IDC’s 2016 IT forecast: Get ready to supersize your network

Scale will be the critical new ingredient in the unfolding battle for digital market success, says IDC’s chief analyst. Here’s how this huge shift could affect enterprise networks and the people who manage them.

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Almost everything about enterprise IT is going to get supersized over the next year or so, according to the 2016 edition of IDC’s annual predictions.

Like, massive.

“What is our overarching theme for the digital world in 2016? In a word, scale. Scale will be the critical new ingredient in the unfolding battle for digital market success,” IDC’s chief analyst Frank Gens said right off the top of the recent predictions webcast.

Businesses will dramatically scale up their efforts to engage customers through IT, he said. Here’s how this huge shift could affect enterprise networks and the people who manage them.

More customers

The amount of data and end points touching enterprise networks is going to explode.

By 2018, more than 80 per cent of B2C enterprises and some 60 per cent of B2B enterprises will overhaul their “digital front door” to support 1,000 to 10,000 times more customers and touch points per customer, Gens said. They’ll also have to “deliver much more personalized experiences to the much larger number of customers they’re going to touch,” he said.

More data

To personalize the customer experience you need data. That’s why IDC predicts that companies embracing the third platform (cloud, social, mobile and analytics) will expand their external data sources by three- to fivefold and expand their own delivery of data to the marketplace 100-fold by 2018.


The Internet of Things (IoT) will put even greater demands on enterprise networks. IDC expects the number of IoT devices installed worldwide to double to 22 billion by 2018, driving the development of more than 200,000 new IoT apps and services during the same period.

DIY development

IDC predicts at least half of all IT spending will be cloud-based by 2018. In turn, companies will outsource a lot of their app maintenance to the cloud so their own developers can focus more on innovation rather than just keeping the lights on. As Gens phrased it, “this means every successful enterprise must become a software development company.”

According to IDC, enterprises will put more emphasis on creating new apps instead of app migration, and also double their software development activities and team sizes by 2018. For network admins, it means putting nearly all legacy apps out to pasture and a lot more internal software testing.

More LOB control

If IDC’s predictions pan out, they won’t just change what network admins have to deal with, but also with whom. IDC foresees line of business units controlling 45 per cent of global IT spending by 2018, driving IT to become even more market- and customer-facing.

Fewer vendors

The vendor landscape will also see a shakeup. Consolidation is on the way, with IDC predicting that more than 30 per cent of today’s IT vendors “will not exist as we know them today.” For example, within the next two years just six vendors will control up to 80 per cent of the Platform as a Service (PaaS) market, Gens said.

For network admins, it could make vendor lock-in far less avoidable. On the other hand, having fewer brands to deal with (and fewer IT architectures to master or integrate) may simplify things to a certain degree.

Compliance gets complex

“Data privacy legislation is going to proliferate over the next three years,” Gens warned. Legislators around the world are creating new laws and penalties around data privacy; IDC suggests corporations appoint a Chief Data Officer to oversee this stuff, yet the day-to-day job of keeping networks compliant really trickles down to the shoulders of the network admin.

Network administrators, it looks like your plate is bound to get even fuller in the next couple of years.

Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos

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