10 Global IT Predictions for 2013 and Beyond
Windows 8 is Microsoft's attempt to bring the touch interface to its flagship product to counter the gains made by Apple in rapid-growth markets. Therefore, Microsoft is trying to push IT organizations to this new interface as quickly as possible. However, most enterprises and their management vendors are not yet prepared for this change, and Gartner predicts that enterprises 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.
Mobile phone penetration in emerging markets has resulted in a changing of the guard in terms of 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, with other ecosystems struggling to gain traction, and, with most vendors committed to Android, it has become difficult to differentiate. The result is that the traditional mobile phone players are getting squeezed, being unable to compete with Apple and Samsung at the high end and struggling to differentiate from aggressive new vendors, most notably Huawei and ZTE, which are using 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.
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. The impact of this legislation would be a net reduction of offshoring by 20 percent through 2016. This does not mean that organizations would abandon the use of global delivery models, but it would result in the rebalancing of where labor is located with such models. Opportunities would be created for firms to invest further in lower-cost parts of Europe, or in areas within their domestic location where costs may be lower.
An increasing number of successful Asian companiesparticularly from China and Indiaare enjoying double-digit growth rates and will substantially grow their geographic footprints, making significant investments in major Western markets through 2015. Consequently, these organizations 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. Exacerbating the disparity between the hiring practices of Western and Asian organizations will be the increased use of industrialized IT solutions, which will further reduce the IT staffing needs of Western firms.
Facebook is one of the top five applications installed on smartphones and tablets, and many organizations are being pressured to permit interlinking with Facebook and similar products, because those products provide a high degree of leverage for new contacts. While many organizations 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.
Corporate networks will become more like college and university networks, which were the original "bring your own device" (BYOD) environments. Because colleges and universities lack control over students' devices, they focus on protecting their networks by enforcing policies that govern network access. Gartner believes that enterprises will adopt a similar approach and will block or restrict access for those devices that are not compliant with corporate policies. Enterprises that adopt BYOD initiatives should establish clear policies that outline which employee-owned devices will be allowed and which will be banned. In the BYOD era, security professionals will need to diligently monitor vulnerability announcements and security incidents involving mobile devices and respond appropriately with policy updates.
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: (1) because of the amount of software like light databases or operating systems embedded within large numbers of operational devices; (2) because of the traditional software vendors starting to charge license fees, in certain circumstances, if the devices even indirectly hit their applications; (3) because operational technology vendors are developing IT-like platforms and getting away from hardware sales and into annuity software sales; (4) 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.
Seventy percent of business transformation efforts fail due to lack of engagement. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
A nexus of IT 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. By 2015, low-cost cloud services will cannibalize up to 15 percent of top outsourcing players' revenue, and more than 20 percent of large IT outsourcers not investing enough in industrialization and value-added services will disappear through merger and acquisition. 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 globalized approach to staffing. CIOs should reevaluate the providers and types of providers used for IT services, with particular interest in cloud-enabled providers supporting information, mobile and social strategies.