IBM's full-throated endorsement of Cloud Foundry this year was an important milestone -- one that may make some enterprises less hesitant to put their code on someone else's platform. In addition, IDC has predicted the rise of industry-specific PaaS offerings that include pre-built services specific to particular verticals.
9. Developers continue to rule. If there's one common thread through all of these predictions, it's Marc Andreessen's two-year-old declaration that software is eating the world. With so many different platforms to write for -- and with even data center infrastructure becoming programmable -- there simply aren't enough developers to write all that code. With insatiable demand comes high salaries and status, at least for those with the right combination of skills. Can we figure out better, more efficient ways to train people in those skills, please?
These nine trends represent enormous change in a short period of time. The implications for the IT industry are interesting, to say the least. For one thing, if software defines infrastructure, then hardware becomes even more commoditized, including networking equipment. And if the prospect of applications finally seems within reach where you can write once and run on any client device, then which client device you choose becomes less important.
Meanwhile, the way software is delivered has changed forever. IBM, Oracle, SAP, and other traditional vendors are so deeply embedded in organizations they can continue to extract huge sums from customers that must maintain those wares. But the exciting new stuff? It's mainly open source or SaaS or a cheap mobile apps. It seems to me that the industry may need to recalibrate its revenue expectations, even if many of the startups get acquired.
How enterprise IT will deal with a cloud and mobile world where it no longer has a monopoly over business technology remains an open question. In many organizations, there's a growing realization that to stay competitive, you need to deploy all kinds Web and mobile applications for customers and see what sticks. Can IT acquire the skills and technologies to make that happen? Or will business management be forced to turn to SaaS plays, hotshot agile dev firms, or other outside providers -- and leave IT to just keep the lights on? I can't wait to find out.
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