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technology radar nov 2016

Thoughtworks’ Bi-Annual Technology Radar Highlights Emerging Trends in Augmented Reality and Changing Structure of Software Teams

Leading Technologists Issue Trends Report Alongside Visualization Tool for Companies to Develop Their Own Tech Strategies

Thoughtworks, a global technology company, today issued the latest Technology Radar, a bi-annual assessment of trends and technology significantly impacting software development and shaping the future of tech. Prepared by the Thoughtworks Technology Advisory Board and designed for technology stakeholders from CIOs to developers, the Radar outlines the current changes in software development and implementation that Thoughtworks delivers for its clients around the world. In conjunction with the release of the Technology Radar, Thoughtworks has, for the first time, developed a free visualization tool which enables firms to map their internal technology landscape and ensures their business and technology strategies are in line with emerging trends and latest industry developments.


“Our latest Technology Radar highlights the current trends that are impacting the way the industry operates, from the rapid adoption of augmented and virtual reality to the way teams are organized,” said Dr. Rebecca Parsons, CTO of Thoughtworks. “With the launch of this Radar comes the opportunity for leaders to visualize their tech strategy by creating their own radar. The new tool provides an exciting chance for organizations to put technology at the core of their business and to better understand how to reap its benefits”


“Adopting and staying ahead of current trends in technology is vital for business success, which makes the Technology Radar so pertinent,” said Craig Gorsline, President and Chief Commercial Officer of Thoughtworks. “By showcasing these consistent changes and allowing others to get involved in creating their own radar, we hope more businesses can implement necessary changes and help their organizations thrive.”


The graphical nature of the Radar groups items into techniques, tools, platforms, and languages and frameworks. These are further grouped into four rings: Adopt, Trial, Assess, and Hold, in order to give a clear perspective on the current position on these items. 


The notable themes in this edition of Technology Radar include:


Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) Easing Towards the Mainstream - Hardware such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Microsoft HoloLens is maturing to the point that early adopters can reap benefits without fumbling with immature technology. Although software platforms like OpenVR and Unity have long been mature, new natural language processing (NLP) tools like Nuance Mix, and hardware that provides natural interactions will have a huge impact on the adoption of AR and VR. We will see significant challenges in the creation and delivery of AR and VR content as the skills and capabilities lag behind the pace of hardware, particularly in the enterprise.


Intelligent Empowerment - Long-time R&D topics like machine learning and artificial intelligence suddenly have practical applications through frameworks like Nuance Mix and Google’s TensorFlow. Companies frequently open-source sophisticated libraries and tools in this space that would have been stratospherically expensive and therefore restricted a decade ago, making them available to a wide audience of developers. Many factors have evolved and combined to make new tools possible: commodity computing, targeting specific hardware like GPUs and cloud resources. This is an efficient way to make use of the Big Data that’s been stored.


Docker as Process, PaaS as Machine, Microservices Architecture as Programming Model - Developers can think of a container as a self-contained process and the PaaS as the common deployment target, using the microservices architecture as the common style. Decoupling the architecture allows the the same for teams, cutting down on coordination cost among silos. Its attractiveness to both developers and DevOps has made this the de facto standard for new development in many organizations.


The Holistic Effect of Team Structure - Tech companies are popularizing the “you build it, you run it” style of team autonomy, and we’re seeing the same product thinking applied to enterprise projects. When restructuring teams yields better results, it illustrates once again that software development is still mostly a communication problem. Building cross-functional teams increases the beneficial surface area of communication across traditionally segregated job roles, which in turn removes friction imposed by artificial structures like silos.


Visit Thoughtworks.com/radar to access the interactive version or download the PDF.


Organizations can visualize their own strategy and go through the radar creation exercise in order to:


  • Objectively assess what’s working and what isn’t
  • Pollinate innovation across teams and experiment accordingly
  • Balance the risk in technology portfolios
  • Determine the type of technology organization you want to be
  • Break down silos and improve communication


Get started at Thoughtworks.com/radar and join the conversation on Twitter at #TWTechRadar.