Cloud computing will take such a stranglehold on the market as companies try to reduce hardware spending that Gartner has made the bold proclamation that one-fifth of all businesses will own absolutely no IT assets come 2012.
Gartner's forecast signals a massive market shift and opens the door for solution providers to find a new revenue stream with cloud-based services as they help clients migrate from legacy hardware and software environments to the cloud.
The mass exodus away from physical IT assets, which will leave one in five businesses, or 20 percent, without IT assets, is being fueled by a number of factors including cloud computing and cloud-enabled services and virtualization, according to Gartner, which issued its top IT predictions this week.
While the cloud is one of the main contributors to the move away from physical IT, the change is also the product of employees running personal desktops and notebook systems on corporate networks, which reduces the need for organizations to buy PCs.
"The need for computing hardware, either in a data center or on an employee's desk, will not go away," Gartner said in a statement. "However, if the ownership of hardware shifts to third parties, then there will be major shifts throughout every facet of the IT hardware industry. For example, enterprise IT budgets will either be shrunk or reallocated to more-strategic projects; enterprise IT staff will either be reduced or reskilled to meet new requirements, and/or hardware distribution will have to change radically to meet the requirements of the new IT hardware buying points."
The 20 percent migration away from hardware and other IT assets by 2012 jibes with Gartner's overall cloud computing market forecasts. According to Gartner, the cloud computing market will compound at an annual rate of 28 percent from $47 billion in 2008 to $126 billion by 2012. The cloud computing market will hit $150 billion in 2013, Gartner said.