Gartner Details Top Five Trends in IT

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The industry analysts at research firm Gartner have assembled what they believe will be the five next big things in IT for this year, and the results will likely leave techies with mixed emotions. Convergence and open-source experts probably will be happy to see that their lines of work are among the hot trends, but IT professionals may be wary of the inclusion of global offshoring on the list. Here’s a roundup of their findings:


  • Open-source software may shuffle the software sector, but won’t bring down the big boys: Gartner believes open-source software will bring about a restructuring of the industry through higher-quality software at a lower cost (or no cost at all, at least on the front end). Although the organization predicts major players such as IBM and Microsoft will remain intact, it also expects that software markets will undergo significant changes when open-source shifts revenue from licensing costs to services and support.
    According to Gartner, while open-source software products will constitute—at most—10 percent of the IT solutions within Global 2000 companies five years from now, nearly all of them (95 percent, anyway) will have some kind of open-source acquisition and management strategy in place by 2008. In that same year, open-source applications will go head-to-head with closed-source products in all software infrastructure markets and by 2010, IT organizations of Global 2000 businesses will consider open-source for 80 percent of their infrastructure-focused software investments and one-quarter of business software ventures, Gartner predicts.
  • Voice/data convergence will bring not only inexpensive infrastructure, but also new applications: Although enterprises shouldn’t necessarily scrap their existing LANs, they ought to test the waters of converged networks, Gartner experts said in the report. Most organizations may contend with convergence issues like financial justification and structural shuffling early on, but Gartner believes that almost every major company will have some solution based on IP telephony and VoIP by the end of the decade. In fact, it predicts that 40 percent of companies will have completed the convergence of their entire voice and data networks to a single network by 2010.
  • Service-oriented architecture (SOA) will make business smoother and faster, but at a price: Three primary attributes make the latest SOA push especially attractive to businesses: widespread usage of robust standards for defining and accessing services, a melding of modular services at the point of execution and an increasing comprehension of the right scale and content of particular services.
    Gartner researchers said the traditional boundary between software integrators and vendors will begin to disappear as packaged apps are dispersed and delivered as service-oriented business applications (SOBAs). They also predict that by next year, well more than half of the IT professional services market—about $500 billion-plus annually—will rest on the utilization of Web services standards and technology.
  • IT utility will enable organizations to meet their needs through shared resources: Companies will meet their IT business process, application and infrastructure requirements with “resource pools” instead of dedicated resources, thanks to IT-utility-style computing based on real-time infrastructure architecture. Gartner projects that certain components of real-time infrastructure will lead to more efficient and economical IT in the next five to 10 years. In addition, shared sources will execute as much as 25 percent of the Fortune 500’s application demands by 2010.
  • Global outsourcing just will not go away: Although its record has been spotty so far—notably in the help desk/IT support function—offshoring of jobs is apparently a Pandora’s box, Gartner said. International outsourcing is a permanent state of affairs, and while it may wax and wane, businesses (especially the larger ones) won’t go back to the old delivery models.
    In 10 years, nearly a third of established professional IT services jobs will be delivered from emerging markets like China, India, Russia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Though a significant economic impact is certainly a given when discussing this trend—Gartner estimated that the disparity between the costs of IT services in developed and developing markets will play a role in more than 70 percent of deals—it is hard to say what the long-term political and cultural consequences of outsourcing will be.


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