If you thought the people in IT moaned a lot, then you won’t be able to hear yourself think once they get through this year’s Gartner’s IT predictions. The bottom line is that IT departments will have to adapt to working in the wider enterprise rather than within a narrow IT niche, or face elimination.

Adapt or Move Out

For those who think IT departments and the people who work in them inhabit the dark side, the predictions should provide a few giggles as the primary indentified trend here is the movement in the coming years of IT begets into the hands of business managers rather than IT people.

According to Daryl Plummer, managing vice president and Gartner fellow, the primary characteristic of IT next year will be fluidity, and where that fluidity does not exist, IT departments will be replaced by business managers who see the economy of cloud computing and the value of moving their IT requirements there.

What will probably smart even more is the fact that IT itself will be largely responsible for this situation. Devices that are easier to use, combined with more intuitive software, as well as the acceleration towards cloud computing, means that IT will have less responsibility than before.

The continued trends toward consumerization and cloud computing highlight the movement of certain former IT responsibilities into the hands of others," Plummer said.

As users take more control of the devices they will use, business managers are taking more control of the budgets IT organizations have watched shift over the last few years. As the world of IT moves forward, CIOs are finding that they must coordinate their activities in a much wider scope than they once controlled. While this might be a difficult prospect for IT departments, they must now adapt or be swept aside."

Depressing if you’re in IT. Otherwise, it points to a computing future for businesses that is cheaper, quicker and more efficient.

And to add insult to injury, it looks like IT organizations are going to be held responsible when organizations are not able to extract full meaning out of their growing amount of data and when businesses miss out on key opportunities.

In fairness, this will not really be their fault, but the fault of the uncontrolled growth in the amount of information available to enterprises.

IT workers have also been producing new analytics products as fast as the information grows, but the pile just gets bigger and bigger no matter what comes online -- even some of the Big Data products like the ones IBM keeps throwing out.

And there is no regulatory help charging over the top of the hill to save the day. Organizations, Gartner says, will be pretty much left to their own devices in dealing with Big Data, and what that data is used for.

All this, however, does not mean that IT people are going to be left in the lurch; it just means that their role is going to change from being strictly IT to applying IT as a coordinating force in the enterprise.

Any organization which wishes to accelerate in 2012 must establish in itself a significant discipline of coordinating distributed activities," Plummer said. "[IT] must establish relationship management as a key skill and train their people accordingly.

The reason for this is that the lack of control can only be combated through coordinative activities. The IT organization of the future must coordinate those who have the money, those who deliver the services, those who secure the data and those consumers who demand to set their own pace for use of IT."

Predictions 2012

And because of these changes, Gartner is making the following predictions.

1. By 2015, low-cost cloud services will cannibalize up to 15% of top outsourcing players' revenue. With the emergence of industrialized low-cost IT service, perceptions of the pricing and value of IT services will change. By 2015, low-cost cloud services will eat 15% of outsourcing player’s revenues.

2. Unusually aggressive competition in the social network space with a large number of vendors overlapping features for a finite audience. The result is that the investment bubble for consumer social networks will burst by 2013.

Learning Opportunities

3. Mobile is going to be one of the major forces for change across all IT sectors. Email and collaboration software will be the most affected. By 2016, 50% of enterprises will rely primarily on a browser, tablet or mobile client for both email and collaboration services. As a result, the number of native projects targeting smartphones and tablets will outnumber PC projects by a ratio of 4:1

4. Security will remain one of the primary concerns for cloud computing and by 2016, 40% of enterprises will demand proof of independent security testing of cloud products by third-parties. Question remains as to what the other 60% will do.

5. Public clouds will come into their own over the next five years, with Gartner estimating that by 2016, 50% of Global 1000 companies will have stored customer-sensitive data in public clouds. Already, 20% of those companies are storing it in hybrid environments.

6. With changing roles in IT and new business managers that don’t need technology to be contextualized for them and up to 35% of IT expenditure will be managed outside the IT department’s budget.

7. There will be a major shift in production to the Americas.By 2016, 20% of Asia-sourced finished goods and assemblies consumed in the U.S. will shift to the Americas. Except in cases where there is a unique manufacturing process or product intellectual property, most products are candidates to be relocated.

8. New vulnerabilities in software will see the financial impact of cybercrime increasing by 10% per year.

9. By 2015, the prices for 80% of cloud services will include a global energy surcharge. Some cloud data center operators already include an energy surcharge in their pricing package, and Gartner analysts believe this trend will rapidly escalate to include the majority of operators -- driven by competitive pressures and a "me too" approach.

10. While the volume of information will continue to grow, organizations will continue to struggle with it. By 2015, more than 85% of Fortune 500 companies will have failed to effectively exploit Bit Data to achieve competitive advantage. Most organizations are ill-prepared to address both the technical and management challenges posed by big data; as a direct result, few will be able to effectively exploit this trend for competitive advantage.

Additional details are in the Gartner report, Gartner's Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users, 2012 and Beyond: Control Slips Away  on Gartner's website. A short version is available online.