By John Lamb, writing for our sister site, BusinessCloud9
Cloud Computing skills are top of the 'to do' list for ICT professionals if they want their careers to flourish in 2012, along with business analytics, mobile computing, and social business.
Those are the conclusions of an IBM survey, which collated the views of 4,000 members of its global developerWorks forum for technical staff.
Although developers from 93 countries were polled, the study highlights trends from the five countries with the highest number of responses: the United States, Brazil, Russia, India and China.
And these specialists are convinced that over the next 24 months, these areas will only continue to grow, fuelling development, architectural and analytic opportunities, says Big Blue’s ‘Tech Trends Report’.
For Cloud adopters, "developing new applications" is expected to be the top activity in the next 24 months, surpassing today's top Cloud focus areas of virtualization and storage. A majority (51%) of respondents told the researchers that adopting Cloud technology is also now part of their mobile strategy, too.
IBM believes Cloud computing offers new opportunities for technical professionals as businesses move beyond saving costs with infrastructure and beginning to build applications to innovate in the Cloud.
According to respondents, building Cloud applications will overtake virtualization as the top Cloud activity in the next 24 months. Still, organizations seem to have concerns about building and utilizing infrastructure in the Cloud that haven’t evaporated: security, compatibility with existing applications, privacy, and performance were the top concerns about the Cloud.
While 40% of respondents indicated that their organization is not currently engaged in Cloud computing, the vast majority (75%) of respondents believe that over the next two years their organizations will begin to build Cloud infrastructure.
Close to 60% of respondents cited flexibility and scalability as the top reasons for embracing Cloud technology. The survey also uncovered a strong link between mobile and Cloud. The adoption of Cloud technologies was part of the mobile strategy of 51% of respondents.
Meanwhile business analytics is the technology with the most traction, according to the survey, as businesses struggle to automate processes and make sense of increasing amounts of data.
Half of those respondents who are not currently using analytics plan to do so within the next 24 months, to increase automation, streamline processes and do more with less in faster time.
However the study also found organizations are concerned that they will face difficulty when integrating sophisticated analytics into existing technology and in educating people on how to make the most of the new insights.
The report says Analytics] has a bright future, with 42% of respondents naming it as an ‘in demand’ area for software development and as having the highest adoption tendency (90%) when compared with other technology area. Some 87% of respondents cite open source platforms such as Apache Hadoop and Linux as playing a key role in the future of this application development.
IT professionals believe these technologies will have the highest impact in the education, healthcare, aerospace, defense, computer software and life sciences industries.
But IBM was concerned that two-thirds of respondents reported an increase in the amount of business analytics work in their organizations over the past year of less than 50%.
Mobile computing, says IBM, is here to stay, and offers room for IT professional growth as more organizations build mobile applications.
Globally, Android emerged in the study as the top platform for mobile application development; 70% of respondents expect to develop for the Android platform over the next 24 months, while 49% plan to develop for iOS.
Mobile computing has a high level of penetration, with three in four survey respondents currently working in mobile computing, growing to 85% within the next two years.
Respondents saw enterprise and industry-specific applications as top areas for adoption over the next two years, with extending mobile capabilities to existing core applications close behind.
Finally, the adoption of social media for business purposes - called social business by IBM - varies by country, depending on the perception of security concerns and local acceptance of this technology, according to the study.
Different countries appear to have different comfort levels with this drive for critical mass. India is already embracing social business adoption very strongly (57%), followed by the US (45%) and China (44%). Russia shows the strongest resistance with a score of 19%.
The survey showed employee collaboration, efficiency in locating people and resources, and idea generation and sharing as the top three motivators for internal deployment. The three top social business capabilities that companies are using at the moment: file sharing, blogs and forums.
Most organizations will concentrate on internal deployment of social business in the coming two years. Bodies with customer-facing external applications are more likely to deploy their own social platforms (41%) than use third-party systems such as Facebook (20%).