Analyst firm IDC did not deliver any shocking future predictions at its IDC Directions conference, held in Auckland last week.
Rather, Amit Gupta, country manager of IDC New Zealand, and Philippe de Marcillac, executive vice president of IDC’s International Business Units, talked about an increasing impact of Web 2.0 in the enterprise, green IT, the data explosion, the SMB opportunity and emerging markets.
The local IT market will be relatively stable until 2011, said Gupta. IDC predicts year-over-year growth of just under 5% over the next three years. Key factors that will shape the future include Web 2.0 technologies, the skills shortage, and the content explosion and subsequent increasing power consumption. Green IT is a hot topic, he said. “It’s real and it’s here to stay.”
Gupta also predicted the local IT market will move towards a new model of service provisioning, based on partnerships within the ecosystem. He envisages an IT market of aggregators that will form strong partnerships with each other in order to reach into bigger markets.
“The ecosystem will have to adopt an approach of co-opetition,” he said.
IDC has for the last couple of years talked about the disruption of the IT market. The market is now in an era of post-disruption, said de Marcillac.
According to de Marcillac, the next big thing in IT is something the research firm has coined “Enterprise 2.0” or “Industry 2.0”.
The technology goals of the new enterprise are changing, he said. Instead of building infrastructure, organisations will be building communities. Instead of creating content, they will be creating loyalty. Self-service is also becoming an important area, rather than enabling transactions, he said.
Organisations will turn to Web 2.0 technologies — primarily creating communities — to reach more customers, but also to increase productivity, said de Marcillac. The move is inevitable if companies want to stay successful. Companies will have to redefine their relationships with customers, or the customers will do it for them, said Gupta.
But there are risks in taking the Web 2.0 plunge. The communities may well be a way to reach more customers, but the community will also be quick to inform its members of any deficiencies in the company’s products or services, said de Marcillac.
Blogs and wikis can be great tools for building loyalty and interacting with customers, but they require companies to get engaged. Another downside for companies is that any detrimental information about them on blogs or wikis is permanent and will appear in every search potential new customers do, he said.
The virtualised datacentre will be key to the Enterprise 2.0, as the storage demand will continue to grow, said de Marcillac.
De Marcillac also said that the US recession will have a negative impact on the hardware market in particular. Software will be more resilient, but will still suffer, while services will be the most resilient, he said.