December 7, 2012 – With enterprise mobility and on-demand offerings leading the way, 2013 is being forecast by leaders at IDC as a year of seismic changes in IT investment and functions.

IDC SVP and Chief Analyst Frank Gens recently led a presentation on expectations for 2013, subtitled “Competing on the 3rd Platform.” The expansion of what IDC calls the third-platform – the new layers of mobile devices and apps, cloud services, big data analytics, social technology, and the involvement of emerging markets and line-of-business executives – has been a theme of the firm’s forecasts for the past five years.

However, Gens said next year is “pivotal” in the evolution of those areas of IT as they move ahead in the business realm toward 2020. IDC predicts that from 2013 to 2020, 90 percent of IT industry growth will emanate from this third-platform group, which generated just 22 percent of IT industry growth this year. Due to this once-every-25-years shift from these combined technologies and trends, Gens said that businesses should dedicate 80 percent of their competitive energy across these areas.

“It means the days of cautiously exploring these technologies ... are over. These technologies are now the core of the market’s growth,” said Gens.

Parsing the collective wave of expected growth, IDC sees enterprise mobility making the most drastic strides in 2013. Investment in enterprise mobility will contribute 57 percent of IT growth in the years to come, and next year will mark a “battle” as developers of mobile applications at the enterprise level are in higher demand than their PC counterparts, Gens said.

Cloud computing and the evolving as-a-service field should expect continued growth over the next 20 months, with SaaS spending alone to hit $25 billion and taking over certain industries and software specialties over that time frame, according to IDC. By 2016, IDC foresees PaaS to expand ten-times beyond current levels, particularly from industry-specific offerings, the adoption of open source data tools and horizontal on-demand platform vendors “moving up the enterprise stack,” Gens said.

Mobility and cloud were both prediction leaders from Gens and IDC for 2012, but their growing interest is rippling into other sectors and industries at a rapid pace in the year ahead. 

In whole, here are IDC’s 10 top-level trends and issues that will shape the IT industry in 2013:

  1. Worldwide IT growth down slightly from past years, at 5.7 percent, which would top the $2 trillion mark expected for 2012
  2. The rise of emerging markets – particularly Russia and China – will drive spending and innovation
  3. Mobile devices will “dominate” with a 20-percent increase in smart device sales to $430 billion (in comparison, PC sales are expected to grow 1.7 percent to $237 billion)
  4. A watershed year for mobile platform development and a battle between vendors such as Microsoft and RIM
  5. Consolidation and acceptance of enterprise cloud and SaaS
  6. Vertical and horizontal spread of cloud offerings, especially PaaS
  7. Data centers dominated by transformation from converged systems, SDN and enterprise security consumerization (what IDC called bring your own ID, or BYOID)
  8. Increased spending and use of industry-specific solutions
  9. More embedded social capabilities, and a buyout of smaller social application vendors
  10. Increased discovery and analytic capabilities with large-scale and unstructured data sets

For a replay of the presentation, available through May 2013, register for free here.

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