A lot comes to mind with a title like this one.  So, let’s start by wiping away areas like politics and finances (except as they relate to IT), births, deaths, marriages and celebrities.  In fact, there’s still a very long list of possibilities by just focusing on IT and everything that goes into managing and optimizing services – let alone all of the trends around cloud.

I’ve stuck to a list of ten that are in sequence in terms of logical flow, not in terms of importance.

  1. More acquisitions and Initial Public Offering filings: While this is nothing new, it’s worth mentioning because there have been some spectacular acquisitions recently.  Last year Oracle completed its acquisition of Sun in January and Attachmate announced its acquisition of Novell in November.  VMware made some notable management acquisitions from EMC and virtually all the platform vendors continued to drive forward with a number of acquisitions in the cloud computing, asset management and other areas.  This begs the question – are acquisitions good for the industry?  That’s a column in itself, but a short answer might be some are, some aren’t, and they’re only good as long as new companies emerge—as they continue to do—to stimulate innovation without the constraints of big-company politics.
  2. IT budgets will continue to increase:  In case this is news to you, recent EMA data from “Operationalizing Cloud” research shows that 60% of IT budgets increased in 2010 and only 14% declined, compared to 30% increasing and 45% decreasing in 2009.
  3. Cloud computing will continue to grow with more realism and changing approaches to adoption: More data just in shows that 79% of our global respondents had to rethink or redirect their initial directions for cloud, as adoption gradually migrates towards a more strategic and cross-domain direction.
  4. Virtualization in the data center continues to become more strategic versus niche: Right now many cloud initiatives are showing real gains in cost savings and service resiliency through more thoroughgoing approaches to virtualizing the data center, usually across multiple brands of systems investments.
  5. Cloud is making the network sexier: Or, at least more essential.  For those of us who grew up in the industry viewing service management from a network-war room perspective, the dynamic world of geographic interdependencies that cloud creates in all its forms is just a more diverse variation on an age-old theme.  As a result, networking talent is again making the short list for smart CIO hiring priorities.
  6. Automation will no longer be sci-fi: Again, nothing new but a trend that will accelerate.  Automation may still be scary, but its absence is now scarier.  This includes accelerating requirements for more “holitistic” types of automation, such as application dependency mapping and IT Process Automation.
  7. Cloud will continue to become a catalyst for service management: I’ve already written about this http://blogs.enterprisemanagement.com/dennisdrogseth/ and will continue to write about it in 2011 (that’s one truly safe prediction).   Call it the “tail wagging the dog” if you like, but that “just-in-data” shows that IT organizations with cross-domain service management organizations are more than 50% likely to deliver measurable benefits from adopting cloud services than those without!   They are also more progressed in assimilating cloud services.   On top of this, they are 1.5 more likely to show an increase in IT budget!!
  8. Cross-domain service management organizations will continue to grow in importance: EMA data shows a steady year-to-year growth over the last three to four years in what is, if I had to single it out, the very most important trend in 2011 for all of IT, as well as a growing array of service providers.  This group often gets active C-level or VP-level involvement.  It is the most explicit political embodiment of the quiet revolution that most best-practices and technology innovations provide resources to support.  In many IT shops, it is closely affiliated with a sister organization called “architectural or infrastructure services.”
  9. IT becomes itself a catalyst for business and social transformation: More and more businesses and CIOs are coming to view IT services and resources as vehicles for business transformation.  Most pervasively, IT services are changing and augmenting business models across all verticals far beyond pure-play Internet commerce.  If there is really a way to fix healthcare in the U.S., IT technology is guaranteed to play a big role – a fact that’s already understood in Washington.  Some other areas include Green beyond IT, e.g. managing buildings and utilities, as well as optimizing manufacturing lines, utilities, cities and neighborhoods within cities.
  10. Role of the CIO continues to become transformed: As a corollary in part to almost all of the above, and especially this last, CIOs can now be expected to be fluent in a vast array of new technologies, business model interdependencies, social and political trends and probably should speak at least six languages without getting lost in major cities.  While the stress and implausibility of these demands may stimulate innovations in the pharmacology industry –  languages aside – EMA also promises to do its best to support you all making at least most of these transitions.
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