Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015
Gartner, Inc. highlighted the top 10 technology trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2015. Analysts presented their findings during the sold out Gartner Symposium/ITxpo. Gartner defines a strategic technology trend as one with the potential for significant impact on the organization in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to the business, end users or IT, the need for a major investment, or the risk of being late to adopt. These technologies impact the organization's long-term plans, programs and initiatives.
The top 10 strategic technology trends for 2015 are:
As mobile devices continue to proliferate, Gartner predicts an increased emphasis on serving the needs of the mobile user in diverse contexts and environments, as opposed to focusing on devices.
The Internet of Things
The combination of data streams and services created by digitizing everything creates four basic usage models — Manage, Monetize, Operate and Extend. These four basic models can be applied to any of the four "Internets." Enterprises should not limit themselves to thinking that only the Internet of Things (IoT) (assets and machines) has the potential to leverage these four models. For example, the pay-per-use model can be applied to assets (such as industrial equipment), services (such as pay-as-you-drive insurance), people (such as movers), places (such as parking spots) and systems (such as cloud services). Enterprises from all industries can leverage these four models.
Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 98 percent in 2015, followed by a doubling of unit shipments in 2016. 3D printing will reach a tipping point over the next three years as the market for relatively low-cost 3D printing devices continues to grow rapidly and industrial use expands significantly. New industrial, biomedical and consumer applications will continue to demonstrate that 3D printing is a real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.
Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible Analytics
Analytics will take center stage as the volume of data generated by embedded systems increases and vast pools of structured and unstructured data inside and outside the enterprise are analyzed. Big data remains an important enabler for this trend but the focus needs to shift to thinking about big questions and big answers first and big data second — the value is in the answers, not the data.
Ubiquitous embedded intelligence combined with pervasive analytics will drive the development of systems that are alert to their surroundings and able to respond appropriately. Context-aware security is an early application of this new capability, but others will emerge. By understanding the context of a user request, applications can not only adjust their security response but also adjust how information is delivered to the user, greatly simplifying an increasingly complex computing world.
Deep analytics applied to an understanding of context provide the preconditions for a world of smart machines. This foundation combines with advanced algorithms that allow systems to understand their environment, learn for themselves, and act autonomously. Prototype autonomous vehicles, advanced robots, virtual personal assistants and smart advisors already exist and will evolve rapidly, ushering in a new age of machine helpers. The smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT.
The convergence of cloud and mobile computing will continue to promote the growth of centrally coordinated applications that can be delivered to any device. In the near term, the focus for cloud/client will be on synchronizing content and application state across multiple devices and addressing application portability across devices. Over time, applications will evolve to support simultaneous use of multiple devices. The second-screen phenomenon today focuses on coordinating television viewing with use of a mobile device. In the future, games and enterprise applications alike will use multiple screens and exploit wearables and other devices to deliver an enhanced experience.
Software-Defined Applications and Infrastructure
Agile programming of everything from applications to basic infrastructure is essential to enable organizations to deliver the flexibility required to make the digital business work. Software-defined networking, storage, data centers and security are maturing. Cloud services are software-configurable through API calls, and applications, too, increasingly have rich APIs to access their function and content programmatically. To deal with the rapidly changing demands of digital business and scale systems up — or down — rapidly, computing has to move away from static to dynamic models.
Web-scale IT is a pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting. More organizations will begin thinking, acting and building applications and infrastructure like Web giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook. Web-scale IT does not happen immediately, but will evolve over time as commercial hardware platforms embrace the new models and cloud-optimized and software-defined approaches reach mainstream.
Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection
All roads to the digital future lead through security. However, in a digital business world, security cannot be a roadblock that stops all progress. Organizations will increasingly recognize that it is not possible to provide a 100 percent secured environment. Once organizations acknowledge that, they can begin to apply more-sophisticated risk assessment and mitigation tools. On the technical side, recognition that perimeter defense is inadequate and applications need to take a more active role in security gives rise to a new multifaceted approach.
Robert Half 2015 Salary Guides Show 3.8 Percent Average Starting Salary Increase In Professional Occupations
The just-released 2015 Salary Guides from Robert Half show that U.S. starting salaries for professional occupations are projected to increase an average of 3.8 percent next year. The largest expected gains in salaries among all fields researched are in technology, with an anticipated 5.7 percent overall increase in the average starting salary for newly hired information technology (IT) workers. Accounting and finance and creative and marketing professionals can expect starting salaries to rise an average of 3.5 percent, according to the research.
