What are the top trends that will significantly impact enterprise IT in the next three years? We at MSPmentor have our own opinions and some predictions about MSP 4.0, but today we wanted to share a list from IT research firm Gartner, Inc. (IT), too.

Gartner said it considered the following factors in assembling its list: a high potential for disruption to IT or the business; the need for a major dollar investment; and the risk of being late to adopt.

The outcome? Gartner's top ten strategic technology trends for 2014.

Mobile device diversity and management

This prediction shouldn't be a surprise to any of our readers (as long as you've been keeping up with your reading!). Gartner said it expects the mobile workforce to double or triple in size because of bring your own device (BYOD). With that being said, IT will continue to be a key player in this area, setting security policies while balancing flexibility for employees.

Mobile apps and applications

According to Gartner, "Apps will continue to grow while applications will begin to shrink. Apps are smaller, and more targeted, while a larger application is more comprehensive."

"The next evolution in user experience will be to leverage intent, inferred from emotion and actions, to motivate changes in end-user behavior," Gartner said.

The Internet of Everything

Where will the Internet lead us in 2014? No longer are we just connected through PCs and mobile devices. We've expanded as a society into other areas, too (e.g. cars, televisions).

"The problem is that most enterprises and technology vendors have yet to explore the possibilities of an expanded internet and are not operationally or organizationally ready," Gartner said. "Imagine digitizing the most important products, services and assets."

There are four basic usage models: manage, monetize, operate and extend. According to Gartner, these models can be applied to the Internet of Things, which includes people, information, things and places).

Hybrid cloud and IT as service broker

Gartner said bringing personal clouds and external private clouds must be brought together, which is where the rise of cloud service brokers (CSBs) will come into play, handling aggregation, integration and customization of services.

Cloud/client architecture

Cloud/client computing models are shifting, especially in the next year, Gartner said. "The increasingly complex demands of mobile users will drive apps to demand increasing amounts of server-side computing and storage capacity."

The era of personal cloud

Gartner said personal cloud will move from devices to services. Users will leverage multiple devices, including the PC, but will not rely on one specific device. Enter the personal cloud.

Software-defined anything

Software-defined networking (SDN)? Nope. Gartner said we should be looking out for software-defined anything (SDx), "a collective term that encapsulates the growing market momentum for improved standards for infrastructure programmability and data center interoperability driven by automation inherent to cloud computing, DevOps and fast infrastructure provisioning."

Pay close attention to vendors focusing on specific areas of software-defined, while also deploying SDx moves to aid market adjacency plays.

Web-Scale IT

Gartner defines Web-scale IT as "a pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting by rethinking positions across several dimensions."

According to Gartner, if enterprises want to keep pace with large cloud services providers, they're going to have to re-invent the way IT is being delivered, since these large cloud services providers are already doing so. 

Smart machines

Ever hear of a smart machine? If not, Gartner expects you will. These smart machines include personal assistants, smart advisors, advanced global industrial systems and public availability of early examples of autonomous vehicles.

The IT research firm believes that individuals will invest in these device to be more successful, turning the smart machine era becoming the most disruptive era in IT.

3-D printing

According to Gartner, worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 75 percent in 2014, followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015. Maybe its time we start paying attention to this trend? Not a lot has been reported on it, but maybe this is a wake up call.

What do you think of Gartner's analysis? What did they forget? What are they wrong about? We'll continue our coverage of the latest trends in the industry.