Gartner predicts "brave new world" for IT

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Australian CIOs could be in for some tough decisionmaking, according to a report.

Australian CIOs could be in for some tough decisionmaking, according to a report.

Industry analyst Gartner this week revealed its annual "hot trends" forecast -- and told CIOs the coming years would likely present some of the most significant challenges of their careers.

According to John Roberts, vice president and chief of research for the Gartner's Asia Pacific arm, the total ICT spend for the region is poised to shoot up 7.6 percent in 2005 to US$208.7bn. The global figure sits at US$1747bn.

"For vendors the stakes couldn't be higher, if they miss this transition, they'll be history," Roberts warned. "If they hit it right, life will be good."

Gartner predicts great things for IT, accompanied by a whirlwind of change over the next five years.

Roberts called the envisioned associated benefits "extraordinary", reeling off such examples as network security, convergence, IP telephony, software as services and instant messaging. All are expected to come to fruition over the next 36 months.

Utility computing and wireless LANs will take a firm foothold in the industry, he said, whilst RFID tags, grid computing, web conferencing and realtime infrastructure are all set to make a substantial mark of their own.

The research pitched the 2005 price tag of Australian ICT spend at A$40.6bn. It expected Asia Pacific to remain one of the fastest growing regions for telcos with 140 million new subscribers forecast for next year.

The spurt in open source and offshore IT services was also tipped to continue according to Gartner, who warned global IT vendors to take burgeoning competition from China seriously. At least three Chinese IT companies would become significant contenders on the global stage by 2010, the analyst suggested.

Gartner's research attributing the buzz surrounding offshore services to "a dramatic uptake in global sourcing of services". Micro-commerce was the analyst's hot tip as the next IT golden ticket, and also pointed to "fundamental change" in upcoming software build in keeping with continuing strides in web services development.

"The harsh reality is that in order to take advantage of this brave new world, people will have to make some really tough decisions," Roberts concluded.

"As we transition to this next new wave of technology and all its benefits, things will be more complex and more difficult in the short term, since we must support the 'old stuff' and the 'old way' of doing things, whilst simultaneously embracing whole new architectures, skills and technologies," he said.

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