In-Depth

New Year's Predictions for IT Pros

Here's what analyst firm Gartner says you'll be doing in 2013 and beyond.

The beginning of a new year always seems to bring forth predictions about what IT departments should expect in the near future. Such expectations are perhaps as old as Janus, the two-faced Roman god of transitions and beginnings, who lends his name to "January." Whether you believe it or not, prognosticators like Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. have already formed opinions about how IT shops will be affected by some emerging trends. Get ready, and good luck!

Slow Windows 8 Enterprise Adoption. Gartner thinks that most enterprises aren't ready for Windows 8. The analyst and consulting firm expects that 90 percent of enterprises will just skip deploying Windows 8 on a wide-scale company basis through 2015.

Windows PC Dominance Fading. Windows is just becoming one of many platforms in a "post-PC" world full of mobile devices. Rather than standardize on one platform, enterprises should support a greater variety of devices, according to Gartner. The consulting firm predicts that through the next four years, 90 percent of enterprises will be supporting at least two mobile operating systems. In the next five years, 65 percent of enterprises will use some kind of mobile device management solution to manage trusted devices, tolerated devices and nonsupported devices. Employee-owned devices will be hit with malware at twice the rate of company-owned devices over the next year. In 2013, the most common way of accessing the Web will be by mobile phones, rather than by PCs. By 2015, more than 80 percent of handsets sold will be smartphones, but just 20 percent of them will be Windows phones. Microsoft will find a place in the tablet world with Windows 8, but it will lag behind Android and iOS by 2015. Half of all laptop shipments at that time will be tablets, according to Gartner.

Cloud Is Key
Gartner sees cloud computing as an enabler for three other trends: mobile, social and big data. No one cloud platform will dominate, so IT pros will need to manage diversity, and they should have the ability to manage mobile devices.

Mobile Workforce
By 2014, IT shops will be using private online application stores to deliver mobile apps to end users. In that respect, the role of IT pros will shift from being a centralized planner to being a market manager. Apple iPads will be more common than BlackBerry devices for businesses in about two years. By 2016, 40 percent of the workforce will be mobile, according to Gartner. By 2018, about 70 percent of mobile workers will use a tablet or hybrid tablet-like device.

Social Collaboration
Social computing is becoming central to business operations, according to Gartner. "Social computing will move organizations from hierarchical structures and defined teams to communities that can cross any organizational boundary," said Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of research, in a released statement. However, there's some loss of control associated with the phenomenon as 40 percent of an enterprise's contact information is expected to leak to Facebook by 2017.

Big Data, or Your Next Job?
The demand for "big data" deployments will grow such that it will produce a demand for 4.4 million jobs worldwide, or 1.9 million jobs in the United States. However, only a third of those jobs will get filled. A new skillset will be needed based on running these big data systems, but also in terms of having business expertise and analytics skills, including visual design skills. "Data experts will be a scarce, valuable commodity," Sondergaard said. There will be a need to create predictive algorithms and deal with both structured and unstructured data, he added. Expect various commercial in-memory technologies to arrive over the next two years.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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