Cloud platforms are increasingly the "test bed for new collaborative experiences" in the enterprise, analyst Gene Leganza told Forrester's Enterprise Architecture Forum in London yesterday.
Cloud platforms, together with mobile technologies and social media make up what the analyst house dubs 'empowered technologies' that, according to Leganza, will be crucial for enterprise architects over the next two years.
Leganza identified four main trends which he urged enterprise architects to try to combine in their plans. In addition to empowered technologies, he urged a focus on process-centric data, agile and fit-to-purpose applications and smart technology management.
"Collaboration has traditionally been very document based. The shift is to be more people-centric - this is where the social media comes in.
"It's more about hooking people up together, and using customer community platforms [like Facebook and Twitter] and integrating the information from there into business applications," he said.
However, Leganza said that the main difficulty with this is managing the unstructured content.
In addition, he said that telepresence is also gaining widespread use, partly because vast improvements have been made to video technology, but also because people are increasingly mobile and work in a more globalised environment.
In terms of process-centric data, Forrester sees a trend for connecting data and intelligence, which is linked to the managing of unstructured content.
"It's not just about real-time data, it's about agility, getting there quickly. It's pretty early days for this stuff, tagging data and so on," said Leganza.
The third trend of agile and fit-to-purpose applications refers to the development world. It is driven by business process management (BPM) becoming 'Web 2.0-enabled', for example, as organisations use technologies like wikis to document processes, and 'process mashups' to enable users to create quick end user interfaces to make their own extensions to existing BPM implementations.
Finally, continued virtualisation of clients and infrastructure resources is driving the trend of smart technology management, as enterprise architects look to operate their IT infrastructure and deliver applications in a flexible and efficient manner.
But rather than looking at these technologies as individual trends, Leganza believes that they will deliver the greatest value if they are joined up.
"Combining them will fit them into meaningful business scenarios. So, for example, [adopting] not just tablets, but also the collaboration that the tablet technology enables," he said.
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