The transition to the third platform built on mobile computing, cloud services, social networking and big data analytics will shift into high gear in 2013 as the IT industry accelerates past the exploration phase and into full-blown, high-stakes competition, according to research firm IDC.
"The IT industry as a whole is moving toward the mobile/social/cloud/big data world of the 3rd Platform much more quickly than many realize; from 2013 through 2020, these technologies will drive around 90 percent of all the growth in the IT market," said Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC.
For 2013, IDC predicts worldwide IT spending will exceed $2.1 trillion, up 5.7 percent from 2012. The biggest category driving this growth will once again be smart mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, eReaders), which will grow by almost 20 percent in 2013 and generate nearly 57 percent of the industry's overall growth. Excluding mobile devices, the IT industry's growth is forecast to be just 2.9 percent.
Among the other major IT categories, worldwide software and services spending are forecast to grow 6 percent and 4 percent, respectively. The PC and server markets are also expected to return to modest positive growth in 2013, aided in part by more favorable year-over-year comparisons.
Cloud will also be a powerful contributor to industry developments in 2013 with the merger and acquisition activity of the past 20 months actually accelerating. IDC expects to see more than $25 billion in acquisitions over the next 20 months as cloud services become the centerpiece of more and more vendors' offerings. As packaged application providers like IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle become software as a service (SaaS) providers themselves, they will increasingly battle with SaaS pure plays like Salesforce.com and Workday for leadership in some of the major application software markets.
Elsewhere in the cloud, IDC expects 2013 will see an explosion in industry PaaS (public platform as a service) offerings as the market moves up the software stack and "horizontal" PaaS becomes commoditized by platforms built on open source-based infrastructure. In industry PaaS, cloud-based shared services environments are being tailored to the needs of a specific industry, while additional industry-focused solution developers are developing and deploying a range of industry-targeted value-added solutions and services on these platforms. Examples of emerging industry PaaS include: NYSE Capital Markets Community Platform in financial services; numerous health information exchanges in healthcare; and Johnson Controls' Panoptix App Marketplace in smart energy.
The trend toward industry-specific solutions will be further driven by the increased participation of line of business (LoB) executives in IT investment decisions. In 2013, nearly 60 percent of new IT investments will directly involve LoB execs (with them as the decision maker in 25 percent of the investments). As a result, IDC expects that businesses will spend $65 billion on industry-specific solutions in 2013, with a rapidly increasing number of them leveraging 3rd Platform technologies. This figure will grow to nearly $100 billion in the next 3 years as businesses use these technologies and solutions to create new products and services, and redefine existing customer relationships.
All of the trends outlined above – increased use of mobile devices and apps and the migration toward SaaS and industry PaaS – will also drive profound changes in the data centers and IT organizations supporting these third platform solutions. Here, converged systems (combining server, storage and network systems together with the software to manage them) and software-defined networking will transition from market hype to market reality in 2013 with enterprise datacenter and cloud-provider use cases coming to market and getting deployed. Both nascent data center technologies will show explosive growth in 2013, reaching a remarkable 30-35 percent penetration in the data center by 2016.
In the social software market, enterprise software vendors will continue to step up their app transformations with social technology acquisitions, accelerating the buying spree that began in 2011. Look for Microsoft to beef up its CRM/Customer Experience offerings by acquiring a community management platform like GetSatisfaction or Lithium. Similarly, Oracle can be expected to abandon its attempt at creating an enterprise social network and acquire a more robust tool with an existing customer base. Meanwhile, businesses will struggle with enterprise social network sprawl in the transition from experimentation to integration.
Elsewhere, "Bring Your Own Identity" (BYOID) will bring consumerization to enterprise security in 2013, as security software vendors and IT shops start using Facebook, Google, and other social and consumer cloud identity services as a core part of their identity management environment, giving them the ability to extend identity management from their enterprise out to wider circles of customers, partners, and prospects. It will become even clearer that "consumerization" is not just about end user devices (smartphones, tablets); but increasingly about many of the core parts of enterprise IT.
Finally, big data will continue on its growth path, with investment in technologies and services growing to nearly $10 billion in 2013. But the focus of this investment will see an important shift in 2013, as more VC funding and M&A goes toward the upper half of the big data stack: analytics and discovery tools, and analytic applications. IDC expects predictive analytics will be a particular hot spot in the months to come.
IDC's predictions for 2013 are presented in full detail in the report, IDC Predictions 2013: Competing on the 3rd Platform