Every fall, many CIOs and information managers flock to the annual Gartner conference to hear the research company’s proclamations and predictions about the IT world for the upcoming year. I won’t regurgitate all of the items on the latest list issued this week, but I do want to hone in on five trends that I believe will have particular relevance for IT solution providers.
- Windows 8 won’t really matter until 2015. Just two days ago, Microsoft went nuts with its big Windows 8 operating system launch – an upgrade that is a dramatic departure from the past. Gartner is suggesting that 90 percent of enterprises will wait until the OS becomes more stable – maybe by 2015 – before they opt for broad migrations. That’s probably true, but I think that smaller companies that are using tablets in any kind of meaningful way for their business will move sooner – because of the software’s close link with that form factor.
- Big data will drive the creation of 4.4 million jobs. The second part of that prediction is that two-thirds of those jobs will go unfilled, which means enormous service opportunities for VARs and systems integrators that spend time developing practices that can support interest in solutions for data management, analytics and related business expertise. Incidentally, a separate Gartner report out in mid-October predicts that big data will account for $28 billion in IT spending in 2012.
- 40 percent of enterprises will suffer mobile information leaks by 2017. Because so many people are now using smartphones or tablets for both personal and professional purposes, this will affect how corporate contact information is being used. This is especially true for those using Facebook – the social network now downloads personal information from profiles indiscriminately. So, companies need to think more carefully about how to protect customer records and other private information.
- The number of employee-owned devices compromised by mobile malware will be twice that for company-owned devices. While it is unlikely that this will thwart the BYOD trend, it offers another good reason why IT services companies should be involved with helping their customers define clear policies for managing these devices.
- Market consolidation will displace 20 percent of the top 100 IT service providers. Gartner believes that the converging forces of mobility, big data, cloud services and social media (not necessarily in that order) will accelerate a consolidation between the biggest outsourcing companies and systems integrators — especially those that fail to redefine their value-add. That could be a good thing for smaller channel players that really take the time to specialize or that can provide the benefit of local touch.