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Recovery and Transformation Lie Ahead for IT

January 10, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Most industry analysts and insiders predict better times ahead for the economy, business, and along with them, the IT market. After a lengthy recession that has knocked most of us for a loop, we’ve all been anxiously waiting for a return to normalcy. But along with a much-needed recovery, research firm IDC is eyeing several other changes or “transformations” in store for those of us who make our living in the tech world.

The reportIDC Predictions 2010: Recovery and Transformation,” released in December, forecasts a 3.2 percent jump in worldwide IT spending this year, reaching 2008’s level of around $1.5 trillion. Spending on hardware, software, and IT services will each grow in the 2 percent to 4 percent range, with hardware enjoying the strongest gains. Emerging markets will likely account for more than half of the growth in IT this year, with spending shooting up 8 percent to 13 percent in Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
 
As tech spending bounces back, the market will experience several changes or transformations that will impact IT professionals along with the rest of the industry, IDC said. In particular, the report pegs two areas ripe for growth in the year ahead: cloud computing and mobile services.
 
Intent on cutting costs in the data center and elsewhere, companies have gravitated to the cloud to outsource their storage needs, applications, and other IT and business services. That trend will jump in the coming year with a greater emphasis on cloud application platforms that offer Software-as-a-Service. As a result, IDC sees opportunities in such offshoots as public cloud services, private clouds, cloud-based appliances, and cloud management tools.
 
The popularity of the mobile market will also transform the IT industry in the coming year and years, IDC said. With more than 1 billion mobile devices forecast to hit the Internet by the end of 2010, the smartphone will challenge the PC for the hearts and minds of users and developers alike. Mobile applications will of course tag along for the ride, with the number of iPhone apps tripling to 300,000 and Android apps rising fivefold to 100,000 by the time we celebrate another new year.
 
The growth of cloud services and mobile devices as well as other factors will naturally require more juice from the public networks in 2010. So IDC predicts the industry will focus more on IP convergence, running voice, data, video, and other traffic over the same IP-based networks. The major telecom and technology players will also need to change the way they deliver their services to support all of the connected devices that will flood the market.
 
In addition to the surge in cloud computing and mobile devices, IDC forecasts other changes in the year ahead.
 
A new class of business applications will provide new insights and information by tapping into social and collaborative networks. “Socialytic” apps, as IDC calls them, could challenge more traditional types of end-user applications. Opportunities will arise for IT to join the global effort to reduce greenhouse gases.
 
As other industries recover from the recession with their own goals and agendas, they’ll increasingly need help and resources from IT. With vendors vying to provide cloud services and other business solutions, the industry will likely see a new surge of mergers, acquisitions, and other partnerships.
 
You’ll want to keep IDC’s forecasts about cloud computing and mobile devices in mind as they could affect your projects and priorities this year. Cloud computing can offer your organization a range of benefits. But with them come a range of potential pitfalls, including reliability and security. If your company does come to rely more on the cloud, take special care to make sure you choose the right providers and establish the right relationship with them.
 
In addition, you’ll also want to exercise the same care if smartphones proliferate throughout your organization. Mobile devices clearly can give your users tremendous flexibility to work from anywhere. But just as you manage and administer the computers and applications at your company, you’ll want to do the same with smartphones.
 
As the recovery hopefully unfolds this year, you can look forward to a renewed focus on delivering the right IT services to your users. I think IDC’s forecast is helpful in clueing you in on just what lies ahead.
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