The world of datacenters and enterprise IT will look pretty much the same in 2014 as it did in 2013, only more so, according to reports released today by research firms Gartner and IDC.
Yes, 2013 was pretty exciting for both IT vendors and the tech organizations that depend on them. Steve Ballmer, the hand-picked heir to what may be the last empire among IT vendors, was shoved out of his own company for focusing on the reality of income statements rather than “reality” projected by futurists painting pictures of things that don’t yet exist. Then Dell went private, the CEO of the once-dominant BlackBerry had to reassure customers the company is not yet dead, and the Internet of Things began to metastasize into the center of all conversations after heavy fertilization by hype and furor, years before it can possibly deliver any practical results.
Even major corporations began to acknowledge the de facto migration to what IDC and Gartner both refer to as a new, separate platform (IDC: “3rd Platform”; Gartner: “Nexus of Forces”) but that everyone outside IT circles views simply as having more stuff available on the Internet.
Three-dimensional printing will do some genuinely new things, on the way to costing existing industries $100 billion in intellectual property annually by 2018, according to other Gartner reports.
Otherwise, 2014 will be a year in which the disruption started in earlier years really takes hold.
Enterprise IT will continue moving to both public and private clouds, expanding that market by 25 percent in 2014, according to IDC, and shoving the standards higher in first the IaaS and then PaaS markets. Supercomputers will continue getting more super at the high end, while their slightly smaller, weaker sidekicks will multiply like Marvel hero movie franchises within private and public datacenters desperate for the oomph to crunch data that is already big and growing quickly toward super-size. (Big-data market to grow by 30 percent in 2014, according to IDC.)
Corporate marketers, meanwhile, will find their connection with customers has grown even more distant and hostile after they integrate social networks and “community” functions into their customer-care/customer-contact software, before discovering that customers don’t like to be spammed in places they hang out with work friends.
“In addition to being a strategic component in virtually all customer engagement and marketing strategies, data from social applications will feed the product and service development process,” according to IDC. Social networking functions will quickly become part of enterprise apps in the same way Web interfaces did – as a way to make apps created for internal consumption more palatable and effective for employees. Information sharing can then be managed within a corporation’s “social layer” rather than through the social layers of employees, according to IDC – keeping more confidential customer data where it can be secured and protected rather than having copies of it sit in the private cloud accounts of employees.
IT vendor companies often swimming in cash but dry of new ideas will continue to struggle to adapt to consumers with access to more computing resources than most corporate customers of five years ago.
CIOs will continue to struggle with the balance between technology and business, new and old.
CIOs (according to both IDC and Gartner) have to keep IT from becoming either one of those luddite organizations that spend so much time nursing legacy systems and keeping (proverbial) lights on. They also have to keep the superconfident, understanding-impaired upstarts from pushing the company’s tech strategy so close to the bleeding edge of technology that it depends on something that has already fallen over the edge.
IT spending will increase 5 percent; there will be more jobs for techs with the right mix of skills.
CIOs and IT organizations will vow early in the year to move heaven and Earth out of the way to allow a final, perfect alignment of business and IT strategy; late in the year, when surveys of CEOs show nothing has changed, scapegoats will be named, and automatic re-alignment correction frameworks will be conceived, debated and discarded to let members of the correction-framework project catch up on actual work.
2014, in other words, will be just like 2013 – hectic, disruptive, painful for everyone who knows what’s going on and a party for those who don’t. Unlike years in which a major technology revolution upends one part of the tech industry, 2014 will be as fair and egalitarian as 2013 has been. Everything will continue to change whether the people involved like it or not, in directions chosen by trend-setters among consumers and end-user no one is able to identify and by priorities no one but customers are willing to accept.
“CIOs must actively manage disruptive innovation associated with the era of the Nexus of Forces (Cloud, Social, Mobile and Information) to justify new IT purchases and accelerate new initiatives,” according to Gartner’s CIO priorities for 2014. “
“The priorities of CEOs must be dealt with by CIOs who exist in a still-turbulent economy and increasingly uncertain technology future,” according to a look-ahead prediction from Gartner’s Daryl Plummer in 2012.“As the world of IT moves forward, it is finding that it must coordinate activities in a much wider scope than it once controlled, and as a result, a loss of control echoes through several predictions we are making.”
Sounds like 2013 all over again.
Image: Shutterstock.com/ kurhan