Gartner 2012 Predictions

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Forbes published an article called The Road Ahead: Gartner’s Outlook for 2012 And Beyond. It offers the reader, in summary/bullet form Gartner’s predictions for the IT sector.  Some of the points are pretty obvious – a clear rise in Cloud and mobility, but there are a few surprises. 

In 2013, the investment bubble will burst for consumer social networks, and for enterprise social software companies in 2014.

Typically “investment bubbles” bursts when the demand for the tech bursts, but it isn’t clear if that’s what is meant here. I find it difficult to believe that social networking will peak so quickly. If it does, that’s bad news for IBM.

By 2016, at least 50 percent of enterprise email users will rely primarily on a browser, tablet or mobile client instead of a desktop client.

This one seems overtly safe. 2016 is still pretty far away, 50% is a low number, and most everyone I know already rely heavily on a mobile app. So if I read between the line – I think Gartner is saying Outlook is going to lose relevance. There is no mention of the server, or in this case Exchange. So one could assume the prediction assumes Microsoft will make Exchange a web friendly/mobile friendly server which seems very likely AND/OR that email as a whole will move to the cloud and use a browser instead of a desktop client (like Gmail) – that also seems likely. I might revise this prediction to 2013 and 60%.

At year-end 2016, more than 50 percent of Global 1000 companies will have stored customer-sensitive data in the public cloud.

I might change this one to 2011, but add the caveat that perhaps did so unknowingly. The easiest way to make money now is harvesting personal information – Google and Facebook are the masters, but a ton of smartphone apps and websites are pretty savvy too. Corporate data are on smartphones thanks to BYOD – and who knows what else lurks on those softphones. Also, what’s the definition of “customer sensitive data?” Other services such as Google Desktop are uploading information directly through the firewall. See my prior post on privacy.

By 2014, 20 percent of Asia-sourced finished goods and assemblies consumed in the U.S. will shift to the Americas.

I agree with the prediction, but not completely with the drivers. The article sites escalating oil prices and rising wages in many offshore markets as the primary drivers. Another big driver is robots. The iPhone 5 will be produced in Brazil, not China. Brazil bought the business with highly efficient and expensive robots that completely eliminate humans from the manufacturing process. The human’s role with the iPhone 5 is to load materials and unload built iPhones. In China, 20 hands touch the iPhone 4 during manufacturing. As robots do more of the work, cheap labor becomes less important. It means, worldwide, that products will be produced closer to where they are consumed. This also reduces the risk associated with currency exchange, which has been highly turbulent recently.

Dave Michels