Despite being in the middle of a major recession, CIOs can look forward to a major period of growth through to 2012, according to IDC’s chief research officer, John Gantz.
Speaking at this year’s CIO Summit, held jointly with the CIO Executive Council, IDC and CIO Magazine, Gantz said while there had been five major global economic crashes in the last 50 years, there had only been three technology crashes in the same period.
Furthermore, these three crashes -- the mainframe crash of the early ‘70s, the PC crash of early ‘90s and the Internet crash of the early ‘00s -- did not coincide with economic crashes.
“We are in the middle of an economic crisis. . . but we are not in the middle of a technology crash; in fact we are in the middle of a technology renaissance,” Gantz said. “Every part of IT industry is flush with change, from the way we write software to our data centres and software-as-a-service.”
Supporting his claim, Gantz said that the technology boom and bust pattern typically operated on a 15-year cycle, with a new technology paradigm creating a speculative bubble followed by a crash within five years.
A more rational approach to the use of new technology then created business innovations and long-term growth, followed by a new technology paradigm and a restart of the cycle.
“Where we are now is about seven or eight years after the Internet crash, so we are lining up for the long growth period,” Gantz said. “So, as a community, IT is in a better shape than most industries to ride out the economic storm.”
The role IT is increasingly playing in the current economic crisis is that of a change agent, Gantz said, facilitating and steering the business transformations occurring as a response to the downturn.
However, Gantz said CIOs looking to help their organisation get through the recession need to be mindful of some major global IT challenges expected to play out in the four years to 2012.
These include a growth in staff numbers of only 10 percent through to 2012, meaning CIOs will have to continue to do more with less.
Thanks to the strong growth in virtualisation, the number of servers will also double between now and 2012, meaning more time spent on managing virtualised resources and the applications riding on them.
The number of customers, business partners and employees using mobile devices is expected to grow threefold during the same period, creating headaches around security and capacity planning, Gantz said.
“It won’t be long until iPhone applications are part of the enterprise application shop,” he said. “There will also be 3.6 times growth in non-traditional devices operating on the network. For IT that means issues around security, reliability, software control, telemetry control and operational control.”
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