Analysts Discuss Key Issues Facing the IT Industry During Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2012, 21-25 October, in Orlando
Worldwide IT spending is forecast to surpass $3.7 trillion in 2013, a 3.8 per cent increase from 2012 projected spending of $3.6 trillion, but it’s the outlook for big data that is creating much excitement, according to Gartner, Inc.
“By 2015, 4.4 million IT jobs globally will be created to support big data, generating 1.9 million IT jobs in the United States,” said Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of Research. “In addition, every big data-related role in the US will create employment for three people outside of IT, so over the next four years a total of 6 million jobs in the US will be generated by the information economy.“
“But there is a challenge. There is not enough talent in the industry. Our public and private education systems are failing us. Therefore, only one-third of the IT jobs will be filled. Data experts will be a scarce, valuable commodity,” Mr Sondergaard said. “IT leaders will need immediate focus on how their organisation develops and attracts the skills required. These jobs will be needed to grow your business. These jobs are the future of the new information economy.”
Mr Sondergaard provided the latest outlook for the IT industry today to an audience of more than 8,000 CIOs and IT leaders at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2012, which is taking place here through 25 October. He said the IT industry is entering the Nexus of Forces, which includes a confluence and integration of cloud, social collaboration, mobile and information.
“This is a time of accelerating change, where your current IT architecture will be rendered obsolete,” Mr Sondergaard said. “You must lead through this change, selectively destroy low impact systems, and aggressively change your IT cost structure. This is the New World of the Nexus, the next age of computing.”
The cloud is the carrier for the three other Forces: mobile is personal cloud, social media is only possible via the cloud, and big data is the killer app for the cloud. Cloud will be the permanent fixture, the foundation.
“Cloud is not merely about cost-cutting, the end game is not just cheap on-demand services. In fact, 90 per cent of these services are still subscription based, not pay-as-you-go,” Mr Sondergaard said. “We are just at the beginning of realising the cost benefits of cloud, but organisations moving to the cloud are also attracted by the new capabilities they do not get today. It is bringing new approaches to designing applications, specifically for the cloud, and providing more resilience by architecturing failure as a design concept. Cloud also teaches us about services and service levels, and the contrast between what the business wants for outcomes versus IT’s old methods of getting there.”
In 2016, more than 1.6 billion smart mobile devices will be purchased globally. Two-thirds of the mobile workforce will own a smartphone, and 40 per cent of the workforce will be mobile. The challenge for IT leaders is determining what to do with this new channel to their customers and employees.
“Mobile is about computing at the right time, in the moment. It is the point of entry for all applications, delivering personalised, contextual experiences,” Mr Sondergaard said. “It means: marketing gets more time with the customer; employees become more productive; and process flows get dramatically cut.”
In less than two years, iPads will be more common in business than Blackberries. Mr Sondergaard said some CIOs are now placing orders for tens of thousands of iPads at a time. Productivity is the driver. Two years from now, 20 per cent of sales organisations will use tablets as the primary mobile platform for their field sales force. As a result, by 2018, 70 per cent of mobile workers will use a tablet or a hybrid device that has tablet-like characteristics.
Gartner forecasts that in 2016, half of all non-PC devices will be purchased by employees. By the end of the decade, half of all devices in business will be purchased by employees.
In the next three years, the dominant consumer social networks will the limits of their growth. However, social computing will become even more important. Companies are establishing social media as a discipline. Gartner predicts that in three years, 10 organisations will each spend more than $1 billion on social media.
“Social computing is moving from being just on the outside of the organisation to being at the core of business operations,” Mr Sondergaard said. “It is changing the fundamentals of management: how you establish a sense of purpose and motivate people to act. Social computing will move organisations from hierarchical structures and defined teams to communities that can cross any organisational boundary.”
By tapping a continual stream of information from internal and external sources, businesses today have an endless array of new opportunities for: transforming decision-making; discovering new insights; optimising the business; and innovating their industries.
Big data creates a new layer in the economy which is all about information, turning information, or data, into revenue. This will accelerate growth in the global economy and create jobs.
“Big data is about looking ahead, beyond what everybody else sees,” Mr Sondergaard said. “You need to understand how to deal with hybrid data, meaning the combination of structured and unstructured data, and how you shine a light on ‘dark data’. Dark data is the data being collected, but going unused despite its value. Leading organisations of the future will be distinguished by the quality of their predictive algorithms. This is the CIO challenge, and opportunity.”