Unsurprisingly, cloud computing tops IDCs' 2010 technology predictions after a year where it was hyped and pushed and almost bludgeoned into the mindsets of IT professionals across the industry. While coming a close second was business analytics, which from the past few years is seemingly never far from the top one or two priorities of CIOs.
This year's predictions also saw IDC predict 2010 to bring a recovery in IT spending for Asia Pacific excluding Japan, with an expected 7.7% growth rate over 2009. This will be driven by India (11%) and China (8.5%) while the mature markets of Hong Kong and Singapore will see modest gains of 4.5% and 4.6% respectively.
Budgets will remain tight and the industry will have to get used to new buying patterns and likely slower growth than the past, said Simon Piff, Head of Asia/Pacific Predictions Committee for 2010.
While there will be a rebound, the overall levels of spending in 2010 will still be far below the levels seen pre-crisis, noted Piff, with a full recovery expected only in 2011.
As the lead analyst of IDC's Predictions Committee for 2010, Piff noted that two key trends influenced this year's top 10 technology predictions, these were transformation and recovery.
Piff noted that as part of the transformation process, cloud computing is garnering a lot of focus from CIOs. "[Cloud computing] will move from an amorphous buzzword to a more tactile reality as service providers come to grips with the challenges of providing public cloud and organizations realize the flexibility that implementing a cloud infrastructure internally can provide," he said.
He noted that the push for better service level agreements from users will really drive providers to improve their offering and support around cloud services.
One observation from Piff is that some see cloud computing as a major threat to traditional service providers, much like some saw the Internet as a threat, but for the bold and strategic providers cloud computing should be a huge opportunity to improve their offering.
Piff expects business continuity and disaster recovery services to be cloud's "killer app" for next year as businesses seek better protection and security for their data which many struggle to manage and maintain in-house.
BI and analytics again is one of the top priorities and Piff believes that the need for better data and information is greater than ever on the back of the financial crisis.
"In the past analytics provided a nice dashboard of data for businesses but lacked real actionable information," he said. "The crisis really exposed information gaps within businesses and today leaders are asking: if the data is really available? Is it accessible and easily retrieved? And is it sufficient to turn into action items?"
A third interesting trend is the and the evolution of software as a service (SaaS) to knowledge as a service (KaaS). Kaas extends the SaaS delivery model by its addition of intellectual property (IP) related to a particular horizontal process or industry to the standard SaaS offering, according to Piff. This new level of cloud services will enable SaaS and BPO vendors to form partnerships for the delivery of KaaS solutions with industry- and/or process-specific IP embedded within them.
The promise is that BPO providers can provide input on creating industry best practices and operational excellence based on their wide client experience.
One thing missing that has topped recent lists was "green IT." Puff noted that despite much debate with the Predictions Committee, it was felt green IT had almost become embedded in many IT disciplines and that no real new trends are expected to emerge in this space in 2010.
The full list of IDC's 2010 Top 10 Technology Predictions:
1. The Maturing of Cloud: SLA Implications on Service Providers will Improve and Emerge
IDC believes that the combination of 5 nines guarantees plus a robust business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) capabilities will be the new "killer application" in cloud services. In 2010, large organizations that are ready to make that leap to cloud services will do so demanding the same SLAs with BCDR capabilities.
2. Business Analytics for Better Business
In 2010, IDC expects business analytics to emerge as a key technology area to help CIOs manage cost, comply with regulations and, most importantly, grow the business.
3. The Tipping Point: The Inevitable Adoption of Social Media in Enterprises
2010 will be the year social media hits "critical mass" in terms of acceptance and adoption. IDC believes that this convergence of economic necessity, mature enabling technology such as business analytics tools, and increasing market awareness will mean that 2010 will be the year where social media truly gains traction.
4. Converged Fabric and the Evolving Data Center
IDC believes that converged fabric solutions significantly address some of the IT sprawl and the resulting large amount of expenditure on maintenance.
5. Evolutions of SaaS to KaaS
The increasing maturity and acceptance of Software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings will combine with decreasing profit margins in the business process outsourcing (BPO) market and will add another layer to the cloud services stack.
6. Smart Phones on the Rise in Emerging Economies
India and China remain the twin engines of growth for the overall mobile segment. IDC expects the two countries to collectively chalk up over 295 million units in handset shipments in 2010. The key driver of smartphones in the emerging markets is the increasing sophistication of mobile users.
7. The Dawn of the Enterprise Appliance
This trend looks set to continue in 2010 and it is only a matter of time before hardware vendors emulate this proposition for dedicated, preconfigured hardware and storage for specific applications and workloads -- the dawn of the enterprise appliance.
8. Revisiting Chargeback: Accountability Across LOBs for IT
The ability to effectively provide chargeback functionality already exists at many levels: desktop, storage, and certain applications. IDC believes the full implementation of Chargeback 3.0 is some years away, as there are still levels of technical complexity that need to be addressed within certain IT platforms.
9. Intelligent X: Building a Smarter and More Measurable World
IDC believes that 2010 will be a year of multiple "Intelligent" initiatives and tenders in Asia, as major governments and cities try to beat each other to the goal of securing foreign investment and foreign technology participation in this region.
10. Machine-to-Machine (M2M): The Evolution of "Device Grids" to Offer New Business and Efficiency Models