Reimagine IT is the theme for Gartner IT Expo down here in Orlando. It’s good timing for the new Level 3, and the Gartner sessions are interesting both from being a tech company trying to understand customers’ hot issues, and from looking at my own company internally.
Similar to last year, key technologies are Cloud and Mobility. Also, Gartner is challenging IT departments to help their businesses understand how to use your own information to compete better. More consumer-driven technologies like contextual computing are coming to the Enterprise. The message that CIOs must lead from the front has more urgency. Times are not going to be easy for a while so you need to deliberately manage creative destruction, break down barriers and go on the offense to help your business innovate.
My most recent “oh yeah” moment (maybe I’m slow) is that every Enterprise with internal development now has to build their apps for tablets and smartphones. Gartner is forecasting that PC-apps will decline sharply in the next few years. It shouldn’t be a surprise as I’ve seen the tablet applications in our own company take off, particularly for our Sales teams.
Gartner is also telling IT that they need to become an internal Cloud Broker. I was really surprised to see Gartner explaining Cloud Brokers in the kick-off keynote, and telling their crowd of 12,000 (yes I was in the overflow 3-ballroom remote at the Swan, about a mile from the Dolphin), that not only do you need to evolve to a Cloud Broker model internally but you need to find a Broker to help you integrate your cloud apps.
2012 may also be the year of Cloud fatigue—where Cloud will hit the “trough of disillusionment” in the hype cycle. Even Paul Maritz, CEO of VMware, acknowledged in his session that a couple dozen cloud SaaS apps had “arrived uninvited in the night” throughout his company, and business users will find the most efficient solution with or without IT’s help.
Cloud, mobility and rethinking IT. It’s an exciting place to be.
As a side note, we’ve got a booth here in the exhibit hall! Shortly after setting up the booth on Monday, we had a customer stop by to tell us how much he likes working with Level 3, and how much better his experience has been than with their incumbent provider. If you’ve ever worked a booth at an industry tradeshow like this, you know how good that feels. Anyway, stop by and say hi if you get a chance.