Following is an overview of findings from the 2015 Salary Guides:
Accounting and Finance
Average starting salaries for accounting and finance professionals in the United States are forecast to rise 3.5 percent next year. Staff accountants, senior financial analysts and business systems analysts are in strong demand, and these professionals can expect to see higher than average salary increases. The regulatory environment is driving hiring for risk, compliance and internal audit professionals.
Overall, base compensation for IT professionals in the United States is expected to increase 5.7 percent in the coming year. Mobile, security and big data will be three drivers for technology hiring in 2015. Mobile applications developers can expect the highest salary increases among all technology roles.
Creative and Marketing
Professionals in creative fields in the United States can expect average starting salary gains of 3.5 percent in 2015. Growth in the digital space, particularly mobile, is driving the demand for professionals such as digital marketing strategists and user-experience specialists. Businesses also seek content strategists, web designers and front-end web developers.
In the legal field, U.S. starting salaries are anticipated to rise 3.0 percent, on average, in the coming year. Law firms are seeking mid- and senior-level lawyers in high-growth practice areas, such as litigation, general business and commercial law, and intellectual property. Paralegals also are in high demand by companies and law firms, and those with specialized skill sets can expect higher starting compensation.
Administrative and Office Support
Overall starting salaries for administrative professionals in the United States are expected to rise 3.4 percent in 2015. Demand for skilled executive and administrative assistants remains strong. There continues to be a need for support staff in healthcare, human resources and customer service.
Security tops CIO worries; IT budgets, turnover on the rise
CIOs are spending more on IT, worrying most about security and privacy, and staying on the job a little longer, according to the latest data from the Society for Information Management (SIM).
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the SIM IT Trends Study, which surveyed 1,002 people (including 451 CIOs) from 717 organizations. Among surveyed companies, the average annual revenue is $5.6 billion and average annual IT budget is $288 million.
The trend for CIOs to focus more on the business and less on pure tech is evident in how their success is measured. According to respondents, the top 10 performance measures for CIOs, ranked from 1-10, are: the value of IT to the business; IT’s contribution to strategy; customer satisfaction; innovative new ideas; availability; projects delivered on time; IT cost controls; productivity improvement; business cost reduction controls; and revenue growth.
SIM also asked how CIOs spend their time, and their answers reinforce a business-focused agenda. According to the study, CIOs spend 41.5% of their time on business activities, including evangelizing IT, addressing the needs of IT and business customers, and managing change; 36.1% of their time on IT activities, including project management, resource allocation, IT governance, and technical research; 18.3% of their time on IT and business strategies; and 4.1% of their time on career activities, in particular managing personal networks.
Meanwhile, turnover is on the rise. The average IT employee turnover rate hit 9% in 2014 – a nine-year high. That’s up from 6.6% in 2013 and 5.2% in 2012. To combat employee turnover, leaders are investing more on training and education. The percentage of IT budget allocated to training and education was 5% in 2014, up from 4.7% in 2013 and a six-year low of 2.9% in 2012.
Ranked from 1-5, organizations’ five largest IT investments are: analytics and business intelligence; data center infrastructure; ERP; application software development; and cloud computing.
Janco Associates conduct a survey of IT Project Manager in large and mid-sized corporations. 178 Project Managers participated in the study. All of the managers had been operating in that role for over one year and several had been project managers for well over five years. They all had at least 5 project team members and the largest project had over 60 IT professionals on it.
The project managers were able to select multiple answers as well as write in their own challenge. Interestingly almost two thirds (63%) said they spent too much time doing things other than tasks associated with the success of the projects. They attributed that to administrative overhead and organizational bureaucracy.
The top 10 challenges they face are:
1. Bureaucracy - admin overhead - 63%
2. Over worked - 53%
3. Under staffed - 51%
4. Changes in specifications - 47%
5. Changes coming too fast - 42%
6. Scalability of applications - 41%
7. Deadlines not agreed on - 39%
8. Staff skills gaps - 34%
9. Technology out of date - 22%
10. Staff turnover - 10%
Worldwide IT Market Showing Tentative Signs of Improvement
According to the newly published International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Black Book (Doc #250222), recent volatility will gradually give way to a more positive outlook for IT spending in the second half of 2014. With the U.S. and other mature economies mostly heading in the right direction and a significant commercial PC refresh cycle already underway, improvements in business confidence are set to drive a moderate infrastructure upgrade cycle over the next 12-18 months, while investments in software and services will continue to accelerate.
