Want to know where to aim your career in the next few years? Have a look at market research firm IDC's Predictions 2011: Welcome to the New Mainstream report. The big conclusion:
We expect to see transformative technologies make the critical transition from early adopter status to early mainstream adoption. We'll see the IT industry revolving more and more around the build-out and adoption of this next dominant platform, characterized by mobility, cloud-based application and service delivery, and value-generating overlays of social business and pervasive analytics. In addition to creating new markets and opportunities, this restructuring will overthrow nearly every assumption about who the industry's leaders will be and how they establish and maintain leadership.
Part of IDC's excitement is based on its expectation that worldwide IT spending will be $1.6 trillion in 2011, an increase of 5.7 percent over last year. At the same time, spending on public IT cloud services will grow at more than five times the rate of the tech industry, up 30 percent from 2010. IDC says public cloud adoption will reach 33 percent among U.S. midsize firms by year's end. Meanwhile, shipments of app-capable, non-PC mobile devices like smartphones and media tablets will outnumber PC shipments within the next 18 months. Then, the firm says, "there will be no looking back." And social business software? IDC sees a compound annual growth rate of 38 percent through 2014, and the use of social platforms by small and medium-sized businesses will accelerate. More than 40 percent of SMBs will use social networks for promotional purposes by year's end. So, here's the question: Where do you fit in? It's worth thinking about. -- Don Willmott