7 grand challenges facing IT


I came across this report by Gartner while writing my previous post. It talks about major challenges faced by IT Industry that have not been resolved as yet. I am reproducing that report here for readers benefit.

Here are the seven IT Grand Challenges as identified by Gartner.

Never having to manually recharge devices:

Today, the ubiquity of portable computing and communications devices powered by battery means that many people would find it highly desirable to either have their batteries charged remotely or their devices powered by a remote source, bypassing the use of batteries altogether.  Despite more than 100 years of research since the invention of the Tesla Coil in the late nineteenth century, the most notable progress to date was achieved by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in July 2007 in their experiment to transfer non-radiative power. By this measure, any commercial application of wireless powering still seems a long way off.

Parallel Programming:

Rather than simply creating faster single-core processors to perform tasks serially, another way to meet the constant demand for faster processor speed is to develop multiple, slower speed processors that perform tasks serially. Simulations, modeling, entertainment and massive data mining would all benefit from advances in parallel computing. However, a challenge with parallel computing is to create applications that fully exploit a “multi-core” architecture by dividing a problem into smaller individual problems addressed by individual processors. To overcome this, key issues will need to be addressed, including effectively breaking up processes into specific sub-processes, determining which tasks can be handled simultaneously by multiple processes, scheduling tasks to be processed simultaneously and designing the architecture of the parallel processing environment.

Non Tactile, Natural Computing Interface:

The idea of interacting with computers without any mechanical interface has long been a desirable goal in computing. Some of the many challenges that remain in this area include the ability to detect gestures, developing a gesture dictionary and the need for real-time processing. Another set of challenges relate to natural language processing, which include speech synthesis, speech recognition, natural language understanding, natural language generation, machine translation and translating one natural language into another.

Automated Speech Translation:

Once the many hurdles of natural language processing are overcome to yield human-to-computer communications in one language, the complexity extends further when translation and output is required to a target language that is understandable to a human. Some rudimentary systems have already been created to accomplish basic speech translation, such as one-way and two-way translations.

Persistent and Reliable Long-Term Storage:

Current technologies are hard-pressed to perfectly preserve Dr. Francine Berman’s 2006 estimate of 161 Exabytes (x10 to the 18th power) of digital information on digital media for more than 20 years. The barriers to long-term archiving (in excess of 100 years) that must be overcome include format, hardware, software, metadata, information retrieval, just to mention a few.

Increase Programmer Productivity 100-fold:

As business and society’s demand for software development increases, and the apparent decline of students pursuing software engineering and computer science degrees intensifies, removing uncertainty from meeting future demands will have to be met by increasing the output, or productivity, per programmer. While the exploration and development of tools to enhance productivity continues to capture attention, it would appear that effectively and efficiently exploiting reusable code is one of the most encouraging rays of hope to yield more output per programmer. But many challenges exist there as well. Minimizing the time required to find the perfect software module and avoiding the need to modify reusable software are among the many challenges.

Identifying the Financial Consequences of IT Investing:

One of the most perplexing challenges faced by IT leaders has been to convey the business value of IT in terms readily understandable by business executives. As a discipline that conveys the business performance and results to internal executives and personnel only, management accounting could offer business advice and recommendations that would quantify the consequences of a particular IT deployment. Unlike financial accounting measurements which are standard across public companies, the particular management accounting metrics could be different for each company. This Grand Challenge would be considered conquered when a request for an IT project was argued with the following certainty: “If you invest in our IT proposal, you will see an additional $0.03 earnings per share directly attributable to this project by the third quarter of next year.”

  1. jaremy says

    good kind of informative blog.
    it is very difficult to persuade top management if they are non IT people.
    so top level management commitment is required.

  2. Gopinath Mavinkurve says

    I have subscribed to your blog and find all posts very informative and useful!

    Gartner report has enlisted 7 challenges for IT today.

    But as a user I would like to add 2 more challenges:

    1. Introduction of fingerprint-recognition and eye (iris)- recognition for access control to replace passwords.

    2. Introducing alternative methods of access at ATMs in times of system failures.

    I am an occasional humour writer and would urge your readers to read my blog and article in the Times of India on 3.7.2008 (also posted on my blog “Gopinath’s Artickles” at


    Gopinath Mavinkurve

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