10 corporate IT headaches over the next five years

Gartner's top 10 technologies that will disrupt over the next five years sound familiar. What has changed is the scale and speed of the challenges.

ORLANDO---Corporate information technology departments will face common problems over the next five years---agility, budget crunches and the need to innovate---but at a scale they just haven't had to deal with until now.

That's a high-level takeaway from a Gartner overview at its Symposium powwow.

Gartner analyst David Cappuccio ran through the research firm's top 10 technologies CIOs will have to worry about over the next five years. The trends surfaced are a followup to Gartner's earlier keynote

Here's a look the 10 issues and my take on them.


By organizational entrenchments and disruption, Gartner is referring to vendors as well as IT. One prediction is that 30 percent of companies using software as a service will switch to on-premises applications due to poor service levels by 2014. Also by 2014, market consolidation will nuke 20 percent of the top 100 IT service providers.

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As far as the IT department, service levels also matter. IT support will have to show usefulness or it'll simply go away. Customer experience will determine whether the IT department lives on and agility will matter as development times shorten.

Gartner's No. 2---software defined networks seems like a bandwagon pick in some respects. Isn't everyone since VMware's acquisition of Nicira talking software defined networks now? The argument that SDNs will impact IT is that data center operations will change along with workloads and application requirements.

The big data issue for IT has been covered repeatedly. Gartner's biggest highlight revolves around managing storage growth and getting a handle on requirements between now and 2015. The talent shortage will be painful. Gartner estimates that big data demand will generate 1 million jobs in the global 1000, but only a third of them will be filled.

For No. 4, Gartner's pitch about the hybrid data center is on target. The reality is that commodity services will go cloud, but no one is going to ditch the infrastructure they already have.

As for Gartner's client-server disruption argument it noted that 90 percent of enterprises will skip Windows 8 and client server technologies will be a grab bag. That prediction isn't much of a stretch given many companies are still going Windows 7. For more on this Windows upgrade cycle, see Ed Bott's history lesson on enterprises and Microsoft's latest OSes .

The Internet of things is a technology that I would have put higher from a business model perspective. Sensor data and smart objects affects many other areas---including big data management.

Regarding No. 7, the move to appliances as a cure-all has been well underway. What's interesting here is Gartner's argument that virtual appliances will alter the equation. Will virtual appliances render all those physical appliances (Exadata, Netezza etc.) moot?

On operational complexity, Gartner's takeaway was that employee owned devices will be compromised by malware more than double the rate of corporate-owned devices. Welcome to the BYOD headache. IT is paying for more technology than it actually uses---20 percent of features and functions in a system are used. Operational complexity will always be an issue. The fix is elusive.

For No. 9, virtual data centers will mean staff shifts and force innovation. The vertical organizations in corporate IT won't work going forward.

And finally, IT demand will be insatiable. Adding capacity won't work and corporations won't control most of the demand via apps, social networks and other things. Key issue: By 2017, 40 percent of enterprise contact information will be leaked into Facebook via mobile devices.