Top 5 IT predictions for 2013

image The common perspective of most analysts that have made IT predictions for 2013 is that Cloud, Social, Mobile and Information will be the foundation for the growth of businesses in 2013. We agree and we have our own take on the IT predictions for the upcoming year.

Here is TL;DR version: 

  1. Drastic changes in the role of IT and CIOs
  2. PCs will not be top choice for accessing internet
  3. Cloud and mobile will become one
  4. Cloud storage vendors will start to differentiate
  5. Raising demand for file syncing and sharing services
And long version:

Drastic changes in the role of IT and CIOs

Many changes have already happened to the role of IT and more are coming. No longer will IT only run and control on-premise services but they have implemented smart business strategies in order to drive growth and innovation. With the surge of popularity of cloud services, and the prediction that everything is moving into the cloud, IT is changing completely. The emergence of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and BYOS (Bring Your Own Service) gives IT even more headache and worry over the transition to, and use of, cloud services. Some of IT’s main roles will be: 

Management of security of clouds company uses.

Data protection (backup) of clouds company uses.

Integration of clouds and control of clouds company uses.

Renowned analyst and VP in the CIO research group at Gartner, John Mahoney, spoke at the Gartner IT Symposium Barcelona last November. He predicted the upcoming role of CIOs will be a role that “aims not so much to ‘run’ IT, instead, ensuring that business gains critical value from technological use and developments.” For more information on this transition, please check out the Gartner CIO Research Program.

No More PC

Desktops are quickly becoming most users’ second choice. Tablets and smartphones are rapidly becoming the top choice for home, work or anywhere, as the internet can now be accessed from any location that has mobile towers in range. This has created a need for applications (such as CRM, content management, project management, etc.) to be moved to the cloud and businesses are moving away from the PC-based office applications in favor of office applications that run in the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere. As the BYOD movement spreads among companies, the move to the cloud is that much more important so that employees using their own devices have access to the necessary applications and information.

IDC has predicted that worldwide IT spending will be over $2.1 trillion, an increase of 5.7% from spending in 2012. This growth is mainly due to a surge in the use of mobile devices. As more companies accept BYOD, we can expect to see a continued increase. Mobile devices are expected to grow by around 20% and this will generate around 57% of the overall growth of the industry. If we take away mobile from these stats, IT growth is only expected to rise around 2.9%. Another Gartner prediction is that tablet shipments will account for 50% of all laptop shipments.

The cloud has reduced the role Windows plays in the IT industry. Windows is no longer the singe, dominant platform for business. Actually, Windows has been reduced to being just one of many environments that IT will use to continue growth.

Cloud and mobile will become one

James Staten, a Forrester analyst, has his own cloud predictions for 2013. He points to the latest Forrsights surveys which show that nearly 50% of all businesses in North America and Europe will create spending and set aside budgets for cloud investments this year. Also, according to Staten, cloud and mobile will become one. A mobile app that transmits data through the internet to backend services running on on-premise servers will also create a security nightmare for IT to attempt to create allowances for on-premise apps and maintain security at the same time. So, many services will be moved to cloud because they need to be accessed by mobile.

Gleen O’Donnel is also a Forrester analyst, and he states that cloud plus mobile is a “more than the sum of its parts” combination. Companies will have to analyze and determine how they can produce services of value in the mobile cloud environment.

Cloud storage vendors will start differentiating

This will be accomplished by trying to virtualize all of a user’s cloud data. We predict that better features should be implemented to help utilize, organize and manipulate data rather than the standard, simple representation of data as files and folders. As cloud providers implement these measures, we can determine the different ways that they begin to grow and differentiate from each other.

Yefim Natis, another Gartner analyst, predicts that there should be an increase in buyers looking for SaaS providers with platform functionality. SaaS has experienced a surge in popularity over recent years and has been implemented into the overall software environment for most companies. IT prefers to rid silos of SaaS and, as has been noted from the use of standard application packages including ERP, CRM and HCM, businesses would rather have customization and extended SaaS services. They also want these applications to integrate and work with their existing systems on-premise or in the cloud. Gartner suggests that platform capability will differentiate the SaaS vendors so the ones with a strong investment can be determined.

Rising demand for file syncing and sharing services

In order to meet enterprise content collaboration needs and BODS need we will see rapid rise in demand for file syncing and sharing services.

More and more companies are accepting mobile devices and tablets into the work environment and this changes user expectations for IT and makes the use of standard tools such as ECM systems and SharePoint more difficult. Jeff Mann, a Gartner analyst, made his prediction on the cloud in the upcoming year. He stated that “by 2015, 20% of current ECM use cases will be fulfilled by cloud file sync and share services rather than traditional tools.” There are several cases noted in his predictions that show companies have implemented a cloud file sync and share service in addition to the main ECM platform, but over time, these companies put less effort into a bigger system. While ECM systems do manage the completed content, users have the perception that their file sharing systems are handling these tasks. Users preferred using the cloud-based systems (such as Dropbox, Evernote, Google Apps, Box.com, etc.) over standard enterprise apps which are sometimes hard to use. According to Gartner, companies that find themselves in this situation should start listening to the users to determine if cloud synchronization and sharing will be a helpful asset to their collaboration efforts.

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