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Live@Gartner Symposium: What the Nexus of Forces Means to ECM

Day 2 of Gartner Symposium started off with the Analyst Keynote and Senior Vice President of Research Peter Sondergaard explaining Gartner’s major theme of the 2012 Symposium: The Nexus of Forces. What are the forces? The major movements rapidly propelling IT – cloud, mobile, social and information. These four phenomenon are changing the IT world and the world in general as we know it and will continue to for the foreseeable future.

How do these forces play in the world of enterprise content management? Let’s take them one at a time.

Cloud. According to Sondergaard, this is the “end of the beginning” for the cloud. The cloud is a permanent fixture in the IT world and is just coming into its own. The cost benefits are often the major reason for choosing to deploy in the cloud, but the greater “capacity, parallelism, resilience” will be more and more important as the cloud continues to mature. This is certainly true in the ECM world. More and more customers are moving toward hosting and software-as-a-service models for deploying their ECM solution. Solutions with options for both on-premises and cloud deployments will help bridge the gap as IT departments choose which applications to deploy in the cloud and which to keep onsite.

Mobile. According to Gartner, by 2016, 70 percent of mobile workers will use a tablet to complete their work and by 2020, 30 billion devices will have Internet connectivity 100 percent of the time. Another 70 billion will have connectivity intermittently. “It’s about computing at the right time and the right place,” says Songergaard. Customers and employees are forcing their IT departments to move towards mobile applications, and ECM has to keep up with the demand for mobile applications for retrieval and workflow.

Social. The obvious play for ECM is managing the content created on social networks. However, there’s more to social than social networks – social is about designing IT solutions for how people work. It’s about giving people the information they need, when they need it. For ECM and other enterprise solutions, it means that your information finds you instead of you going out and finding information.

Information. Social, mobile and cloud forces will create massive, unprecedented amounts of data. It will be CIO’s “biggest opportunity and biggest challenge,” says Sondergaard. IT will have to manage “hybrid data – data that is both structured and unstructured” to create the analysis that will drive enterprises forward. While many core line-of-business systems handle structured data, it will be up to technologies like ECM to handle the unstructured. By handling big data well, enterprises will serve their customers and citizens better and create competitive advantage.
 
These forces promise a bright future for IT, albeit difficult. Change and transformation is never easy and there is a lot of work to do and a lot of skill sets to develop before we get to the point where this nexus of forces becomes comfortable, but as Sondergaard noted as he closed the keynote, “May the nexus of forces be with you.”

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