IBM: VARs Must Adapt As Cloud, Mobility To Dominate IT

Cloud and mobile computing are expected to be the two most sought after technologies come 2015 and solution providers will have to hone new sets of skills to succeed in these areas, a new IBM developerWorks survey has found.

The survey, which queried 2,000 IT developers and specialists, found that 91 percent of respondents anticipate that cloud computing will overtake on-premise computing as the primary way organizations acquire IT in the next five years.

Additionally, the survey found that 55 percent of respondents feel mobile software application development for smartphone platforms like the Apple iPhone and Google Android, and tablets like the Apple iPad, will surpass app development for traditional computing platforms in the next 10 years.

While mobile and cloud computing are the top tech drivers in coming years, the IBM developerWorks' survey also found that social media, business analytics and industry specific technologies will drive IT jobs come 2011.

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Additionally, industry- and vertical-specific skills will be increasingly important for IT job seekers, IBM found. Ninety percent of survey respondents said that it is important to possess vertical industry-specific skills for their jobs, yet 63 percent said they are lacking the industry knowledge needed to remain competitive.

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As for which industries offer the best IT career opportunities, IBM found that telecommunications, financial services, health care and energy and utilities rank the highest.

Mark Hanny, vice president of IBM's ISV and developer relations group said the changing tide of IT will force solution providers to cultivate new sets of skills to accommodate the shift. One notable shift, Hanny said, is the power of IT moving from a centralized IT department and into the hands of users.

"This shows where the demand is moving and where customers see IT," he said. "The power of IT is moving out to the user and skilled users will not wait for IT staffs. This will have implications on what kind of skills [solution providers] have," Hanny said.

Hanny said the affect on solution providers, systems integrators and VARs will be three-fold. It will require them to bone up on their service skills; it will change their conversations with customers from the IT department to line of business people; and it will require them to develop industry domain expertise.

"This is going to create a great opportunity for solution providers, systems integrators and VARs," he said.