Top IT predictions for 2013 and beyond

Gartner, the research and analysis firm, has made its top predictions for IT organisations and IT users for 2013 and beyond.

Analysts from the firm presented their findings during the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando which concluded on Thursday, 25 October.

Gartner’s top predictions focus on economic risks, opportunities and innovations that will impel CIOs to move to the next generation of business-driven solutions, and seek to address the trends and topics that underline the reduction of control that IT has over the forces that affect it.

“The priorities of CEOs must be dealt with by CIOs who exist in a still-turbulent economy and increasingly uncertain technology future,” said Daryl Plummer, managing vice president and Gartner fellow.

“As consumerisation takes hold and the nexus of forces drives CEOs to certain expectations, CIOs must still provide reliability, serviceability and availability of systems and services,” he continued.

“Their priorities must span multiple areas. As the world of IT moves forward, it is finding that it must coordinate activities in a much wider scope than it once controlled, and as a result, a loss of control echoes through several predictions we are making,” Plummer said.

Gartner’s top predictions for IT Organisations include the following:

By Year-End 2014, three of the top five mobile handset vendors will be Chinese.

According to Gartner, mobile phone penetration in emerging markets has resulted in a changing of the guard in terms of the leading vendors.

“The openness of Android creates new markets for OEMs that previously did not have the necessary software expertise and engineering capabilities.”

The market continues to consolidate around Android and iOS, Gartner said, with other ecosystems struggling to gain traction.

With most vendors committed to Android, it has become difficult to differentiate. The result is that the traditional mobile phone players are getting squeezed, while vendors like Huawei and ZTE, use the same Android platform for their models.

“Chinese vendors have the opportunity to leverage their strong position in the domestic Chinese market for entry-level smartphones and expand to other regions, because this is not just an emerging-market phenomenon,” Gartner said.

Through 2015, 90% of enterprises will bypass broad-scale deployment of Windows 8.

According to Gartner, Microsoft will modernise its flagship offering, Windows 8, in an attempt to counter gains by Apple in rapid-growth markets.

The approach taken will be to push IT Organisations to this new interface as quickly as possible – however, Gartner predicts that organisations will want to wait for more stability before proceeding.

“While Microsoft as a technology company can make these changes at a more advanced pace, the preponderance of the customer base cannot move so quickly. The market will take time to mature, and most enterprises will sit on the sideline for now,” it said.

By 2015, big data demand will reach 4.4 million jobs globally, but only one-third of those jobs will be filled.

“The demand for big data is growing, and organisations will need to reassess their competencies and skills to respond to this opportunity,” said Gartner.

“An important aspect of the challenge in filling these jobs lies in the fact that organisations need people with new skills — data management, analytics and business expertise and non-traditional skills necessary for extracting the value of big data, as well as artists and designers for data visualisation,” it said.

By 2014, European Union directives will drive legislation to protect jobs, reducing offshoring by 20% through 2016.

An upward trend in unemployment has continued in the European Union during the ongoing financial crisis.

With little expectation of a short-term recovery, Gartner expects to see the European Union introducing directives before the end of 2014 to protect local jobs.

This would lead to a net reduction of offshoring by 20% through 2016.

“This does not mean that organisations would abandon the use of global delivery models, but it would result in the rebalancing of where labour is located with such models,” Gartner said.

By 2014, IT hiring in major Western markets will come predominantly from Asian-headquartered companies enjoying double-digit growth.

An increasing number of successful Asian companies — particularly from China and India — are enjoying double-digit growth rates.

Gartner predicts that these companies will substantially grow their geographic footprints, making significant investments in major Western markets through 2015.

“Consequently, these organisations will be responsible for major hiring of IT professionals to support their growth at a time when Western companies will still be coping with the impact of the economic crisis,” Gartner said.

Exacerbating the disparity between the hiring practices of Western and Asian organisations will be the increased use of industrialised IT solutions, which will further reduce the IT staffing needs of Western firms, it said.

By 2017, 40% of enterprise contact information will have leaked into Facebook via employees’ increased use of mobile device collaboration applications.

