This is a summary review of Gartner top IT organizations and users predictions from the Gartner Predicts 2011 Special Report. As organizations build plans for the years ahead, IT is challenged by tight scrutiny regarding cost, growth opportunities and risk. All parties expect greater transparency, and meeting this demand requires IT to become more tightly coupled to governance and business control.

By 2015, a G20 nation’s critical infrastructure will be disrupted and damaged by online sabotage.

Market Implications:

  • Depending on the target, one can expect various responses. Governments will pass legislation and launch security-related initiatives, as the U.S. did after Sept. 11. This will boost the sector of the security industry that can provide protection against these attacks, similar to how revamped airport security measures led to the emergence and growth of an industry sector around transportation and airport security.
  • Consumers will seek protection, including privacy and security products and services, even though these might not be directly related to a cyberattack and may not necessarily be able to mitigate effects. This could occur in the same manner that some citizens built fallout shelters in the 1950s in the U.S.

By 2015, new revenue generated each year by IT will determine the annual compensation of most new Global 2000 CIOs.

Market Implications:

  • Even the darkest economic period in eight decades could not stop IT offerings from being developed and evolving. Four initiatives — context-aware computing, IT’s direct involvement in enterprise innovation development efforts, Pattern-Based Strategies and harnessing the power of social networks — can potentially directly increase enterprise revenue.
  • Executive and board-level expectations for realizing revenue from those and other IT initiatives will become so common that, in 2015, the amount of new revenue generated from IT initiatives will become the primary factor determining the incentive portion of new Global 2000 CIOs’ annual compensation.

By 2015, information-smart businesses will increase recognized IT spending per head by 60%.

Market Implications:

  • Due to the recession, IT investment contribution to business success must now be proven. As IT spending per employee organically increases in these market conditions, enterprise leaders and stakeholders must change their way of thinking that “lower is better” for this metric. Unrecognized enterprise goals will create or promote “value destruction” where the viability of the enterprise will be at risk.
  • As the jobless recovery continues, many large enterprises will find it less difficult to justify IT and business investments than increasing staffing levels. While declining or flat enterprise staffing is the primary driver of higher IT spending per employee levels, other implications are pent-up demand for infrastructure replacement between now and 2015; and frustration over system failure, poor availability and an overall decline in IT service levels.

By 2015, tools and automation will eliminate 25% of labor hours associated with IT services.

Market Implications:

  • ESPs with the financial and intellectual capital to invest in tools and automation will create a competitive advantage for themselves through the ability to lower overall costs, as well as decrease the time to deliver solutions. ESPs will sell tools and automation as products.
  • ESPs will increasingly lead with automated offerings, such as assessments, that deliver value quickly for free or for a nominal price in a bid to win the bigger downstream implementation prize.
  • Leveraging tools and automation will free up resources from repetitive, low-value tasks (such as data gathering), enabling ESPs to perform higher-value activities (such as gaining insights from the data and recommending appropriate actions) to add value to the engagement.

By 2015, most external assessments of enterprise value and viability will include explicit analysis of IT assets and capabilities.

Market Implications:

  • IT will continue to have an increasing impact on business performance, competitive advantage, risk management and transparency, and enterprise ability to merge, acquire and partner. Methodologies for external assessment of IT assets and capabilities need to broaden to reflect IT’s contribution to business viability and success.
  • An increasing number of enterprises that believe they have superior IT capabilities will proactively ensure this becomes part of their brand image and reputation. Communications skills need to be built related to IT capabilities and IT organizations. CIOs need to be ready to communicate to new classes of stakeholders, and in new ways.

By 2015, 80% of enterprises using external cloud services will demand independent certification that providers can restore operations and data.

Market Implications:

  • Cloud service products cannot meet their full potential until buyers are able to quickly and reliably determine if an available product meets their requirements for security controls, regulatory compliance, business continuity and data recovery. The only practical way to perform an evaluation of a cloud service provider that is consistent with the computing and business model’s economies of scale is to leverage a single assessment across multiple customers.
  • The market is held back by buyers that lack a mature understanding of the relative importance, or classification, of their data and processes. Underestimating information sensitivity can lead to purchasing an inappropriately unreliable service, while overestimation can result in an organization avoiding what would otherwise be a useful service type, or paying too much for unnecessary levels of robustness.

