Four hyped technologies awaiting widespread acceptance

by Darinia Khongwir    Dec 24, 2012

Hyped TechnologiesIn the last decade or so, we have witnessed how the advent of a technology gives rise to hype surrounding its potential to transform businesses. However, as time rolls on, the hype wears out when users start questioning the applicability and feasibility of newer technologies.

According to Gartner’s Hype Cycle 2012, at the outset there is intense market pressure to adopt different new technologies. However, as technologies mature, it is good to re-evaluate them to find out if the capability has improved and whether the time is ripe to adopt.

Gartner studied about 1900 technologies in the Hype Cycle so clients can look at the hype cycle and feed it to their technology scans. “Most enterprises look at technologies that are there and see what technologies they should be paying attention to, to be aware of their maturity levels and whether it is the right decision based on the current level that it is,” says Jackie Fenn of Gartner.
Fenn also says there are various nexus technologies in many areas of the cycle – Mobile technology, Cloud computing, information technologies in social media that are allowing new capabilities across the board.

The IT research and advisory firm also elucidates that the biggest technologies of this year that have had rather lukewarm responses were Cloud Computing, Information technology in social media, artificial intelligence, BYOD and 3-D Printing. Also, IT is spreading in to many areas of technology itself wherein nano medicine is starting to be of interest to many enterprises.
CXOtoday has identified some of the most hyped technologies of the year and found out why they didn’t that much uptake in enterprises.

While Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has been widely discussed over the past twelve months, there are not any signs of it going mainstream at least in the near future. Most enterprises continue to adopt a wait-and-watch approach.

Analysts the world over have often rued that more company executives are griping over IT infrastructure and would rather use their own laptops and smartphones due to their comfort levels. But many enterprises are yet to adopt BYOD fully owing to security, compliance and device manageability issues. While it is true that deploying BYOD will lessen the infrastructural burden on any CIO (given that he/ she is constantly asked to cut costs/ maintain budgets) however, the end result is not all hunky dory.

Security seems to be the biggest concern. How do enterprises protect their sensitive data in an environment where the employee uses his mobile device to access personal data? Also implementing a concept such as this will require companies to revamp their policies and processes. And managing devices from multiple platforms adds to a CIO’s woes. So, getting an architectural framework in place where all company data remains intact will cost the CIO just the same.

Some enterprises are running pilots where BYOD is restricted to select senior executives which they might extend to rest of the enterprise once mobile device management technologies mature.
Then there is the issue of compliance. Different countries and different industry verticals have separate compliance requirements. These further complicate matters for enterprises looking to implement BYOD. While we do see some amount of action in this area in 2013, wide adoption of BYOD is still a long way off.

Cloud Computing
While private cloud as a concept is popular with large enterprises, public cloud services have seen fewer takers, since enterprises both small and large not trusting the cloud vendor with their data.

Of the three cloud service models - Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Software as a service (SaaS) and Platform as a service (PaaS), according to Gartner PaaS, by far, is the most hyped. Think of PaaS as middleware in the cloud, where customized applications can be built and hosted outside of an organization’s own data center.

The advisory firm also noted that of all the cloud technological aspects, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) are the most mature and established from a competitive landscape perspective, while PaaS is the least evolved. “For this reason, PaaS is where the battle between vendors and products is set to intensify the most,” said Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner.

Gartner noted that the emerging markets are currently only marginally investing in PaaS, but the research firm believes that this trend is expected to change as PaaS matures as a technology and the vendor landscape consolidates around fewer mainstream players that have the capability to service wider geographies.

“To, assume that enterprises are moving to cloud to save money is actually a misconception. In terms of pricing of private cloud and implementation, the cost is the same as that of any data center. The only advantage cloud has over the data center are maintenance costs,” says Harisha K R, CIO, i7 Networks.

He also sees the trend as cyclic and perhaps in years to come enterprises will move on to other technologies. “Most enterprises are jumping into it because it is such a hot topic. Once upon a time it was mainframes. So also with cloud, it will have an expiry date,” adds Harisha.

Big data
Likewise the discussion on analytics and making sense of unstructured data is an interesting concept that many enterprises are warming up to. The idea has definitely caught the fancy of most CXOs. And we expect to see some action in this direction.

The market for big data solution in India is expected to touch $153.1 million by 2014, according to IDC. In its recent study commissioned by Netapp titled “Here Comes Big Data: Perspectives from Indian Enterprises”, IDC noted that big data solutions market opportunity stood at $58.4 million in 2011, growing at a CAGR of 37.8 percent for the period 2011-2014, with IT services and software contributing the major chunk of the overall market.

The study also revealed that even though big data solutions market in India is currently at a nascent stage, with only 5 per cent of the large enterprises having embraced this technology. By 2014, IDC expects the market penetration to reach 18.4 per cent of the organizations in the large enterprises as well as very large segment across different verticals.

“There is a lot of platform to accommodate big data. But it remains to be seen how enterprises maintain all that information and use it as a tool to make it a business. Will enterprises be able to leverage the new information? Will they be able to sift through all that information and will they end paying for information that is not relevant are some of the some concerns of big data,” says Harisha.

But the real hurdle most enterprises face is their ability to run analytics on their structured data and unearth actionable insights. It is only when they are able to get their analytics act together can they look at big data or unstructured data that resides outside their data centers

Social Media
Social media has seen a lot of buzz in the past one year. With more people wielding the keyboard to talk about issues and garner public support, it is no wonder it has caught the attention of the government and enterprises alike.

“While capitalism won’t collapse, there are fundamental changes under way as it morphs to a new form that is more in tune with the technology and attitudes of the 21st century,” says Nigel Rayner, research vice president at Gartner. “The coming capitalist era is that of the Facebook generation, in which the values and behaviours that pervade the Internet and social media will also be adopted by innovative and disruptive businesses. With half the world’s population under the age of 25, this may happen sooner than many think.”

According to a new report by IBM, 46 per cent of the companies increased their investments in social technologies in 2012, only 22 per cent are said to have managers who are prepared or equipped to incorporate social tools and practices into their daily operations. This attitude is mostly seen at the company’s middle management.

“Businesses are struggling to make sense of the vast amount of data generated from social networks. To transform a vision into a reality, executive leadership must guide middle management on the value of being a social business, and build company-wide support for the use of social practices across organizational functions,” says Kevin Custis, VP and Global Leader Social Business and Mobility Services, IBM Global Business Services.

“Social media at the consumer level it has seen a lot of uptake. It is more mainstream now. It remains to be seen how enterprises will leverage it. For example creating a social media kind of environment is something most forward-looking enterprise are implementing. But the use of the data in the social media outside of the enterprise, how do we leverage that as a part of the conceptual data and how do we leverage it to commercially benefit the organisation is something IT big wigs will have to look into,” suggests Achuthan Nair.

While many enterprises are active on social networks, the challenge moving forward will be to realize tangible business benefits from social media.