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Gartner's Top 10 Information Technology Predictions for 2009

Telepresence, virtualization, cloud computing, business process outsourcing and more.

by / February 9, 2009

"Telepresence is not the answer in every circumstance and there will always be strong cultural and other reasons for face to face encounters, particularly in Asia. But not every meeting needs to be face to face..." -- Gartner's Steve Prentice

The challenge of current world economic conditions is set to drive uptake of video telepresence in the next three years, with the travel industry losing out, according to Gartner Inc. Gartner analysts predict that high-definition based video meeting solutions will replace 2.1 million airline seats annually, costing the travel and hospitality industry $3.5 billion per year.

Speaking at the annual Gartner Predicts 2009 briefing in Sydney this morning, Gartner Fellow Steve Prentice said companies must educate themselves on the scope and capabilities of telepresence systems.

"The challenge of the current economic conditions demands that every organization revisit the need for face-to-face meetings," said rentice. "Telepresence is not the answer in every circumstance and there will always be strong cultural and other reasons for face to face encounters, particularly in Asia. But not every meeting needs to be face to face and there is no doubt that telepresence and other approaches to virtual collaboration such as Immersive Workspace, which is built on top of Second Life, or yet to be released solutions will provide a real alternative for many businesses. Companies should put aside previous prejudices and bad memories of older video-conferencing services and seriously investigate these new technologies."

Gartner's Top 10 Predictions for 2009

Gartner publishes an annual top 10 list of broad technology predictions selected from more than 100 predictions that its analysts present and review every year. The remaining predictions in this year's top 10 are:

  • From 2009 to 2013 the server virtualization software market will grow with a compound annual growth rate of 28 percent, rising from US$1.8bn to US$6.2bn. Virtualization's impact on the IT industry has been dramatic and will continue to be the catalyst for change in infrastructure and operations until 2013. Organizations are looking at ways to cut costs, better utilize assets and reduce implementation/management time and complexity. Virtualization addresses all of these concerns. Gartner recommends organizations openly evaluate and implement virtualization at both server and desktop level to save money and remain competitive.
  • By 2011, 30 percent of consulting and systems integration revenue will be delivered via 'cloud computing,' a style of computing where massively scaleable IT-enabled capabilities are delivered 'as a service' to external customers using Internet technologies. Gartner analysts said organizations should consider cloud-based delivery options from their Consulting and Systems Integration provider as it will enable the delivery of a potentially more cost effective solution.
  • By 2012, as many as one in three of the top 20 business process outsourcing (BPO) providers will no longer exist. The market will witness a shake out of its competitive landscape over the coming months as providers are swept up in the economic crisis, exposed to loss-making contracts on their books and an inability to adapt to standardized business models. As the BPO market moves from adolescence into maturity, the economic crisis comes at a critical time for many providers who will need to improve service levels while taking cost out of the business. Contracts which today rely on significant front-end transition investment and time will likely give way to standardized services utilizing cloud-oriented approaches. Providers, large or small, who cannot adapt to offer the delivery of this style of comprehensive services, or maintain profitability will increasingly struggle. According to Gartner, companies must evaluate potential BPO providers in the light of their recent activities, set time aside for strategic discussions and to prepare contingency plans in case of consolidation.
  • By 2012, successful enterprises will actively encourage and reward more failures in order to find the optimal approach they want more quickly. Unfortunately, for many reasons, most business managers lack
  • the skills to change processes or understand how desired changes might affect others. Thus, the BPM principle that business managers and process participants can and should be able to change processes -- either changing the design, the instance, the data or the execution -- is very scary to many. This will not change unless business users are given and encouraged to use a business process "sandbox" -- a safe place in which to build their skills and test their ideas about which process needs more or less agility, where the flex point should be, what the effects are of one change versus another, how change affects process performance and process partners, and more.
  • In 2012, the major PC vendors will recycle only one PC for every five they ship. With ongoing PC market growth and strong adoption of mobile PCs, the volume of secondary PCs is accelerating. However, PC recycling is still highly dependent on government legislation and subsidies. Without subsidies, PC recycling is usually not profitable. Vendors have made some progress developing recycling schemes, but the volume of product they collectively take back is a fraction of the total they produce. The IT industry as a whole needs to do more, particularly as the PC is only one type of electronic waste. Actions might include auditing and publication of vendor recycling data, universal inclusion of recycling costs in the original cost of sale and, although deeply unpopular with the industry, research into how average lifecycles might be extended.
  • By 2012, 30 percent of mobile PCs sold in the worldwide consumer market will be priced at less than US$300. Low-cost PCs allow vendors to increase PC penetration in emerging markets across Asia Pacific, in Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa. The inclusion of wireless functionality for mobile Internet connectivity, when combined with growing availability of wireless infrastructure makes these devices attractive to telecommunications service providers, opening up a new distribution channel. According to Gartner, enterprises should also consider the possible uses of these devices and whether they enable new business opportunities. In any event, they should prepare to find individually purchased devices of this type being attached to the network by remote and mobile workers and revisit their security and management policies on non-corporate devices.
  • By year end 2013, 40 percent of enterprise knowledge workers will have abandoned or removed their desk phone. With complex desk phones costing several hundred dollars per unit, and growing moves toward remote workers, hotdesking and other business practices which unlink an individual from a fixed location, there are significant cost savings possible. There will be resistance from workers, especially the older and more traditionally minded, whose working practices are more centered around the desktop device which will prevent total elimination of the desk phone, but the trend is clear. According to Gartner, organizations should consider whether users need a desk phone and a mobile device and plan to reduce unnecessary expenses.
  • By the end of next year 2010, wireless operators will cease to offer unlimited (flat-rate) mobile data plans. Gartner warns that users must expect data throughput limitations on 3G to continue and plan mobile enterprise services accordingly. New bandwidth-intensive smart phones and mobile Internet devices are accelerating the demand for bandwidth, with devices like Apple's iPhone driving significant increases in mobile data usage. Networks are already hitting capacity and increased customer demand is impacting network availability and effective throughput. Mobile data services are already slowing down as carriers frequently fail to deliver on the promised speeds.
  • By year end 2012, physical sensors will create 20 percent of non-video Internet traffic. We are all familiar with CCTV systems for monitoring traffic movement, license plates and many other applications, but how about collecting data from the hard-disk shock sensors in your notebook to collect data to better understand earth tremors and earthquakes? The extent and diversity of real-time environmental sensing is growing rapidly as our ability to act on and interpret the growing volumes of data to capture valuable information increases. Gartner says organizations should consider how use of the growing volume of real-time data might create new business models and enable better informed business decision making.

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