By 2015, 20% of non-IT Global 500 companies will be cloud service providers.

Market Implications:

  • The move by non-IT organizations to provide non-IT capabilities via the cloud will further expand the role of IT decision making outside the IT organization. The need to manage data and integration requirements represents another opportunity for IT organizations to redefine their value propositions as service enablers.
  • The IT industry will have to confront a fundamental re-assessment of what it means to be an IT provider. Non-IT players will be interjected into value chain systems and will compete directly with IT organizations that have traditionally served in this capacity. Consider the provision of IT-enabled business process capability. In a cloud-enabled world, logistics IT-enabled capabilities will be supplied directly by logistics companies, or supply-chain IT-enabled capabilities from organizations with supply chain competencies.

By 2015, companies will generate 50% of Web sales via their social presence and mobile applications.

Market Implications:

  • E-commerce providers of all types are offering mobile e-commerce capabilities, such as SMS for couponing, improvements for mobile browser usage of their sites and mobile shopping applications. These vendors will vie for organizations’ mobile initiatives, and their success will be driven by how well they help mobile customers make purchases easily, and by tapping into their social network connections.
  • Enterprises will be challenged with determining customer expectations for mobile and social capabilities. The organization will need to enable a useful customer experience that keeps the customer from “unfriending” the organization socially, “opting out” of SMS offers or deleting its mobile application.

By 2014, 90% of organizations will support corporate applications on personal devices.

Market Implications:

  • Support for corporate applications on employee-owned smartphones is impacting an increasing number of organizations and will become commonplace in four years. The main driver for adoption of mobile devices will be employees who prefer to use private consumer smartphones or notebooks for business, rather than using old-style limited enterprise devices.
  • Enterprises will no longer be able to standardize on one or a few corporate mobile device platforms, but instead will have to support a variety of mobile platforms for which they will have to choose an approach that enables selected corporate applications while enforcing IT policies through management tools and capabilities. Organizations that do not support personal devices and fail to set and enforce policies will experience an increased number of security exposures and incidents.

By 2013, 80% of businesses will support a workforce using tablets.

Market Implications:

  • Fueled by the dramatic early growth of Apple iPads, media tablets are poised to grow dramatically. Almost every major PC and smartphone manufacturer has launched or is planning to introduce a media tablet offering. The low price of media tablets means buyers will not have to rely on the product as a primary device, instead using it where its convenience offers distinct benefits.
  • Given the low prices and high end-user satisfaction, users will adopt media tablets in high volumes. The age where price dictates one computer per person has long past, and tablets represent convenience over necessity. IT organizations have demonstrated an inability to stop such incursions as they are often fueled by upper management, and the tools provided by the tablet vendors are extremely effective at circumventing IT security and use policies.

By 2015, 10% of your online “friends” will be nonhuman.

Market Implications:

  • In 2010, large organizations embarked on systematizing the act of listening as part of their social media strategy by monitoring social media conversations in blogs, social sites, forums, and more. However, the act of engagement — projecting a message through social channels, not in a broadcast style, but in an interactive manner suited to the characteristics of the social medium — has yet to be systematized and automated.
  • As the Web becomes increasingly social, the job of marketers will shift from one-way broadcast • or projection of a market message to two-way, personalized interaction with individual users. Organizations that discover or develop ways to achieve this on a broad scale will gain competitive advantage over those who can’t or won’t. At the same time, there is the risk of backlash and brand damage if an organization approaches this in a clumsy or socially tone-deaf manner.
About the Author

John Laster is a technical news junkie and Founder of TechieApps. He loves everything about digital world, technologies, social media and gadgets and has been prophetic in identifying the best ways to leverage and harness such news to drive sales growth for companies ranging from startups to huge organizations.


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