Gartner says that the cloud is the next age of computing, with predictions that it will be a permanent fixture in the IT world.
Analysts say that mobile is personal cloud, social media is only possible via the cloud and big data is the killer application for the cloud.
"Cloud is not merely about cost-cutting, the end game is not just cheap on-demand services. In fact, 90 percent of these services are still subscription based, not pay-as-you-go," said Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of Research. "We are just at the beginning of realizing the cost benefits of cloud, but organizations moving to the cloud are also attracted by the new capabilities they do not get today. It is bringing new approaches to designing applications, specifically for the cloud, and providing more resilience by architecturing failure as a design concept."
Gartner says that by 2016 over 1.6 billion mobile devices will be purchased on a global scale with 40% of the workforce being mobile.
"Mobile is about computing at the right time, in the moment. It is the point of entry for all applications, delivering personalized, contextual experiences," said Sondergaard. "It means: marketing gets more time with the customer; employees become more productive; and process flows get dramatically cut."
Gartner predicts that in 2016, 50% of all non-PC devices will be purchased by employees.
The firm also projects that in the next three years, dominant social networks will have reached the peak of their growth but social computing will have then become more important, as companies are establishing social media as an important work discipline.
"Social computing is moving from being just on the outside of the organization to being at the core of business operations," said Sondergaard. "It is changing the fundamentals of management: how you establish a sense of purpose and motivate people to act. Social computing will move organizations from hierarchical structures and defined teams to communities that can cross any organizational boundary."
Big data is expected to accelerate growth in the global economy and help create future jobs.
According to Gartner, 4.4 million IT jobs will be created globally to support big data by 2015, with 1.9 million of those IT jobs based in the U.S. Each big data role in the U.S. is predicted to generate jobs for three people outside of the IT industry, so over the next four years big data is expected to be responsible for 6 million jobs in total.
"Big data is about looking ahead, beyond what everybody else sees," said Sondergaard. "You need to understand how to deal with hybrid data, meaning the combination of structured and unstructured data, and how you shine a light on ‘dark data.’ Dark data is the data being collected, but going unused despite its value. Leading organizations of the future will be distinguished by the quality of their predictive algorithms. This is the CIO challenge, and opportunity."