The general opinion and feeling seems to be that the worst of the recession is behind us. That’s, of course, good news. It means that the intense fight for survival may abate — at least to some degree — and organizations can step back do two things: Fill in the holes that had to be left open during the lean days and begin upgrading to the exciting new platforms and equipment that recently have become available.
In that light, IDC’s look ahead to 2013 IT budgets is a good sign but not particularly surprising. The firm predicts that IT spending will rise 5.7 percent to $2.1 trillion. What IDC calls the “third platform” — which it defines as “mobile computing, cloud services, social networking, and big data analytics technologies” — will enter its salad days.
The lion’s share of the spending will be on mobility:
The biggest category driving this growth will once again be smart mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, eReaders), which will grow by almost 20% in 2013 and generate nearly 57% of the industry’s overall growth. Excluding mobile devices, the IT industry’s growth is forecast to be just 2.9%.
It will be a great time to be in the mobile sector. In a blog post at The New York Times, Quentin Hardy positioned the recession as a change agent — and the change is toward mobility. Recessions in the 1980s and 1990s enabled companies to enfranchise PCs and client server architectures, respectively. This recession — which is deeper than the previous two — is pushing cloud computing and mobility — the two go hand in glove — even further into the mix than they already were:
The move this time is to cloud computing and mobility. Clouds make the management of resources more efficient, and cut down on the number of people needed to make a corporate I.T. system run. Mobility, as most readers are probably aware by now, makes it possible, even expected, to work anywhere. Those are the new productivity builders, and we all have to get used to companies designed around them.
The site BusinessFinance ran an interesting piece that suggests mobility actually may herald a change in how budgeting is done. Steve Player writes that a new approach to finance, planning and analysis (FP&A) may rely less on the traditional method in which organizations spend a great deal of time (and have a great deal of fun) creating static budgets at the beginning of the year and more on fluid approaches that can be tweaked as metrics and data is collected. This trend is appropriately called the “beyond budgeting” movement.
Mobility has a good deal to do with creating the atmosphere in which traditional budgeting becomes obsolete:
Mobility is also changing the speed of work by freeing both analysts and managers from being chained to desks and a monthly transactional cycle. Mobility enables financial planning and analysis departments to go much faster and reach much farther. Mobility moves you to real time — and it will move you there now (whether you want to or not).
These are three divergent items that tie to overall mobility and budgeting landscape: One says post-recession investment in mobility will be great; a second validates that idea by saying that the recession has given mobility a chance to position itself for the growth spurt; and the third suggests that mobility may be provide such a potent set of tools that traditional budgeting no longer can do the job.
The bottom line is that as the recession winds down, mobility will be an even bigger issue to watch than it was while the corporate wallets were battened down for the financial storm.