Gartner Symposium roundup: 10 predictions

If this week’s Gartner Symposium is any indicator, IT is on a roll. Attendance is up this year, with more than 8,400 registrations, according to research firm Gartner Inc., which hosts the event. The conference itself has been gradually morphing into more of a CIO event, with three tracks/time slots dedicated to CIO topics today. Much of the content is also slanted toward CIOs, with less of a focus on more technical content and IT practitioner challenges than there was just a few years ago.

Gartner analysts made many different prognostications in various sessions today. Most notably, Gartner released its worldwide IT spending forecast for 2013. It projects $3.7 trillion in sales, up 3.8 percent over 2012, with the market continung to grow at that rate at least through 2016.

But that's certainly not the only prediction made here in Orlando today. Here’s a quick rundown of a few other notable predictions and comments at today’s event.

  • Windows 8 won’t gain traction in the enterprise. Gartner sees no compelling reasons to drive businesses to Windows 8 and says enterprises will avoid it at least through 2014.
  • Research in Motion is toast. “BlackBerry 10 is a huge bet,” says analyst Nick Jones. “We don‘t think 10 is going to save them.” (My own take is that it's not over until it's over. BlackBerry 10 has a shot at becoming a popular multivendor management platform for mobile, even if the BlackBerry end devices themselves, now with just 5.2% of the market and dropping, go away. Whether that would be profitable enough to sustain the company is an interesting question.)  UPDATE: The jury is still out, says analyst Ken Dulaney in a late-day presentation. See note below.
  • Chief digital officer is the hot new c-suite job title. By 2015 25% of organizations will have named a chief digital officer.
  • Social networks will become identity brokers/providers: “By end of 2015 30% of all new retail customer identities will be based on social network identities,” says analyst Earl Perkins. “Today identity is delivered by the enterprise. If you look at business partners and customers, identities may come from somewhere else. In a decade or so depending on the mobility of the social media environment and our ability to build an enterprise-class shell around that identity, they could become the dominant identity providers.”
  • Identity and access management data will become strategic. “There will come a point where we’ll be able to mine and discover what’ s happening with identity and access management and give that to the business,” says Perkins. “By 2015 80% of successful identity and access management implementations will be not only process-driven, but the goal will be delivery of intelligence.”
  • Big data will drive a big jobs surge: By 2015 big data will add 4.4 million new IT jobs.
  • Don't pin your hopes on HTML 5. “HTML 5 is an immature and fragmented mess. It’s not a standard but a collection of standards that are all evolving at different rates, all controlled by different standards bodies,” says analyst Nick Jones. “It will be part of future but don’t expect it to be a simple solution to all of your portability problems.”
  • Coming soon: Cheap tablets. In 2013 vendors will deliver 10-inch Android tablets for under $300 and sub-$75 Android smartphones.
  • Smart phones to go seriously multi-core. By 2014 smart phone manufacturers will be selling 8-core, 2 GHz asymmetric architecture devices, compared to today’s single core devices that run at under 1 GHz.
  • For carriers it’s all about data. Between 2012 and 2016 carriers will see a more than 70% increase in data revenue while voice will drop more than 20%.

UPDATE 6:00 PM:  In and end-of-day session, analyst Ken Dulaney offered a less glum assessment of Research in Motion. “Don’t panic,” he says, noting that the company has plenty of cash on hand to keep going until BlackBerry 10 has a chance to catch on. There's no rush to move unless you want to do so. If you do want to move, Dulaney says, be sure to move to a multiplatform strategy. But if you want to wait, dont jump when BlackBerry 10 first comes out.

Because the market is moving toward BYOD, consumers are the king makers. Therefore, he recommends that enterprises hold of on moving to BlackBerry 10 until it’s clear how the consumer market responds. “[BlackBerrry 10] must succeed in the consumer market. They have to show that it’s a compelling enough platform for the consumer to buy it,” he says. A major obstacle remains the relative paucity of of quality BlackBerry apps of interest to consumers. RIM’s smart phone market share, once  20%, declined to 11% in 2011 and now sits at 5.2%, decliing even faster than Gartner's 6.8% year-end forecast. But that's share of sales. RIMS's share of installed base in the enterprise remains much higher, he says. Will BlackBerry 10 reverse the trend? For now, he says, “the jury is still out."

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