Out of their hands

The close of the year is an opportunity for the IT industry analysts to lay out their predictions for the technology and IT management agenda for the next 12 months.
Easiest of all are technology predictions. The big IT vendors have already revealed which products and services they will be pushing in 2012, while adoption curves give a reasonable impression of what buying organisations will be spending their money on during the year.

The same few technology areas dominated most analysts’ predictions. Cloud computing was widely mentioned, although analysts typically remarked that 2012 will be the year in which the hype gives way to enterprise adoption (similar predictions were made at the end of 2010).

“My prediction for 2012 is that we will see far less media hype about cloud as some real solutions hit the market and clients get their cloud plans off the ground,” wrote Forrester Research analyst Brian Hopkins.

Mobile technology was also frequently mentioned. “2012 will also be the year of mobile ascendency,” market watcher IDC predicted, “as mobile devices surpass PCs in both shipments and spending, and mobile apps, with 85 billion downloads, generate more revenue than the mainframe market.”

All agreed that social media, another force of IT consumerisation, will continue its rise in 2012. UK-based analyst company Ovum predicts that, just as social networking giant Facebook has become a platform for third-party applications, enterprise social collaboration tools such as Yammer and Jive will become platforms for new business applications.

Despite the Information Age reader survey finding that ‘big data’ is low on the priority list for 2012, many analysts expect the technology to come of age this year. IDC said that “big data will earn its place as the next ‘must have’ competency in 2012”, while Forrester’s Hopkins expects that “enterprise deployments of big data systems will lead to focused results for the front-runners”.

Diminishing control

IDC describes the combination of cloud, mobile technology, social media and big data analytics as “the IT industry’s next dominant platform”. With the possible exception of big data analytics, they share the common quality that they can be provisioned by non-expert IT buyers.

This is one of the reasons why most analyst companies predicted that 2012 will see the continued evaporation
of the IT department’s control over technology procurement.

“The continued trends toward consumerisation and cloud computing highlight the movement of certain former IT responsibilities into the hands of others,”  remarked Daryl Plummer, managing vice president of analyst company Gartner. “As users take more control of the devices they will use, business managers are taking more control of the budgets that IT organisations have watched shift over the last few years.”

Gartner predicts that by 2014 CIOs will have lost control of 25% of their organisation’s IT spending.
Forrester’s Brian Hopkins predicts that the IT department’s role will shift from ‘service provider’ to ‘service broker’, providing the integration, governance and security to support business units as they provision cloud services.

Ovum, meanwhile, says that CIOs will face “pressure to develop operational and investment models that embrace technology-led innovation from all functional units within the organisation”. In other words, they must cede responsibility for IT innovation to business units, but find ways to make that innovation sustainable.

Combine this with renewed fears of a double-dip recession and further cost reductions in government, and it looks as though CIOs have another tough year ahead of them.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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