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Gartner Highlights 2012 Cool Vendors Shaping Business and Consumer Strategies
Cloud, social, mobile and information are the four key IT forces -- alongside the continued impact of consumerization -- that are combining to produce a "nexus" in which "Cool Vendors" will operate, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner's 2012 Cool Vendors research series identifies the innovative companies, products and services that will shape business and consumer strategies in the future.

This year Gartner has profiled more than 320 Cool Vendors, in more than 75 reports, which offer innovations relating to data analysis and management, cloud services brokerage, people-centered computing, software infrastructure, security, risk management, applications, consulting, outsourcing, green IT and telecom operations management, as well as other markets. By definition, Cool Vendors are small vendors that offer innovative products or services. The innovation may be in how the product works or in what can be accomplished by those using the product or service. A list of this year's Cool Vendors is available at .

"The four forces, along with consumerization, have essentially set the stage for a next generation of capabilities," said Daryl Plummer, managing vice president and Gartner Fellow. "Combining the ideas of service delivery, consumer technologies, collaboration and massive information is advancing the idea of business success being built on customer outcomes. Cloud computing provides the delivery of new capabilities, while social collaboration is expanding the way in which people interact with one another and businesses. Beyond that, the use of mobile devices has extended the reach of users and their involvement with information from many sources."

"In 2011, we highlighted the consumer-driven nature of IT, but this year the need is to understand the effect of the combination of the four key forces on Cool Vendors," said Michele Cantara, research vice president at Gartner. "Cool Vendors who either explicitly, or implicitly, benefit from the combination of these forces generate new value opportunities for customers."

With cloud computing, Gartner has found that organizations across many vertical sectors share the sense of urgency that companies have to institute a strategy for cloud computing that is viable and near term. However, beyond corporate strategies, technology strategies are also being affected by cloud computing, as well with organizations facing choices such as platform middleware, cloud brokerage, or management and governance. Technology professionals will benefit from an exploration of the Cool Vendors to uncover emerging cloud specialists.

Mobility has surged to the front of any strategy seeking to support modern ideals and enable stronger branding, reach and impact of applications. For example, retail organizations have embraced and advanced the mobility opportunity. Vendors support retailers and mall operators in the placement of sensors that communicate mobile device location data to produce location-specific information to be used by retailers and customers to enhance the buying experience.

The velocity and variety of information is on the rise, so the ability to capture, sort, analyze or capitalize on that information must grow. It is becoming clear that data today is not the same as data in the past. It is less static, more real-time, more varied, unstructured and massive. The opportunity is to dive in, and find a way to discover patterns that will help a business expand.

"The four converging IT forces will be critical to the success of businesses as the 21st century advances," said Mr. Plummer. "Cool Vendors point the way to the innovations, which will allow this nexus of forces to be tamed before it drops many companies into chaos. By definition, Cool Vendors are small vendors that are offering innovative products or services. The innovation may be in how the product works or in what can be accomplished by those using the product or service."

Although the research is extensive, it does not include all Cool Vendors as not every company that is making waves can be included. Therefore, analysts have chosen a selection of companies based on Gartner's sense of how impactful these vendors can be today and in the near future.

Additional information is available in the Special Report "Cool Vendors 2012: The Nexus Alters Business and Consumer Strategies," which is available on Gartner's website at . The Special Report includes links to more than 75 reports, as well as video commentary.

Published Wednesday, May 09, 2012 8:31 AM by David Marshall
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