations between the 475 applications the Hartford was running when he came on board as CIO, but said he kept SOA principles fully in mind as he methodically whittled down that number.

“SOA is really about re-use,” he said, acknowledging that despite his wishes, some legacy systems are in place to stay.

Firms across all industries are looking to BPM to help gain new efficiencies, create a more consistent customer experience and provide better data insights, the Forrester report states. A survey by Boston-based Celent of insurance industry technologists, “Insurance CIO/CTO Pressures, Priorities, and Plans in 2008: U.S. Survey Results,” found that this fear was not much of a deterrent as BPM was a top IT initiative for nearly 80% of the large P&C insurers in the survey.

Mobile technology is moving beyond laptops and morphing into “mobile Internet devices”—a new family of consumer devices that blend the best of the PC, wireless and the Web to deliver a superior mobile Internet experience, according to the Forrester report. And, in 2001, Forrester reported that the next tidal wave of innovation will eclipse the Internet as we know it: It will involve an extended Internet that connects physical objects to the Internet to provide an unprecedented view into the life of products, assets, or even people.

Some new technology trends Forrester lists this latest report include, technology populism, the information workplace, dynamic business applications, digital business architecture, IT ecosystems and enterprise master data management.

Forrester contends that CIOs can’t just look to the headlines in The Wall Street Journal to figure out what to do to thrive in the “IT everywhere” technology wave. Instead, they must make a review of technology trends a part of the IT department’s annual planning cycle; charter the enterprise architecture group to engage the firm’s innovation network; and use business capability maps to assure relevance to the business’ strategies.

Sources: Forrester Research Inc. and INN archives

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