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IDC’s Directions 14: Some Interesting Observations on Mobility – and Beyond

I recently attended IDC's annual Directions conference in Boston, and this information-packed event is always worth a visit. IDC is, of course, the original analyst firm, today with over 1,000 analysts and always a fairly quantitative approach to the IT industry. I don't think it's possible to agree with every pronouncement that any analyst firm makes (including my own, by the way), but the reasoning behind and the discussion and debate surrounding these create an interesting educational opportunity at the very least.

IDC's current Big Theme is the "Third Platform" of social, mobile, cloud, and Big Data/analytics. The First Platform, in case you were wondering, was mainframe/terminal, and the Second, LAN/Internet and Client/Server. The Third, then, looks like a bit of a non-sequitur or mashup, but the sentiment and intent are understandable. The importance of SoMoClo has been noted by others, and Big Data and analytics are growing in value everywhere today, complementary and perhaps now even essential to, at least of the other three, Social. For me, the bottom line here is that access to everything everywhere remains a core driver of IT spending and innovation, and the overall emphasis is on applications, fitting nicely with my own earlier analysis of the impact of sufficiency. So I guess IDC and I are kind of on the same page here, although our terminology and presentation are very different. I don't, for example, see mobility or Big Data as platforms, but rather the former as a workstyle based on wireless networking and the latter as an intrinsic or toolset. No matter; we're debating definition, and all four of IDC's elements in the Third Platform are clearly important regardless.

Directions 2014 covered a huge range of topics and was divided into tracks with multiple simultaneous sessions. I spent, as you might assume, most of my time in the sessions oriented towards mobility, and here are few key points from those in no particular order:

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