A new set of predictions by Gartner Inc. reports that by 2012, 20 per cent of businesses will not own any IT assets, neither end user nor data centre.
As organizations increasingly dabble in client virtualization, some are realizing that they don't even need to own PCs if it doesn't really matter on which machine users are working, said Leslie Fiering, vice-president with Gartner, based in Pescadero, Calif. "In fact, for some small to mid-sized business, having your own PC is a requirement to show up for work," said Fiering.
Now that client virtualization takes care of security issues like how corporate data is isolated and protected, Fiering said there is now a growing desire to get help with the "non-strategic burdens of PC ownership."
"We're not completely there, but we're certainly getting there," said Fiering.
There's also a big move among infrastructure service providers to build server farms that offer the security and manageability that customers demand, allowing large organizations to move their IT infrastructures offsite or even off their books, said Fiering.
The role of the value-added reseller (VAR) will change, said Fiering, as they offer infrastructure services initially to smaller companies out of their own data centres or those of cloud providers. These VARs, she said, may even own and offer PCs as part of the infrastructure service.
"And then, over time, we will see more and more large organizations following suit," said Fiering.
The report goes on to say that while the need for computing hardware will not disappear, the shift to hosted infrastructure will lead to smaller IT budgets and hardware specialists will be laid off or need to retrain in some other area.
The report is entitled Gartner Top End User Predictions for 2010: Coping with the New Balance of Power.
Gartner also predicts that by 2012, India-centric IT service vendors will make up 20 per cent of the leading cloud aggregators in the market because they will use transparency to woo Western customers. The research and development efforts of these Indian vendors will also speed up progress in cloud offerings by creating competition in the market, and eventually higher-quality offerings, the report said.
Gartner predicts that by 2014, carbon remediation costs will form part of most IT business cases as a means of measuring savings in the face of increasing threat of penalties for excess carbon emissions. "These penalties could easily range between $10 and $50 per ton of CO2 emitted," the report said.
By 2012, Gartner predicts 60 per cent of a new PC's total life greenhouse gas emissions will have happened before the end user even turns on the machine. For that reason, Gartner foresees manufacturers eventually being pressured to make modular, upgradable machines that extend PC life rather than replacing them.
Gartner predicts that by 2014, more than three billion adults will be able to conduct transactions via the Web on their mobile devices. This will drastically alter the world's trading economy as we know it, said Gartner. "For mobile operators, Internet companies and financial institutions, it will open vast new markets for the provisioning of transactional and funds transfer capabilities," the report said.
By 2013, Gartner predicts mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide. Already in 2012, Web-capable PCs number 1.62 billion units and smart phones number 1.69 billion, Gartner estimates. "This shift means that many Web sites will need to be reformatted or rebuilt," the report said.
Predictions for 2010 by Toronto-based IDC Canada Ltd. also foresees a continually growing smart phone market in Canada. Vito Mabrucco, senior vice-president of IDC Canada's worldwide consulting practice, expects a "rising demand for mobility and portability" in the personal device market and that vendors will respond to IT managers' need for management tools for increasingly complex mobile devices.