Gartner's 2013 Predictions: Windows 8 Will Lag, Enterprise Social Will Boom

December always seems to signal a deluge of predictions about what technology trends organizations should expect in the next year.

Whether you believe the prognostications or not, analyst firms like Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. have already formed opinions about ways enterprises will be affected by IT in 2013. Here are some of the major ones:

  1. Slow Windows 8 Enterprise Adoption: Gartner thinks that most enterprises aren't ready for Windows 8. The analyst and consulting firm expects that 90 percent of enterprises will just skip deploying Windows 8 on a wide-scale company basis through 2015. (Related: "Forrester: Windows 8 Faces Roadblocks to Business Adoption.")

  2. Windows PC Dominance Fading: Windows is just becoming one of many platforms in a "post-PC" world full of mobile devices. Rather than standardize on one platform, enterprises should support a greater variety of devices, according to Gartner. The consulting firm predicts that through the next four years, 90 percent of enterprises will be supporting at least two mobile operating systems. In the next five years, 65 percent of enterprises will use some kind of mobile-device management solution to manage trusted devices, tolerated devices and non-supported devices. In 2013, the most common way of accessing the Web will be by mobile phones, rather than by PCs. By 2015, more than 80 percent of handsets sold will be smartphones, but just 20 percent of them will be Windows phones.

    Microsoft will find a place in the tablet world with Windows 8, but it will lag behind Android and iOS by 2015. (Related: "IDC: Windows Tablets To Trail iOS, Android Through 2016.") Half of all laptop shipments at that time will be tablets, according to Gartner.

  3. Cloud Is Key: Gartner sees cloud computing as an enabler for three other trends: mobile, social and big data. No one cloud platform will dominate, so organizations will need to manage diversity, and they should have the ability to manage mobile devices.

  4. Mobile Workforce: By 2014, IT shops will be using private online application stores to deliver mobile apps to end users. In that respect, the role of IT pros will shift from being a centralized planner to being a market manager. Apple iPads will be more common than BlackBerry devices for businesses in about two years. By 2016, 40 percent of the workforce will be mobile, according to Gartner. By 2018, about 70 percent of mobile workers will use a tablet or hybrid tablet-like device.

  5. Social Collaboration: Social computing is becoming central to business operations, according to Gartner. "Social computing will move organizations from hierarchical structures and defined teams to communities that can cross any organizational boundary," said Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of research, in a released statement. (Related: "Microsoft Showcases SharePoint 2013, Aims To 'Supercharge' Enterprise Social Networking.") However, there's some loss of control associated with the phenomenon as 40 percent of an enterprise's contact information is expected to leak to Facebook by 2017.

  6. Big Data, or Your Next Job: The demand for "big data" deployments will grow such that it will produce a demand for 4.4 million jobs worldwide, or 1.9 million jobs in the United States. However, only a third of those jobs will get filled. A new skillset will be needed based on running these big data systems, but also in terms of having business expertise and analytics skills, including visual design skills.

    "Data experts will be a scarce, valuable commodity," Sondergaard said. There will be a need to create predictive algorithms and deal with both structured and unstructured data, he added. Expect various commercial in-memory technologies to arrive over the next two years.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.