#2: Apple And The iPad Rock The Enterprise. In Apple's most-recent earnings call, the company disclosed three pieces of news of extraordinary significance to the technology world: first, that Apple's quarterly revenue had for the first time topped $20 billion; second, that the iPad and iPhone are achieving unprecedented penetration within the Fortune 500; and third, Steve Jobs openly and quite bluntly attacked Google's mobile strategy and its Android technology as un-open (if not fully closed), overly complicated for developers, and self-serving and disingenuous. The comments from Jobs are vital not just because of his status as CEO of one of the world's most-successful and iconic brands, but also because Apple's products and philosophies have jumped species—from the consumer world to the enterprise—and are having profound repercussions on how CIOs shape their own strategies for the next few years.
#1: The Surge To Optimized Systems. IBM invented them, Larry Ellison supersized them, SAP has revolutionized them, HP is promising them, and just about every single major IT vendor is rushing into the market for appliance-like systems that have shown great potential in redefining the types of business value that truly innovative IT can offer.
The new wave of highly optimized and deeply integrated hardware-software combinations known as optimized systems rushed to the forefront of IT innovation in 2010, promising the seductive combination of dramatically improved performance and sharply reduced customer-side integration, tuning, and tinkering.
These new hardware-software combos are being aimed at everything from OLTP to data warehousing to analytics to Exchange servers to middleware, BI, security and beyond, pushing well past the valuable but narrow niches—primarily data warehousing—that until recently were about the only areas in which appliances and purpose-built systems operated.
Because these optimized systems can offer such significant improvements in speed, performance, throughput, power, and range of capabilities, and because they can also significantly reduce the amount of time and effort IT organizations have to devote to tinkering, tuning, tweaking, wiring, and integrating, the rise of these new purpose-built systems is my choice as the #1 development in our list of the Top 10 Tech Stories Of The Year.
That's it for this year's list, and I'm sure that next year's will be even more compelling, challenging, and fun—this business is certainly not for the faint of heart.
Bob Evans is senior VP and director of
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