Gartner Top Ten: Open Source, Green IT and Software as a Service

Feb 05, 2008

According to market researchers, Gartner, Open Source is one of the biggest IT trends for 2008 and the years to come. The analysts also see green IT, home users as opinion leaders, software as a service, 3D printers and Apple corp. as the Top Ten developments for the next few years.

According to forecasts, some 80 percent of all commercial software will contain at least some Open Source components by 2012. "Many open-source technologies are mature, stable and well supported” say the analysts. Thanks to free software, users and vendors would be able to cut costs and improve ROI (Return On Investment). Gartner forecasts considerable competitive disadvantages for companies that fail to seize this opportunity. According to Gartner, vendors should at least have an “embedded” Open Source strategy in order to stay competitive.

The market researchers all see further cost-cutting potential in Software as a Service (SaaS) and Service-Oriented Architectures (SOA). They believe that, by 2012, at least one third of application software in the enterprise will be purchased as a service subscription instead of on a product license basis. In contrast to the fixed price model, enterprises that opt for the SaaS model only pay for services they actually use. Higher bandwidth will make SOA generally available, and thanks to "Cloud Computing" applications will be independent of a specific infrastructure. Cloud Computing describes a system where the IT services within an enterprise have a similar structure and are used like the Internet. Another advantage for users: they will be more independent of service providers. Due to this development, Gartner forecasts a complete paradigm shift in purchasing behavior and new criteria for decision making in procurement.

The analysts have also identified green IT as another major trend, saying that environmental criteria will play an important role for more than one third of all IT organizations by 2009. This development has its roots in increasing energy costs and the desire to reduce costs: the “ecological footprint” of IT equipment as a whole will be more important in future. Gartner believes that in 75 percent of all enterprises consumption and the CO2 footprint of IT equipment throughout its service lifetime will be decisive hardware purchasing criteria by 2010. According to the market researchers, vendors have much ground to make good here: some vendors had little or no knowledge of the their products' ecological performance.

In the next few years, notebooks are likely to be replaced by cheaper and handier devices that will sell at prices of below US$ 400. Gartner also sees 3D printers on the up. Devices for less than US$ 10,000 have been announced for 2008, and this will make them a realistic purchasing proposal for smaller businesses and even home users. Gartner also sees a stronger role for the home user as an opinion leader in future: home users will influence more than half of all IT decisions. And this possibly explains why Gartner sees Apple as an enterprise with a bright future. According to Gartner, Apple will double its market share by 2012 thanks to user-friendly design and ongoing innovations over various platforms such as the iPod or iMac.

Gartner evaluated more than 100 predictions from trend monitoring and market developments to compile its "Top Ten" IT trends for 2008 and the years to come. Gartner views this forecast as an actionable recommendation for executives and IT experts.

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