Another example is in the data center arena, where converged systems and software-defined networks (SDN) will open the door for leadership shakeups. Specifically, the SDN market is forecast to reach $3.7 billion by 2016 and account for 35% share of Ethernet switching in the data center (up from almost negligible penetration in 2012). "Major networking vendors -- including Cisco, Juniper, Brocade, and HP -- are encountering both massive risk and major new opportunities to dominate what is becoming a radically new networking landscape," IDC asserts.
Also on the horizon, according to IDC's predictions:
* Mini tablet surge: The tablet market will grow by at least 42% to more than 170 million units in 2013. Mini tablets with screens smaller than 8 inches will account for as much as 60% of unit shipments, up significantly from 33% in 2012.
* Mobile platform rationalization: If a mobile platform doesn't get at least 50% of developers interested in developing apps on it, its demise is imminent. Vulnerable platforms include Microsoft, which today has attracted about 33% of developers, and RIM, which has about 9% developer interest.
* SaaS a hot buy: IDC is predicting $25 billion in SaaS acquisitions over the next 20 months, up from $17 billion in the past 20 months.
* PaaS growth spurt: IDC is forecasting a tenfold increase in the number of industry-focused platform as a service (PaaS) offerings, which numbered fewer than 100 in 2012. More broadly focused cloud platforms, such as Salesforce.com's Force.com, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, will become more commoditized, the firm says.
* Rise of business execs making IT decisions: By 2016, 80% of new IT investments will directly involve line-of-business executives. At least half the time, the line-of-business executive will be the lead decision maker.