Tipping Point? Gartner Annoints Cloud Computing Top Strategic Technology

by: Jeffrey M. Kaplan

One of my favorite events of the year used to be Gartner’s Symposium in Orlando because of the locale and multi-day immersion in IT prognostications.

While I often disagreed with the POV of Gartner’s analysts, I found it useful to hear what they had to say because of their influence over enterprise IT and business decision-makers.

The past few years, I intentionally stayed away from the event because Gartner had fallen so behind the rapidly changing marketplace when it comes to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud computing. Instead, I’ve enjoyed referring to Gartner as a ‘lagging indicator’ of market trends.

However, I was very pleased to read the news today that Gartner has put cloud computing at the top of its list of top strategic technologies for 2010.

Although I could discard this announcement as another example of Gartner’s slow recognition of key market trends, I also believe that it clearly moves Gartner’s thinking about the cloud computing market beyond the ‘peak of inflated expectations’ and ‘trough of disillusionment’ onto the ’slope of enlightment’ in its infamous hype-cycle.

(Of course, I’ve been suggesting in my presentations to client and industry audiences that IT and business decision-makers have been on this slope of enlightenment for more than a year.)

What is also worth noting is that eight of the other nine strategic technologies for 2010 identified by Gartner are also intertwined with cloud computing, with the only exception being flash memory on their list.

Hopefully, Gartner’s recognition of the cloud computing movement will be another ‘tipping point’ for this nanscent market, and 2010 will see even greater growth and maturation of this important new IT paradigm.