Facebook is one of the top five applications installed on smartphones and tablets, and many organisations are being pressured to permit interlinking with Facebook and similar products, said Gartner.

This is because these products provide a high degree of leverage for new contacts, it said.

While many organisations have been legitimately concerned about the physical coexistence of consumer and enterprise applications on devices that interact with IT infrastructure, there has been little discussion about the underlying technologies that permit transfer of information between legitimate enterprise-controlled applications and consumer applications.

“These interactions are difficult to track, and the technologies to control the transfer are more difficult to build, deploy and manage,” Gartner said.

Through 2014, employee-owned devices will be compromised by malware at more than double the rate of corporate-owned devices.

Corporate networks will become more like college and university networks, which were the original “bring your own device” (BYOD) environments, Gartner predicts.

“Because colleges and universities lack control over students’ devices, they focus on protecting their networks by enforcing policies that govern network access,” the research firm said.

Gartner said further that businesses will adopt a similar approach, and will block or restrict access for those devices that are not compliant with corporate policies.

Through 2014, software spending resulting from the proliferation of smart operational technology will increase by 25%.

According to Gartner, previously “dumb” operational devices or objects – like a vending machine, medical device, marine engine or parking meter – are now having software embedded in them, and sensors are being linked to the internet to create and receive data streams.

This machine-to-machine communication has the potential to trigger significant new software costs for four reasons:

  • Because of the amount of software like light databases or operating systems embedded within large numbers of operational devices;
  • Because of the traditional software vendors starting to charge license fees, in certain circumstances, if the devices even indirectly hit their applications;
  • Because operational technology vendors are developing IT-like platforms and getting away from hardware sales and into annuity software sales;
  • Because the people buying and paying for this may not even be in IT, are not experts in software procurement, and may make expensive mistakes signing license agreements with hidden, or not so hidden, costs and risks.

By 2015, 40% of Global 1000 Organisations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations.

70% of business transformation efforts fail due to lack of engagement, Gartner said.

“Gamification addresses engagement, transparency of work, and connecting employees’ actions to business outcomes.”

“Companies apply feedback, measurement and incentives – the same techniques that game designers use, to keep players interested – to achieve the needed engagement for the transformation of business operations,” Gartner said.

Diverse industry segments are already finding gamification effective, and Gartner predicts that the worldwide market will grow from $242 million in 2012 to $2.8 billion in 2016, with enterprise gamification eclipsing consumer gamification in 2013.

By 2016, wearable smart electronics in shoes, tattoos and accessories will emerge as a $10 billion industry.

The majority of revenue from wearable smart electronics over the next four years will come from athletic shoes and fitness tracking, communications devices for the ear, and automatic insulin delivery for diabetics, Gartner predicts.

Wearable smart electronics, such as fitness trackers, often come with data analysis applications or services that create useful insights for the wearer.

“Applications and services will create new value for consumers, especially when combined with personal preferences, location, biosensing and social information,” Gartner said.

“CIOs must evaluate how the data from wearable electronics can be used to improve worker productivity, asset tracking and workflow.”

Wearable electronics will also provide more-detailed information to retailers for targeting advertisements and promotions, Gartner said.

By 2014, market consolidation will displace up to 20% of the top 100 IT services providers.

A nexus of forces – including cloud, big data, mobility and social media – along with continued global economic uncertainty, will accelerate the restructuring of the nearly $1 trillion IT services market, Gartner predicts.

“By 2015, low-cost cloud services will cannibalise up to 15% of top outsourcing players’ revenue, and more than 20% of large IT outsourcers not investing enough in industrialisation and value-added services will disappear through merger and acquisition,” the research firm said.

According to Gartner, this will limit and endanger the typical offshore/nearshore approach run by dedicated IT services providers and create low-cost options onshore or facilitate a globalised approach to staffing.

“CIOs should re-evaluate the providers and types of providers used for IT services, with particular interest in cloud-enabled providers supporting information, mobile and social strategies,” it said.

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Top IT predictions for 2013 and beyond