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Gartner predictions for 2012: More cloud, consumerization, loss of IT control

IT departments need to adapt now or be swept aside, Gartner warns

By , Network World
December 02, 2011 01:29 PM ET

Network World - IT budgets and responsibilities are moving out of the control of IT departments and into the hands of others, thanks to trends such as consumerization and cloud computing, Gartner says in its vision for 2012 and the coming years.

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That means, to be successful, IT organizations will have to excel at relationship management and be adept at coordinating more widely distributed activities, according to Daryl Plummer, managing vice president and Gartner fellow.

"As users take more control of the devices they will use, business managers are taking more control of the budgets IT organizations have watched shift over the last few years," Plummer said in a statement. "The IT organization of the future must coordinate those who have the money, those who deliver the services, those who secure the data, and those consumers who demand to set their own pace for use of IT."

IT departments need to adapt now or be swept aside, Plummer warned.

With that in mind, here are Gartner's top 11 predictions for 2012:

1. Low-cost cloud services will cannibalize up to 15% of top outsourcing players' revenue by 2015.

Just as low-cost airlines disrupted the transportation industry, the projected $1 trillion IT services market is facing further disruption from industrialized low-cost IT services (ILCS), which Gartner describes as "an emerging market force that will alter the common perceptions of pricing and value of IT services." Vendors will need to invest in and adopt a new cloud-based, industrialized services strategy, the research firm says. (Read a PDF "The cloud changes everything.")

2. The investment bubble will burst for consumer social networks in 2013, and for enterprise social software companies in 2014.

In the consumer social network space, there's a large crop of vendors with overlapping features competing for a finite audience. In the enterprise market, small vendors are struggling to grow, consolidation is imminent, and big players such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Google and VMware are muscling in on the action, Gartner says. "While substantial excitement will be raised by private firms going public, valuations of smaller independent vendors will diminish as recognition sets in that the opportunities for market differentiation and fast growth has eroded."

3. At least 50% of enterprise email users will rely primarily on a browser, tablet or mobile client instead of a desktop client by 2016.

As the options for email clients continue to grow, the need for mobile device management platforms will soar and suppliers will be pressured to support more collaboration services, including instant messaging, Web conferencing, social networking and shared workspaces, Gartner predicts.

4. Mobile application development projects targeting smartphones and tablets will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4-to-1 by 2015.

"Smartphones and tablets represent more than 90 percent of the new net growth in device adoption for the coming four years, and increasing application platform capability across all classes of mobile phones is spurring a new frontier of innovation, particularly where mobile capabilities can be integrated with location, presence and social information to enhance the usefulness," Gartner says.

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