Worldwide IT spending is now forecast to increase by 4.5% in 2014 at constant currency, or 4.1% in U.S. dollars. A significant proportion of this growth is still being driven by smartphones – IT spending excluding mobile phones will increase by just 3.1% this year in constant currency (2.8% in U.S. dollars). Aside from smartphones, the strongest growth will come from software, including rapidly expanding markets such as data analytics, data management, and collaborative applications including enterprise social networks. The 3rd platform pillars of Big Data, Social, Mobile and Cloud will continue to drive virtually all of the growth in IT spending, while spending on 2nd platform technologies will remain effectively flat.
Meanwhile, although some emerging markets remain constrained by macroeconomic and geopolitical wild cards, there is now significant pent-up demand for IT investment that will drive stronger growth next year in markets including India, Brazil, and Russia. Pent-up demand has already driven a significant rebound in both consumer and enterprise IT spending in China this year, as confidence stabilizes. While mature economies are still driving the upside in 2014, emerging markets will once again dominate in 2015.
Cold Snap and Wild Cards Impacted IT Spending, But Underlying Demand is Strong
Some IT market segments performed weaker than expected in the first quarter of 2014 (1Q14), in line with the weather-related slowdown in U.S. output and the impact of wild card events including the conflict in Ukraine. In particular, an overdue enterprise infrastructure refresh cycle was disrupted by short-term declines in business confidence. However, strong underlying demand for this investment cycle will drive improvements in the server, storage, and network infrastructure markets in the coming months.
PC Refresh Stronger than Expected in Mature Economies, Tablet Shipments Weaker
The commercial PC refresh has proven stronger than originally forecast. As a result, IDC now forecasts PC spending will increase by 3.5% in 2014 (the fastest pace since the post-financial crisis rebound of 2010). Western Europe has also seen an improvement in PC shipments, although PC spending in Europe will still be down by 1% due to average price declines. The PC cycle has already driven a market upturn in Japan, where economic growth and upcoming tax increases drove a surge in capital spending in 2013 (PC spending in Japan increased by 6% last year, but will decline by -4.5% this year).
The U.S. tablet market is now forecast to increase by just 2% this year, but will rebound to 7% growth in 2015 as the PC cycle begins to wane. Worldwide tablet spending has slowed from 29% year-over-year growth last year to 8% in 2014, but will accelerate back to double-digit growth next year (10%). Penetration rates in emerging markets such as China will continue to increase, while some enterprise spending will shift back to tablets.
Pent-Up Demand and Mobile Driving Growth in China, With Other Emerging Markets to Follow
The economic slowdown in 2013 had a negative impact on IT spending in China, but this also created a significant swell of pent-up demand that is now driving improvements in technology investment. IT spending growth in China decelerated to 8% last year but is on course for 13% growth in constant currency in 2014.
Excluding mobile phones, IT spending in China will increase by 5% this year (up from growth of just 2%, excluding phones, in 2013). Server spending in China will increase by 7% (compared to 0% in 2013), storage spending by 8% (up from 1.5% in 2013), and software by 9% (up from 7% last year), but overall market growth is still weighed down by the declining PC market.
Other emerging markets are likely to improve over the next 12 months as business confidence stabilizes. IT spending in India will increase by 15% next year, up from 8% in 2014. In Brazil, the market will accelerate from 10% growth this year to 13% next year. In Russia, where the crisis in Ukraine has damaged business and investor confidence since the beginning of the year, the market is set to decline slightly in 2014 before rebounding to 7% growth in 2015.
Mature economies have remained more stable since last year, with market growth often outpacing expectations. The U.S. IT market will increase by 4% this year, and Western Europe will maintain a 2% growth rate overall. Total worldwide IT spending will reach almost $2.1 trillion in 2014. Including telecommunications services, the worldwide ICT market will increase by 4% to $3.7 trillion, with telecom services growth of 4% driven by mobile data services and increasing broadband penetration.