It might seem odd, given I make my living helping organisations with their IT, that I am what marketing types call a “late adopter”. I was just about the last person I know to get a DVD player and even my mother got a high definition TV at home before me. I skipped the first 3 iPhones and I am only a month into my first tablet. But being a late adopter doesn’t mean being ignorant about the latest developments. I may be a late adopter but I am also an early monitor; trying to keep up with new ideas so that I can, hopefully, help others. Adopting new ways of working or technologies should be a well informed decision not a reflex. Here are a variety of areas that I am monitoring, as they may develop into useful tools in the future, together with some research topics which I think deserve more attention than they are currently receiving.
Every few months the IT press is swept by talk of the “next big thing” and how it will totally transform the IT market, change how IT users work, shake organisations, batter IT departments and threaten CIOs. In reaction many commentators will post a wave of comments explaining that the “next big thing” is not new at all and has been a core part of IT for years. There are always a few that point out that IBM Mainframes were doing the same thing decades ago. The current wave of press hype seems to be focused on the combination of Social Networking, Cloud computing and Mobile devices and trends built upon these components such as “Consumerisation of IT” and “Bring Your Own Device”. In this case I think there is some substance to the arguments made by both camps but both seem to be neglecting what could be a slower acting and more profound shift - a shift in the application of technology rather than the technology itself.