2012 is set to be a year in which new opportunities start to rise for IT professionals, even though budgets are tight, according to the predictions of industry participants.
But they also warned that control over technology budgets will start seeping away from IT departments.
The news comes as experts predict a strong take-up of cloud computing, and bring-your-own devices at work. The money available will continue to be strained, but the ambition for new projects is understood to be slowly returning.
The observers also pointed out that it will be a year when small businesses get a grip on virtualisation, and the demand for IT security professionals is significantly heightened.
Analyst house Gartner warned of concerns that control over system approval was beginning to seep away substantially from the tech department.
"By 2015, 35 percent of corporate IT expenditures for most organisations will be managed outside the IT department's budget," it said.
"Next generation digital enterprises are being driven by a new wave of business managers and individual employees who no longer need technology to be contextualised for them by an IT department." These people would also drive more social computing to contact customers, analysts said.
The growth of cloud computing was allowing departmental heads an easier route to self-deployment of systems.
Cloud computing "applies pressure to IT economics", with the low setup costs and quick deployment, Forrester said. It defined this as the "next phase of IT industrialisation".
IT industry association Intellect said the government's continued move to cloud computing, with the G-Cloud, was good news. It added that there was also "a commitment to developing a more diverse tech market", as part of the cloud initiative, and said it was watching developments closely.
But it warned that the right broadband infrastructure was vital to cloud computing's take-up, as well as the vendors being able to successfully promote a "culture change" within organisations to tackle the "nervousness" around putting key data in the cloud.
Workers are increasingly dumping desktop PCs for laptops, tablets and mobile phones, according to the experts. By 2016, over half of workers will have abandoned their desktop computers, Gartner predicts.
"The pace of change...will be breathtaking," it said. "By 2015, mobile application development projects targeting smartphones and tablets will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4-to-1."
Networking vendor Cisco, in a study of IT decision makers in the UK, found that IT budgets would continue to suffer, though the ambition for projects was beginning to return.
"2012 will be a year of tech 'trade-offs' and compromise," it said. "IT leaders will be forced to balance innovation aspirations with harsh business reality." It warned that 'keeping the lights on' will eat up most of people's budgets.
Nevertheless, Cisco said IT leaders were upbeat. "In particular they see cloud, mobile device support and remote access as key priorities."
License management firm Flexera said it was seeing an upturn in interest in its products as the financial crisis remained. "Chief information officers will continue to need to be creative about finding hidden pools of waste to trim their budgets and at the same time fund strategic projects," it said.
"With most of the obvious sources of waste long since scoured, the murky, complex and seemingly indecipherable world of software licenses will provide a new opportunity for cost cutting and project funding."
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