Rapid changes in the dynamics of IT service delivery due to outsourcing, service oriented architectures and virtualization put pressure on IT managers to improve the handling of services and business processes, according to Gartner VP and research director Matt Boon.
Boon said the biggest challenge for IT managers will be dealing with all this "fluidity". "This requires a fundamental shift of focus from technology procurement to dealing with business processors," he said.
"We have to get better at dealing with services. It is vital for IT professionals to make big contributions to the corporate goals of revenue, profit, and cash flow. IT therefore has to reach a position as an enabler of change."
Boon cited the data centre as an area of IT continuing to undergo "progress".
"Server consolidation for example, has given significant efficiencies and cost savings. And the next major step around that is virtualization [which] will further improve system utilization capabilities," he said.
"More importantly, virtualization will increase flexibility in meeting the continually different demands on your business."
As a result, Boon said this will bring a lot of changes to software licensing.
"Charging per machine or per processor will no longer work, and an entirely new software charging model will, and has to, emerge," he said.
Although perhaps a dream for many an IT managers, Boon said budgets should be speced with an understanding of the wider business climate.
"That climate has improved somewhat over the last couple of years but growth expectations still remain moderate to say the least. For example, we project a 5 percent increase in worldwide, end-user spending on IT products over the next year," he said. "Across the region, spending on infrastructure software, applications software, network equipment, and professional IT services will outpace the rest of the IT market during 2005."
In his keynote address at this year's Gartner Symposium in Sydney, Boon predicted big changes will occur right across the spectrum of IT.
"Soon we will be in a position where most semiconductors will be going into consumer devices, disk drives, and the flash memory that actually drives those devices," he said. "The net result of this is that business demand is no longer in the driver's seat for the hardware we use."
Boon said screen technology will target TVs, not PCs; people will expect wireless connectivity everywhere and expect it all the time.
"By 2015 we believe there could be as many as 2000 Internet TV channels available on mobile handsets," he said. "So consumers are driving the next wave of innovation and the associated advances in technology."
Boon also hinted at a new era of communications services with next year seeing in several new companies offering VoIP services to consumers across the Asia-Pacific region.
"By 2006 we will see more than 10 billion processors shipped every single year," he said. "By 2008 disk storage density will reach one terabyte per square inch, and by 2013 we project the install base of processors globally will be more than 200 billion."