A fifth of enterprises will hold no IT assets by 2012 as cloud computing and mobile working practices become commonplace, Gartner predicts (reports Information Age).
Technologies such as ‘cloud computing’ and virtualisation within the enterprise will result in a fifth of businesses owning no IT assets whatsoever by 2012, says Gartner research, with more and more firms using third parties to manage data and services, and with employees using their own laptops or smartphones for work purposes. This, Gartner forecasts, will mean scaling back or reallocation of enterprise IT budgets, while vendors will be forced to reconsider their own strategies.
Of course, this trend has already been under way in some firms in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry – which, more than most industry sectors, is highly fragmented and reliant upon having a large proportion of mobile workers. As a result, construction was among the early adopters of mobile telephones, its use of laptops is high, and it has also been a successful market for some software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications – notably construction collaboration platforms. As SaaS has become more and more commonplace, early reservations about the wisdom of holding data and applications ‘in the cloud’ have been eroded, and the focus is often more about which solution to use rather than ‘in-house or web-based?’. Indeed, this experience of SaaS even encouraged some AEC businesses – like Taylor Woodrow (post) 18 months ago – to go a stage further and opt for cloud-hosted office applications.
There also appears to be an inference in Gartner’s forecasts that vendors who are targeting enterprises to sell enterprise-class, in-house solutions will find it increasingly difficult. Instead it suggests businesses will be looking for applications that can be managed either by their hosting partners or by the vendors themselves and which can be easily accessed by employees from laptops and/or smartphones. However, we are not yet at a stage where sophisticated applications such as CAD or BIM applications can be easily managed on a cloud-based architecture, so the Gartner vision may take a little longer to materialise across the AEC sector.