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Top 3 Initiatives for CIO’s in 2012

This past January, I attended the HP Global Partner Conference. I listened to an informative session by Gartner. According to their surveys, the top three initiatives for CIO’s this year are:

  • Business Intelligence
  • Cloud Computing
  • Mobile

Here’s the latest graphic from Gartner for Emerging Technologies:

Gartner Hype Cycle - 2012

Why Business Intelligence?

The BI and analytics market was the second-fastest growing sector in the overall worldwide enterprise software market in 2011. IT continues to spend on it, and it is becoming more and more of an Enterprise push. It is becoming common for marketing department managers to get a bigger share of the IT budget than IT managers. Businesses need this information to make better business decisions. In the past, many times CEO’s had to lead with their finger in the wind and a feeling in their gut based on what they knew to be true with the data they had at the time. Now that EVERYTHING in the world that can be thought of can now be measured, it allows for those feelings to have some form of justification with data to base it upon. It allows a lot of information to be filtered to what is needed to make those critical business decisions. This is an industry changing technology. With social media and other metrics entering the picture, you can expect the amount of data used in BI solutions to continue to grow.

Cloudy With a Chance of Slow

We don’t know yet if the Cloud is going to solve all the problems for IT, but it’s safe to say it will create more. I  have already seen new issues for performance testers with the emergence of “business jitter”. I first heard about this in August 2011 when David Linthicum mentioned it in an Infoworld posting on Cloud Computing:

“…cloud services tend to have performance profiles that are variable in nature, depending on what goes on in that cloud at any particular moment. When I log performance on cloud-based processes — some that are I/O intensive, some that are not — I get results that vary randomly throughout the day. In fact, they appear to have the pattern of a very jittery process… I suspect this ‘jitter’ is not at all random, but based on the number of other processes or users sharing the same resources at that time.”

Here are a few other references on jitter and the unpredictable nature of the cloud to check out:


Regardless of this issue, or many other obstacles, the Cloud is going to win. It doesn’t matter that we have not yet been through the “Trough of Disillusionsment”. No matter how much we would like to see less hype and more substance/proof that Cloud Computing great in spite of the current shortcomings, it is a disruptive technology. It will be the platform of choice soon.

Mobile Enlightenment

Unlike Cloud Computing, Mobile is entering the stage where IT is recognizing the value and learning how to gain the most ROI from the technology. The GUI we’ve known for the past two decades is being replaced with a new way of interfacing with applications through touch and movement, rather than mouse clicks and keystrokes. Application stores for Apple and Android have resulted in billions of downloads, and we’re starting to see the “app store” concept move into the Enterprise. For example, HP recently announced “HP Anywhere” that provides a new platform for delivering mobile versions of their enterprise applications. The hope is that HTML5 will provide a solution to current cross-platform issues so that most applications can be delivered simply as a  web app. It’s evident right now in the testing community that there is a ton of mobile application development going on, because it’s all being tested right now. Companies are seeking mobile test automation solutions to get the most coverage in the shortest amount of time possible. It’s more than just traditional application testing. Because the network (carrier) is a big part of the user experience, getting the true end user experience under all conditions is challenge. ADA Compliance Testing has an increased scope, extending to multiple kinds of devices. Power consumption testing ensures the application isn’t a battery hog if it controls brightness of the screen and other related controls – usually not something considered for laptops. These additional testing measures will become even more important as the next generation replaces their real “stuff” (i.e. DVD’s, books, and other media) with the digital equivalent that they take with them everywhere and/or access through the Cloud.

The Natives Are Restless

How will these new technologies mature? “Digital Natives” will drive it. Wikipedia describes Digital Natives as “a person who was born during or after the general introduction of digital technologia and through interacting with digital technology from an early age”. Gartner says they are “today’s students and younger generations that speak natively the language of computers, mobile phones, video games and the Internet…” What happens when they become the next generation CIO’s? Gartner believes they will drive significant changes in IT and technology by 2018. This is something us old geezers (like me) – called Digital Immigrants, need to take note of. Everything-as-a-Service, Bring Your Own Device, everything by the drink from somewhere in the cloud becomes standard. Those of used the way IT has been in times past will have to adapt to the way it is going to be in the near future. Enterprise software is going to change in the way it is purchased, and the way it is consumed. That means testing is going to change. Not the fundamental principles, but strategy and approach.

The majority of testing and IT professionals working today will be affected by these three emerging technologies, but are they ready?  Are you prepared for the shift?

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