Analysts at Gartner are prophesying a global double-dip recession that will test the mettle of corporate CIOs and squeeze budgets, but predict that businesses will continue to invest in IT.
"The second recession is about to hit," Peter Sondergaard, senior veep for research at Gartner told an audience of around 8,500 industry folk at this year's Gartner Symposium in Orlando.
But it wasn't the parlous state of the economy hogging the limelight at the event, Gartner talked up the importance of the industry and coughed predictions of a seismic shift caused by the cloud, big data and social media.
Sondergaard said that 350 enterprises would splash more than $1bn on IT this year to harden their competitive advantage and claimed that IT had "shaped" the geopolitical and economic landscape.
The analyst estimates that enterprise IT spending will total $2.7 trillion in 2012, up nearly 4 per cent from this year.
“For the IT leader to thrive in this environment, IT leaders must lead from the front and re-imagine IT,” said Sondergaard.
“IT leaders must embrace the postmodern business, a business driven by customer relationships, fuelled by the explosion in information, collaboration, and mobility.”
Never one to over-egg the pudding, Gartner said these forces combined were "revolutionising business and society" and will define the "next age of the computing".
The move to public cloud services is at an embryonic stage – $74bn was spent on public clouds in 2010 representing just three per cent of total enterprise spend.
But the analyst reckons public cloud spend will grow five times faster than total enterprise IT spending through to 2015.
Sondergaard said 1.2 billion bods across the planet are using social networking sites and this was also challenging IT leaders to "immediately incorporate social software capabilities throughout their enterprise systems".
The proliferation of information requires multiple systems including content management, data management, data marts and specialised file systems, which will replace the one enterprise data warehouse, he said.
“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine ... pursuing this strategically will create an unprecedented amount of information of enormous variety and complexity," said Sondergaard.
As a result, businesses are overhauling data management strategies, known as big data, which creates a pattern-based strategy architecture that "seeks signals, models them for their impact, and then adapt to the business process of the organisation".
The rapid transition to mobile is catching out some organisations that can't keep up with the pace of change, said Gartner, and while fewer than 20 million fondleslabs were sold in 2010, 900 million will be shipped by 2016.
By 2014, Apple's iOS, Google Android and Windows 8 will exceed the number of PC-based systems on the market, the beancounter ventured.
"It requires IT to re-imagine the way it provides applications ... by 2014, private app stores will be deployed by 60 per cent of IT organisations. The applications themselves will be redesigned – they will become context-enabled, understanding the user’s intent automatically," said Sondergaard.
Milko van Duijl, senior veep for mature markets at Lenovo, told The Reg the retail market was facing challenges amid a dip in consumer confidence but he reckoned the enterprise market would continue to spend on PCs into next year to replace an aged installed base.
"The enterprise refresh will continue for another two to three to four quarters," he said, "PC is a discretionary spend so it is not difficult to implement and not a risky strategy." ®