Microsoft Platform Architecture Team senior architect Miha Kralj is predicting IT will become industrialised over the next 10 years as consumers grow to expect scalability and repeatability at a commoditised cost.
Kralj will present his forecasts in a session at the Tech Ed conference in Auckland this morning titled "How IT will change in the next 10 years and why should you care".
"IT will become industrialised to the same level as cars or home appliances," Kralj told Computerworld by email ahead of his presentation. "It will become a purchasable utility. Consumers will expect easy scalability and seamless repeatability at commoditised cost.
"The only way to meet such demand will be to apply mass production techniques to the way IT services are delivered and served."
Kralj predicts this will prompt an explosion of connected devices that provide and consume services. Unless there is a change to the approach to managing devices and data, IT budgets will soar even for "conventional" enterprise systems, he says.
"This opportunity will be seized by vendors offering cloud platforms with seamlessly integrated, always available and universally reachable applications - and the displacement of on-premise IT will begin.
"Some vendors are already moving individual components (such as email), into the cloud, while Microsoft is progressing off-premise options for its entire software portfolio."
Kralj says the new generation, the so-called Digital Natives, will bring a new set of expectations into the workforce. This is a generation that has grown up with permanent information overload so they will be immune to traditional advertising, he says.
"As the new generation is used to borderless online socialisation, they will refuse to live by enterprise boundaries and hierarchies, so keeping secrets behind corporate walls will become harder and harder. Reputation and trust will become two of the most valuable entities and structures in organizations will flatten."
Business leadership will have to change accordingly, he says, with control and direction being displaced by relationships and negotiation.
"Extreme individualisation will lead to truly personalised working environments for each individual - in order to yield the greatest return on investment per employee. Most of information, tools, devices, services and resources will be customisable to fit the individual."
Kralj says without a doubt the biggest challlenge facing business will be finding the right people for IT transformation.
"The IT jobs that will be highest in demand in next five years are not on any curriculum of education providers today," he says. "On the flip side, it is written on the wall that traditional hand-coding of software (as taught in the education system today) is inapplicable and inadequate for the massive multi-core parallel geo-global computing of tomorrow."