IDC predicts that 2007 will be a year filled with "hyper-disruption," as virtualization, social networking and collaboration software change the way companies communicate.
"There will be the usual concoction of convergence, confusion, disruption, excitement, greed, fear and creativity," according to Frank Gens, IDC's senior vice president of research. Last week Gens joined other analysts from IDC, a Framingham, Mass.-based market research firm, in their annual practice of forecasting trends for the coming year.
Other predictions include an increase in packaged software sold as a service that will make use of more in-depth implementations online of service-oriented architecture, or SOA. Used to describe some software services that communicate with each other, SOA services include network monitoring or e-commerce processing.
There will also be a shift by network players such as Cisco Systems Inc. and Avaya Inc. to use SOA as a way to become IT players, Gens said.
Other forecasters expect to see a renewed emphasis on intellectual property, including more lawsuits to protect it, as well as IT vendors shifting to pricing based on business improvements that the products bring to customers.
Analysts said they expect the emergence of a dynamic information platform and a battle for dominance among multiple vendors for that market. Those vendors include IBM, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and EMC, which are all putting such a platform together, Gens said. And IDC said Hewlett-Packard will likely buy an independent company in this market in 2007 but did not specify which company that might be.
This dynamic information platform will serve as a necessary backbone for more and more SOA applications that handle information like metadata and master data, he said.
Among other predictions: IT will see more adoption of "Web 2.0" tools like blogs and wikis. IDC also said that IBM will create an "IBM Live" online hub of software services, just as Microsoft made such a product available in 2006.
And, a company will likely acquire salesforce.com, the on-demand customer relationship management software provider, although Gens did not identify which firm.
The small to medium-sized business market will emerge as a growth area for IT in 2007, Gens said. The overall worldwide IT spending market is expected to increase by 6.6% in 2007, only slightly up from 6.3% in 2006, according to IDC. And, the company expects Worldwide SMB IT spending to grow by 8.4% in 2007.
"For players wanting to outgrow the overall IT market, the ability to 'scale down' their offerings to reach SMBs will be critical in 2007 and beyond," Gens said.