When it comes to monitoring new tech trends, Gartner is advising IT managers to be on the lookout for the ‘consumerisation’ of new products, claiming it will shape the direction of technology in the enterprise.

The analyst believes consumer technology is having a direct impact on the enterprise IT shop, to the extent that if IT managers fail to grasp the hot products of 2005 they could be out of the technology race in 2006.

Gartner senior vice-president and chief research officer Bob Hayward said a look at hardware in the enterprise over the past few years shows there has been little innovation.

Real change, he said, has been in the consumer space – and it is seeping into corporate IT.

Innovation is coming from mobile handsets, personal video recorders, gaming consoles, iPods and the ecosystem around them.

“IT managers need to get ahead of the game and understand these products, put the right security policies in place and embrace them,” Hayward said. “If you don’t already have a group [in your company] focused on consumer land, you might be missing out.”

Hayward said there are five key reasons for singling out consumer technology as an emerging trend for enterprises in 2006: consumer technology impacts employees; it can provide clear cost advantages over traditional corporate hardware and software; potential employees will know all about it; customers will already be using it; and if you try to stop your employees using consumer technology for work, it will backfire.

“In terms of cost savings, look at the inexpensive storage from iPods and Google mail, where you can now get 2GB of free storage,” Hayward said.

“When I tell corporate IT representatives that the new PlayStation 3 [PS3] chip has a throughput of 2.5 teraflops, which makes it one of the top 500 computers in terms of speed, they then think of how long it would take to hack them and have 10 PS3s running as fast as a supercomputer. It is a reflection of how innovation has changed.”

Hayward will present a session, entitled ‘Digital disruptions: major trends re-shaping companies and industries’, at the Gartner Symposium ITXPO 2005. This will be held in Sydney from 15 to 18 November 2005.