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When an InformationWeek Research trending survey shows a 10% or 20% year-over-year shift (or more), I take notice. I do the same when a much-hyped tech barely manages to squeak up five points in 12 or 18 months. So if you're tired of end-of-year punditry backed up by nothing but speculation, take a look at these enterprise IT trends--and the hard data behind them from our research.
1. Not all IT budget news is bleak.
Do more IT organizations expect budget increases of more than 10%, or decreases of more than 10%? In our Outlook 2012 survey, 18% of those polled say their budgets will increase by more than 10%--and just 6% say they'll be hit with a decrease of the same amount. However, the largest faction, 28%, see flat budgets on the horizon. It's long, slow recovery out there, folks.
[ Will you be compensated fairly this year? Check out InformationWeek Research's 2011 IT Salary Trends and Data. ]
2. Cloud services are increasingly being used for disaster recovery.
In 2010, 34% of IT pros said they were using or considering cloud-based services as part of their BC/DR strategies. In 2011, that number climbed to 43%. The biggest reason not to do DR in the cloud remains security, respondents say. The number of respondents citing this concern in our research continues to rise, despite all the efforts vendors are making to calm fears.
3. It's been a banner year for data analytics.
For the first time, less than half of respondents cite data quality problems as the biggest barrier to BI/ analytics adoption. However, 46% of you say quality is still your leading concern--followed closely by ease-of-use worries, in the face of complex analytics packages.
4. Cloud progress will slow down a bit in 2012.
At this time last year, our cloud survey found 60% more IT organizations reporting using cloud services: 31% vs. 18% the previous year. This year, there was a measly two-point gain, with 33% of respondents saying that they're using cloud services (look for our new report, coming in January). The easy stuff has been done. Integration challenges and security concerns are as real as they ever were.
5. Windows 8 Server's prospects are good. Win Mobile's, not so much.
Already, 63% of you say you'll run Windows 8 on at least 50% of your servers. Only 30% of respondents say they'll run the phone/tablet version on that fraction of these devices. Frankly, we're surprised the number is that high.
6. It's still not the year of unified communications.
It's been a long, slow slog for UC. Two years ago, 30% of you reported having UC deployed. That number has now risen to 36%. Why so little traction? Today, as was the case two years ago, other projects just have a higher priority.
7. IT's prevailing attitude toward tablets has flipped 180 degrees.
For three years, we've asked IT pros whether tablets would be a "non-event." In 2010, you were convinced that they would be. In 2011, you still kinda thought so. Finally, for 2012, IT pros are somewhat disagreeing with the "non-event" statement--though you're still on the fence as to whether tablets will be the chosen tool of road warriors, and whether you'll provide support. Our bet? They will be, you will support them, and you'll do so in pretty substantial numbers during the next few years.
8. Server memory configurations are way up.
Remarkably little changed in our annual State of Servers survey--except memory configurations. We saw a 50% increase in the number of servers configured with 33 GB to 64 GB of memory, and a whopping 100% increase in the number of boxes configured with 65 GB to 128 GB. No wonder users revolted against VMware's 2011 move to price its software based on server memory used.
9. IT no longer leads the charge to monitor social networking.
In 2010, 44% of you reported that IT was on the hook for monitoring activity on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. In 2012, just 32% of our respondents will be doing the monitoring. That 12 point drop is offset by a 13 point increase in the number of respondents who report that their marketing departments now take the lead in monitoring these sites. The good news: Only 25% say that their companies have no formal plans for monitoring social networking; that figure was 43% back in 2010.
10. You're serious about server virtualization.
If you don't plan to virtualize the majority of your servers by the end of 2012, you'll be firmly in the minority. The largest growth came in those respondents who say they'll virtualize 75% to 90% of servers. Just 13% planned to do that back in 2010: This year, the number almost doubled, to 25% citing that goal. Server consolidation was the top driver, by far, for virtualization efforts in 2010. Now that's tied with desires for high availability, better disaster recovery, and improved flexibility and agility.
Art Wittmann is director of InformationWeek Reports, a portfolio of decision-support tools and research reports. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.