Predicts 2012: Four Forces Combine to Transform the IT Landscape

Predicts 2012 Analysis
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:
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.


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