SAN JOSE, Calif. – IT vendors need to embrace mobile devices and cloud services as the platform for the next 20 years if they are to survive, according to analysts from International Data Corp. Coping with an increasing diversity of mobile devices will be one of the top challenges, they said at the annual IDC Directions event here.
Mobile devices and cloud services represent a third major platform, following mainframes and PCs, said Frank Gens, an IDC chief analyst. As with the shift to PCs in 1986 some are debating whether the new platforms including social networks and analytics are powerful and secure enough, and risk missing the shift.
"A critical mass of people is realizing its time to stop arguing and start bringing these technologies into the center of what they are doing," Gens said.
In an indication of the shift, IDC predicts more than 400 million smartphones will ship in 2011, surpassing about 380 million desktop and notebook PCs for the first time. It also forecasts as many as 1.3 million Apple iOS and Google Android apps will be available by the end of the year, compared to about 75,000 PC applications.
"Some portion of these apps are 'Angry Birds' games or fart generators, but the number of mobile enterprise apps are probably in the high hundreds of thousands," said Gens.
As many as 80 percent of enterprise apps developed in 2011 will be for so-called cloud services delivered over the network, IDC estimates. By 2014, about 30 percent of all business apps used will be via the cloud, it believes.
The predictions came one day after Hewlett-Packard, the world's largest IT company, rolled out its strategy which included plans for new cloud services, more mobile devices and new business analytics offerings.
Amazon.com and Microsoft have already rolled out service-based platforms, and IBM and Oracle will follow in the near future, Gens predicted. The rise in digital stored data from about 1.8 Zettabytes in 2011 to more than 7 ZBytes in 2014 will force a new generation of real-time data analytics systems beyond today's relational databases, he added.