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Gartner Predicts 2011: IT Opens Up to New Demands and New Outcomes

London, December 2010

IT organizations face disruptive change due to increased transparency and the need to drive business value. They must evolve against a backdrop of uncertainty and shifting demands. Executives and IT leaders should read these reports before making any IT investment decisions for 2011 and beyond.

Gartner Predicts 2011 Special Report highlights how the use of technology is changing and how those who use that technology must also respond to change. As the global economy continues to recover from the residual impact of downturn and recession, IT providers and users are facing increased pressure from unexpected sources. Business leaders are demanding greater visibility of the linkage between IT investments and business results. Budgets and expenditure continue to be scrutinized closely, with zero tolerance for waste or perceived profligacy.

As companies focus on the return to growth, they increasingly demand that their IT organizations now keep a promise made years ago: to enhance the business rather than just enhancing technology. Meanwhile, consumer demand is driving the introduction of new technologies and technology use scenarios that IT is not yet fully equipped to handle.

To top it all off, IT organizations must respond to all of these demands while balancing security against access and continuing to meet the expectations of individuals who are more technology-savvy than ever before. This transformation will not desist and it demands that IT leaders reconsider and (potentially) rebuild IT's capabilities. Our top predictions (see "Gartner's Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users, 2011 and Beyond: IT's Growing Transparency" and "Top Industry Predicts 2011: Industries Rebound and Surge Ahead") focus on how the shifting role of IT will affect economies, governments, businesses and individuals.

Whether their organizations are already on a growth trajectory, or still preparing for the return to growth, readers will find the predictions in this Special Report a good guide and support for the decisions they need to make about technology investments and broader aspects of business strategy during the years ahead. With more topics, markets and industries covered than ever before, our 2011 predictions affect three macrolevel trends of huge importance to all:

• Growing levels of transparency and accountability in all areas of IT

• The increasing focus on ensuring that IT drives business results (or outcomes)

• The need to effectively respond to individual demand for use of consumer technologies and social interaction

As the relationship between "technology means" and "technology outcomes" becomes ever clearer, stakeholders of all kinds are gaining a clearer understanding of how technology decisions will impact the business and are raising the bar in terms of expectations for success.

Because clients use Gartner's predictions to make better decisions, accuracy is critical. Our "hit rate" with predictions continues to be very high, but we also recognize that some will fail to pan out as we expect. In the same spirit of transparency and accountability that was applied to our earlier Predicts Special Reports, we continue to provide a look back at our previous predictions — highlighting both those that were accurate and those that were not. For each report with historical precedent, we review one "on target" and one "missed" prediction to expose why our assumptions were accurate or inaccurate.

Our 2011 predictions span 66 market, topic and industry areas, with 300 predictions in total. Eleven of this year's reports are new, providing clear evidence of the expanding range of Gartner's research activities and of the broadening impact of IT within business. Three of these reports highlight the breadth and depth of our new coverage in the business operations arena: "Predicts 2011: Global Logistics Leadership a Strategic Imperative" and "Predicts 2011: High-Tech and Industrial Value Chains Invest in Innovative Strategies" examine how changes in supply chain management are set to impact the effectiveness and business outlook across many industries, while "Predicts 2011: Complexity Ready to Rattle the Healthcare and Life Sciences Supply Chain" takes a deeper look within one market sector. In "Predicts 2011: Sustainability Facing a Long Path to Fruition," we look at the ongoing journey of a topic with critical implications for both operations and planning as it moves up the list of CEO priorities.

The No. 1 focus for most companies during 2011 will be growth, and two of our new reports for 2011 focus on technologies and approaches that promise to support this objective: In "Predicts 2011: Pattern-Based Strategy Technologies and Business Practices Gain Momentum," we look at how this emerging discipline will shape new efficiencies and business opportunities for every organization, while "Predicts 2011: Platform as a Service: The Architectural Center of the Cloud" expands and deepens our examination of how cloud business will evolve in implementation. Cloud computing has quickly become established as a core foundational element of many IT strategies; and in another new report, "Predicts 2011: Data Centers Need a Solution-Based Approach to Gain Efficiencies," we consider the implications for enterprises and technology providers of this shift in approach.

