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Supermodels, Megatrends and Ultra Big Paradigm Shifts to the Cloud

Gartner is suggesting that users’ use of “personal clouds” effectively signals the end of the PC era

Okay, so an admission before I go one step further - the supermodel in this headline is something of a misnomer or misapplication of the term designed (I shamefacedly admit) to draw the reader in.

Forget supermodels if you will and jump straight to megatrends for analyst house Gartner's latest buzz-phrase to describe the impact that new cloud computing models are having on the way we develop, use and integrate with software applications at all levels.

The PC Is Dead, Long Live the Cloud
Fundamentally, Gartner is suggesting that users' use of "personal clouds" (and the various devices they use to access them) effectively signals the end of the PC era in terms of our trusted desktop and laptop devices being the sole (or at least primary) corporate access vehicle.

Hot among the megatrends we apparently need to be aware of is so-called "app-ification." This theory details the popularization of the term "app" (as opposed to software application) and the fact that users consume this type of software in a more transient and disposable manner than that which one might associate with a heavyweight corporate application, such as that found in an Enterprise Resource Planning system for example.

As chintzy as the app-ification term might be, there is arguably now a fairly profound impact being exerted on how applications are written and managed in corporate environments. According to Gartner, these new application types also raise the prospect of greater cross-platform portability: "Small user experience (UX) apps are used to adjust a server- or cloud-resident application to the unique characteristics of a specific device or scenario. One application can now be exposed in multiple ways and used in varying situations by the user."

On the plus side here, we may see new levels of user satisfaction and productivity. On the ‘not-so-plus' side of the equation, this may well require businesses to fundamentally rethink how they deliver applications and services to users.

Cloud Is Glue; Users Are the Scissors and Services Are the Paper
Discussion in this arena theorizes around the idea that cloud services will effectively become a sort of glue that connects a variety of web-enabled devices used to access our core computing needs.

Other megatrends in Gartner's cloud-powered über-future include the continuing impact of the consumerization of IT and the fact that users are more technologically savvy and so have very different expectations of technology.

This new world sees users becoming innovators through the so-called democratization of technology, i.e., anyone can access serious computing power, affordable mobile devices are everywhere and social media empowers and emboldens users to push application (sorry, app) usage into new channels and new directions.

Virtualization has a significant impact here too. Gartner argues that we now view a world where applications have become released from the "peculiarities" of individual devices, operating systems or even processor architectures.

"Virtualization provides a way to move the legacy of applications and processes developed in the PC era forward into the new emerging world. This provides low-power devices access to much-greater processing power, thus expanding their utility and increasing the reach of processor-intensive applications," says the company.

The new app landscape is all about services from the cloud, accessed via a variety of devices from our desktops to our televisions - and ultimately our fridges no doubt. Gartner suggests that users will use a collection of devices, with the PC remaining one of many options, but no one single device will be the primary hub.

To finish - although some of this theorizing may sound like it strays into the realm of consumer IT, that may be where we can learn our best lessons for CIO-level IT strategy. If we get all this right, then we'll be riding on the next ultra big paradigm shift with a supermodel by our side right?

See, I knew there had to be one in there somewhere!

This post was first published on the Enterprise CIO Forum.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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