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IDC's Annual IT Predictions: 'Put Up or Shut Up' in 2014

The mantra for 2014 will be "put up or shut up" when it comes to achieving IT revenue growth and market position in the coming year. That was a key theme outlined by IDC chief analyst Frank Gens during a one-hour webcast yesterday to discuss the influential market researcher's annual worldwide IT forecast.

Spending on IT technology in 2014, excluding telecommunications services, will grow 5.1 percent to $2.1 trillion, which represents a slight uptick over the current year, Gens said. In the coming year, IDC is forecasting a continued move to what it calls the "3rd Platform," centered around mobile devices and the migration to cloud architectures with substantially increased investments in enterprise social networking tools and technology that lets users mine big data.

 "2014 will be all about battles across this platform," Gens said. "The past five years of the third platform build out has been all about laying the infrastructure and developer platform foundations. This next chapter is about fostering an explosion of innovation on that foundation, with hundreds of thousands to millions of new killer apps and solutions."

Recalling Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's "developers, developers, developers, developers" rant from years ago, Gens emphasized during the one-hour call that indeed winning over developers will be critical for those who are going to survive in the coming decade. Ironically for Microsoft, winning over developers will be critical if it's going to be a player in the new mobile era.

Microsoft has about a year to win over developers or it will be doomed in the mobile market, Gens said. The good news is developer interest in the new Windows platform has risen by eight points, according to IDC's latest Appcelerator report. However only 37 percent of developers say they are very interested in developing mobile apps for Windows, still 35 points below Android and 50 points below Apple's iOS.  Microsoft honestly needs to double that interest level within the next 12 months, or it could be game over," Gens said.

Increasing sales of tablets will continue to take a bite out of the PC market, which will continue to slide by 6 percent. Tablets will grow by 18 percent and smartphones 12 percent. Mobile devices will outsell PCs by two and a half to one, Gens said.

Cloud spending, which includes service providers, infrastructure and software will grow 25 percent reaching $100 billion. More than a third (35 percent) of that spending will be on cloud service providers and shared hosting facilities. Just like mobile, cloud providers will fight for developers to support their platforms, Gens noted. "Over the next four years, we will see a tenfold increase in the number of apps in the cloud, driven in part by a tripling of the number of developers and contributors to cloud app ecosystems," he said. "Two-thirds of these new apps will have an industry specific or a role specific focus."

With the amount of digital data growing 50 percent in 2014, users will create 6 trillion terabytes, or 6 zetabytes of data. That will fuel 30 percent growth in infrastructure and tools to mine big data, exceeding $14 billion. IDC is also predicting that in the next three years, 80 percent of the most successful apps will leverage large data streams. Demand for big data and analytics skills will outstrip supply, Gens said.

While many enterprises continue to assess whether they'll see any value by investing in social networking, IDC is predicting within the next three years, 80 percent of Fortune 500 will use it as a key foundation for marketing, selling and maintaining community, up from 30 percent today.

Social networking will also increasingly invade product and service development, according to Gens. By 2016, IDC forecasts 60 percent of the Fortune 500 will deploy social-enabled platforms, solutions that gather input from their communities of customers, partners and other components of their supply chains. To enable that, IDC predicts in 2015 the key social platforms will converge and merge with the major cloud platform-as-a-service (PaaS) clouds.

It stands to reason the intense competitive environment in IT will not let up in 2014. How does IDC's forecast for 2014 line up with your predictions?

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 12/04/2013 at 2:04 PM


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