The growing pressure for transparency, within IT and of the organization as a whole, is generating new streams of information to augment the sea of data in which many organizations are already awash. Generating, managing and protecting the right information at the right time is one of the critical elements of business success. Three of our new reports for 2011 accentuate our focus on the "I" in IT by examining the outlook for IT organizations, individuals and management of supplier relationships. In "Predicts 2011: IT Financial and Performance Management Gets Strategic," we cut to the heart of the issues in IT funding and business reporting. With "Predicts 2011: Enterprises Should Not Wait to Find Solutions for Business-Critical Privacy Issues," we highlight developments in an area that has already garnered the attention of citizens and governments and which brings a new onus of responsibility to every organization. "Predicts 2011: Assessing and Revising Vendor Management Programs Key to Driving Value" looks at how the bar will continue to be raised for suppliers as IT departments demand the same demonstrable performance improvements they must show to users.

With growing pressure for a direct line of sight between IT investments and business results, expectations have shifted toward innovation, the creation of new business models and better risk management. Leading IT organizations through this change will demand ingenuity from CIOs and their staff. In "Predicts 2011: Executive Focus on Revenue Growth Puts Added Pressure on CIO" and "Predicts 2011: Government CIOs Must Balance Cost Containment With IT Innovation," we look at how the landscape these leaders must navigate is set to change. With "Predicts 2011: In the 'New Normal,' Governance, Risk Management and Compliance Are Inseparable From Business Realities," we see how new regulations will impact governance and risk management, blurring the boundaries between IT and "the business."

Although organizational boundaries may blur, IT will be expected to make a demonstrable and direct contribution to business growth in most organizations, both through increased competitiveness and the creation of new market opportunities. "Predicts 2011: Aligning Enterprise Business Applications to Drive Business Outcomes," "Predicts 2011: CRM Sales Will Raise Performance Through Innovation," "Predicts 2011: Supply Chain Getting Competitive Again" and "Predicts 2011: PPM Goes From Managing Projects to Managing Value and Change" look at how IT organizations will be pressured to and will deliver new efficiencies in their processes and operations. In "Predicts 2011: Context-Aware Computing Brings Significant Shifts in Consumer Behavior and Privacy Regulations," "Predicts 2011: When Social and Business Processes Collide" and "Predicts 2011: Cloud Computing Is Still at the Peak of Inflated Expectations," we examine three of the initiatives most likely to enable market expansion and creation.

The pressure felt by those who buy, consume and access technology will be mirrored by new changes for the organizations that supply it. With our IT market predictions for 2011, we highlight how technology providers will need to respond. With individuals now driving demand in many sectors, we examine how consumer markets are changing and how service providers should respond ("Predicts 2011: The Interconnected Consumer" and "Predicts 2011: CSPs Must Rethink Business Paradigms to Meet Market Challenges"). We also looks at two traditional device markets facing very different growth prospects: in "Predicts 2011: Opportunities for Growth Still Exist in PC Market," we look at how providers will need to compete in an environment of diminishing returns, whereas "Predicts 2011: Increasing Value of Imaging and Print Services Complements Multimedia Communications" considers the changing prospects of a market receiving renewed vigor from the promise of cloud-based services.

Our focus on specific industry sectors also continues to grow. With the ebbs and flows of global capital markets still directly affecting the situations and prospects for many individuals and organizations, we examine the outlook for IT in the financial industry, as it passes through a period of immense stress and pressure for change (see "Predicts 2011: Bank and Investment Firms' Core Applications and Application Infrastructure Are at Risk," "Predicts 2011: Banks and Investment Firms Must Change IT Approaches or Face Catastrophe" and "Predicts 2011: Insurers Must Focus on Customer Retention, Operational Excellence and Compliance").

The automotive sector was one of the first to see significant slowdown in mature economies, but the restructuring initiatives endured by the industry during 2008 and 2009 are now producing the promise of innovation and improved prospects (see "Predicts 2011: The Automotive Industry Accelerates Innovations"). In both healthcare and education, the challenges of funding are accentuated by pressure to support critical modernization initiatives (see "Predicts 2011: Healthcare Delivery Organizations Wrestle With the Challenges of Deploying Complex Clinical Applications" and "Predicts 2011: Technology and the Transformation of the Education Ecosystem").

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