Some of the highlights include . . .
- By 2012, 50 percent of traveling workers will leave their notebooks at home in favor of other devices. Even though notebooks continue to shrink in size and weight, traveling workers lament the weight and inconvenience of carrying them on their trips. Vendors are developing solutions to address these concerns: new classes of Internet-centric pocketable devices at the sub-$400 level; and server and Web-based applications that can be accessed from anywhere. There is also a new class of applications: portable personality that encapsulates a user's preferred work environment, enabling the user to recreate that environment across multiple locations or systems.
- By 2012, 80 percent of all commercial software will include elements of open-source technology. Many open-source technologies are mature, stable and well supported. They provide significant opportunities for vendors and users to lower their total cost of ownership and increase returns on investment. Ignoring this will put companies at a serious competitive disadvantage. Embedded open source strategies will become the minimal level of investment that most large software vendors will find necessary to maintain competitive advantages during the next five years.
- By 2012, at least one-third of business application software spending will be as service subscription instead of as product license. With software as service (SaaS), the user organisation pays for software services in proportion to use. This is fundamentally different from the fixed-price perpetual license of the traditional on-premises technology. Endorsed and promoted by all leading business applications vendors (Oracle, SAP, Microsoft) and many Web technology leaders (Google, Amazon), the SaaS model of deployment and distribution of software services will enjoy steady growth in mainstream use during the next five years.
- By 2011, early technology adopters will forgo capital expenditures and instead purchase 40 percent of their IT infrastructure as a service. Increased high-speed bandwidth makes it practical to locate infrastructure at other sites and still receive the same response times. Enterprises believe that as service oriented architecture (SOA) becomes common "cloud computing" will take off, thus untying applications from specific infrastructure. This trend to accepting commodity infrastructure could end the traditional "lock-in" with a single supplier and lower the costs of switching suppliers. It means that IT buyers should strengthen their purchasing and sourcing departments to evaluate offerings. They will have to develop and use new criteria for evaluation and selection and phase out traditional criteria.
- By 2009, more than one third of IT organizations will have one or more environmental criteria in their top six buying criteria for IT- related goods. Initially, the motivation will come from the wish to contain costs. Enterprise data centers are struggling to keep pace with the increasing power requirements of their infrastructures. And there is substantial potential to improve the environmental footprint, throughout the life cycle, of all IT products and services without any significant trade-offs in price or performance. In future, IT organisations will shift their focus from the power efficiency of products to asking service providers about their measures to improve energy efficiency.
- By 2011, suppliers to large global enterprises will need to prove their green credentials via an audited process to retain preferred supplier status. Those organizations with strong brands are helping to forge the first wave of green sourcing policies and initiatives.
These policies go well beyond minimizing direct carbon emissions or requiring suppliers to comply with local environmental regulations.
For example, Timberland has launched a "Green Index" environmental rating for its shoes and boots. Home Depot is working on evaluation and audit criteria for assessing supplier submissions for its new EcoOptions product line.
Gartner is careful to say that none of these trends require IT directors, CFO's and other key corporate decision makers to drop what they're doing and address each one immediately.
"But they are the most compelling and critical predictions, the trends and topics . . . and they indicate a strong focus on individuals, the environment, and alternative ways of buying and selling IT services and technologies," said Daryl Plummer, managing vice president and Gartner Fellow. "These areas of focus imply a significant groundswell of change that may in turn change the entire industry."