In 2011, we expect to see technologies such as cloud computing and smartphones make the critical transition from early adopter status to the first stages of mainstream adoption.
As a result, the IT industry will revolve more and more around the build-out and adoption of mobility, cloud-based application and service delivery, and value-generating overlays of social business and pervasive analytics.
In addition to creating new markets and opportunities, this restructuring will overthrow nearly every assumption about who the industry's leaders are and how they establish and maintain leadership.
The platform transition will be fueled by another solid year of recovery in IT spending. IDC forecasts worldwide IT spending will be $1.6 trillion in 2011, an increase of 5.7% over 2010.
While hardware spending will remain strong, with 7.8% year-over-year growth, the industry will depend to a larger extent on improvements in software spending (5.3% growth), related project-based services spending (3.5% growth), and gains in outsourcing (4% growth).
Worldwide IT spending will also benefit from the accelerated recovery in emerging markets, which will generate more than half of all net new IT spending worldwide in 2011.
Spending on public IT cloud services will grow at more than five times the rate of the IT industry in 2011, up 30% from 2010, as organizations move a wider range of business applications into the cloud.
Small and medium-sized business cloud use will surge in 2011, with adoption of some cloud resources topping 33% among US midsize firms by year's end.