Populism will drive the next IT wave: Forrester

Social networking and consumer devices will dominate, reseracher says

The next wave of change within IT organisations will be fuelled by the proliferation of consumer devices, social networking tools and cloud-based collaboration services, according to a report by Forrester Research.

What Forrester calls technology populism will force information and knowledge management professionals to rethink how they currently evaluate, provision and support collaborative software and services. This sea change will present IT departments with a number of opportunities and challenges that will upend the traditional way that technology is deployed.

"Technology populism is driven by people's needs to interact," says Forrester analyst Matthew Brown. "Today's organisations are increasingly dominated by Generation Xers and Millennials, a workforce that is adept at provisioning its own technology and one that is willing to shun traditional methods of communication. For many employees, the telephone and email are being replaced by text messaging, instant messaging and mobile devices, such as iPhones and BlackBerrys, and social computing tools like Facebook and Wikipedia."

According to Brown, "One leading technology vendor told Forrester that one of its clients required Sony PlayStation support because many of its younger employees used PlayStations instead of PCs.".

Other insights from the report include:

-- There is a new generation of applications based on network interactions and companies are learning how to exploit services such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and salesforce.com for business purposes to generate sales leads, recruit talent, and test and improve products.

-- IT views Web 2.0 favourably. Despite popular opinion, IT leaders support Web 2.0 technologies in the workplace: Another recent Forrester study showed that 72% of IT departments were using some form of Web 2.0 technology.

In summary, Brown says "Technology populism is here to stay — it is bigger than a single company or software provider".

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