Four IT forces, IT consumerization and new technology styles are forcing IT organizations to see they can't control IT spending. They must actively manage technology investments inside and outside IT. Executives and IT leaders should read these reports before making 2012 IT investment decisions.
This Predicts 2012 special report highlights how the control of technology and technology-driven decisions is shifting out of the hands of IT organizations. New forces that are not easily controlled by IT are pushing themselves to the forefront of IT spending. Specifically, the forces of cloud computing, social media and social networking, mobility and information management are all evolving at a rapid pace. Business unit stakeholders often recognize the value of new technology before IT departments can harness it. In addition, emerging markets are growing rapidly in terms of technology expenditures and influence. Growing technology use and energy consumption around the globe have led to an increased emphasis on green technologies and power conservation within IT industries.
These technological evolutions in the workplace are largely happening despite the controls IT normally places on the use of technologies. The cloud offers new delivery styles and options that are industrialized in a value chain that renders on-premises IT systems and expertise as only part of the overall delivery of IT capabilities to the company. Social computing is allowing collaboration, and a shift of behavioral patterns of users and the communities in which they work. Mobility offers new access channels to applications and data, and at the same time provides end users with a wide variety of device choices. The combination of cloud, social computing and mobility can be used to increase geographic diversity and raise the productivity of virtual teams. Users expect to get access to personal, work, business applications and data from any device, anytime and anywhere.
Finally, the concept of "big data" is beginning to forever alter the relationship of technology to information consumption, as data coming from multiple federated sources and in structured and unstructured forms must now be analyzed using new methodologies foreign to many IT departments. As in last year's report, to top it all off, IT organizations must respond to all these demands while balancing security against access, and continuing to meet the expectations of individuals who are more technology-savvy than ever before.
This transformation will not desist, and it demands that IT leaders reconsider and (potentially) rebuild IT's capabilities and approach to the consumption of IT. Our top predictions (see "Gartner's Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users, 2012 and Beyond: Control Slips Away" and "Top Industry Predicts 2012: Industries Face Intensified Consumerization and Technology Disruption" ) focus on how the shifting role of IT will affect economies, governments, businesses and individuals.
Readers will find the predictions in this special report a good guide and support for the decisions they need to make about technology investments and the broader aspects of business strategy during the years ahead. With more topics, markets and industries covered than ever before, our 2012 predictions affect three macrolevel trends of huge importance to all:
Emergence of the nexus of four forces: The convergence of cloud, social, mobile and information into a unified set of forces shaping almost every IT-related decision. See "Predicts 2012: Cloud Services Brokerage Will Bring New Benefits and Planning Challenges," "Predicts 2012: Cloud Computing Is Becoming a Reality," "Predicts 2012: New Considerations Influencing IT Procurement and Asset Management," "Predicts 2012: Information Infrastructure and Big Data," "Predicts 2012: The Rising Force of Social Networking and Collaboration Services" and "Predicts 2012: Plan for Cloud, Mobility and 'Big Content' in Your ECM Strategy." All this research and more recount the emergence of this nexus and the forces that form it. Additional complexity comes from the need to support users and employees from any screen, as noted in "Predicts 2012: The Success of Consumer Devices Will Rest on Delivering the Ultimate Experience." As IT organizations and business users evolve their strategies, they need to ask themselves how they will handle the nexus — whether in individual pieces, or as a unified phenomenon all of itself.
IT spending: The movement of spending from the IT department to other parts of the business. See "Predicts 2012: The IT Services Journey Toward IT Industrialization Continues to Transform the Way Service Providers and Clients Engage," "Predicts 2012: Marketers Must Adapt, Differentiate and Innovate in Social CRM, SaaS and IMM," "Predicts 2012: Personal Cloud Will Reshape the Consumer Services and Applications Landscape," "Predicts 2012: Data Center Growth and the Impact of Cloud Computing on Energy Efficiency" and "Predicts 2012: Government CIOs on a Tightrope." This research covers a lot of landscape regarding the impact of limited IT budget growth and an increase in interest from the lines of business in evaluating IT-based solutions. Readers will find them helpful in evaluating how to deal with the movement of IT spending out of the control of IT and more into the control of different business units, while retaining IT's involvement in protecting the business from disruptive change.
Market transformation: The transformation of entire markets brought on by new technology-based options. Research like "Predicts 2012: The Business Application and ERP Markets Are Changing Rapidly," "Predicts 2012: The IT Services Journey Toward IT Industrialization Continues to Transform the Way Service Providers and Clients Engage," "Predicts 2012: Mobile and Cloud Computing Set to Transform Enterprise and Consumer Security Markets," "Predicts 2012: Cloud Computing, Social Media and Mobile Technologies Will Disrupt Insurers," "Predicts 2012: Technology Innovation Starts a New Automotive Era" and "Predicts 2012: Emerging Markets are Changing the World of IT." This research indicates clear trends toward the transformation of industries and technology markets in ways that do not happen very often. Readers will benefit from reading a wide selection of research that makes transformation a practical reality.
As the relationship between "technology means" and "technology outcomes" becomes ever clearer, stakeholders of all kinds are gaining a sharper understanding of how technology decisions will impact the business, and are raising the bar in terms of expectations for success.
Because clients use Gartner's predictions to make better decisions, accuracy is critical. Our "hit rate" with predictions continues to be very high, but we also recognize that some will fail to pan out as we expect. In the same spirit of transparency and accountability that has been applied to our earlier Predicts special reports, we continue to provide a look back at our previous predictions — highlighting those that were accurate and those that were not. For each report with historical precedent, we review one "on target" and one "missed" prediction to expose why our assumptions were accurate or inaccurate.
Our 2012 predictions span 73 market, topic and industry areas, with more than 300 predictions in total. The complete list of reports is at the end of this overview.
Our predictions are both broad and deep across the most significant areas of IT and the IT industry. As 2012 unfolds, track these predictions, and use them to frame the planning assumptions that will drive your business into the next decade. However, the way in which you use these predictions depends on your role:
IT managers, a critical demographic for these predictions, must use them to prepare for the coming onslaught of risks and user demands. The response to these risks and demands are listed as recommendations throughout the reports.
C-level executives should exploit these predictions to test new strategies and directions for their businesses as they contemplate the future use of technology to drive revenue growth.
Strategists will take a broad view of all these predictions as a means of defining a strategic platform for the growth of the business. Whether they focus on internal issues such as security, or external issues such as social media, the landscape is shifting for individuals, businesses and IT organizations — all at the same time. Strategists will earn their salaries in the next few years by thinking strategically and acting with purpose.
End users will find these predictions useful in examining the implications of certain predicted trends on their business activities. While the end user is not often the target of our predictions, all the predictions herald changes that will affect end users and their roles in companies and organizations.
Vendors should use these predictions to guide their strategic investments in R&D, marketing and demand generation.
Gartner clients have come to rely on our annual predictions for input into their strategic plans and as a signal of potentially disruptive change. For most organizations, investment and business decisions throughout the next few years will likely be made against a backdrop of continued economic uncertainly and major technological disruptions. Getting ahead of these changes will be even more important than it has ever been in the past.