2011 watershed year for technology convergence

By Elizabeth Kelleher

Analyst firm IDC has predicted that in 2011, cloud services, mobile computing, and social networking will mature and coalesce into a new mainstream platform for both the IT industry and the industries it serves.

Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC, said these transformative technologies will make the critical transition from early adopter status to early mainstream adoption in 2011.

“As a result, we’ll see the IT industry revolving more and more around the build-out and adoption of this next dominant platform, characterised by mobility, cloud-based application and service delivery, and value-generating overlays of social business and pervasive analytics,” said Gens.

“In addition to creating new markets and opportunities, this restructuring will overthrow nearly every assumption about who the industry’s leaders will be and how they establish and maintain leadership.”

According to IDC, the platform transition will be fuelled by another solid year of recovery in IT spending, which it expects to increase by 5.7 per cent to $1.6 trillion in the next 12 months.

While IDC believes hardware spending will grow by more than 7 per cent, it said the industry will depend to a larger extent on improvements in software spending and related project-based services spending and gains in outsourcing.

IDC predicts mobile computing will continue to grow in 2011, with shipments of app-capable, non-PC mobile devices, such as smartphones and media tablets, expected to outnumber PC shipments within the next 18 months.

Social business software, which has gained significant momentum over the past year, is expected to continue growing with IDC forecasting a compound annual growth rate of 38 per cent until 2014.

IDC expects 2011 to be a year of consolidation as the major software vendors acquire social software providers to jump-start or increase their social business footprint.

“What really distinguishes the year ahead is that these disruptive technologies are finally being integrated with each other – cloud with mobile, mobile with social networking, social networking with ‘big data’ and real-time analytics,” said Gens.

“As a result, these once-emerging technologies can no longer be invested in, or managed, as sandbox efforts around the edges of the market. Instead, they are rapidly becoming the market itself and must be addressed accordingly.”

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