IT organizations that support e-commerce applications have to get ready for more random behavior coming from the increasing number of smartphones tied into a social network.
With more smartphones that can more easily browse Web sites will come a new generation of impulse buying. Instead of waiting to buy goods and services until they can get in front of a robust personal computer, more people will buy things based on an alert from a social network, using their iPhone, Palm Pre or BlackBerry.
This activity will put a significant amount of pressure on existing e-commerce systems because it's going to be harder to predict what's going to be popular. No doubt marketing efforts will still push customers toward one product or another. But as the number of impulse purchases driven by word-of-mouth buzz on social networks increases, things like capacity planning become more difficult.
This might lead more organizations to think about outsourcing their e-commerce operations altogether. But others will need a more dynamic approach to IT infrastructure that will require some dynamic server provisioning capabilities derived from virtualization along with new e-commerce software that can support all these different mobile devices.
While impulse shopping using mobile devices will be a discernible trend this holiday season, it probably won't be a full-fledged phenomenon until next year. That means IT organizations have plenty of time to get ready for what ultimately is a good problem to have.