Top Six IT Trends That Will Impact Software Sales In 2006

By Geoffrey James

The New Year is always a good time to take a look into the crystal ball to see what’s going to be hot in software sales. Gartner, the worlds largest high tech research firm, believes that six IT industry trends will cause significant disruption and drive opportunity in 2006 and beyond. Here they are, along with our suggestions on how to take advantage of them:

1. By 2008, 10 percent of companies will require employee-purchased notebooks. Company-owned notebooks are commonly used for personal purposes, such as email, music and videos. Gartner predicts that notebooks will begin to move from company ownership to personal ownership through the implementation of a notebook allowance, much like car mileage allowances today. Your tactic: Broaden your “ease-of-use” and "mobile" messages so that they appeal more effectively to the end user.

2. By 2010, 30 percent of U.S. homes will use only cellular or Internet telephony. In 2004, nearly 90 percent of the world’s new telecom connections were mobile. Growth in traditional wired voice connections will slow in North America, Western Europe and other developed markets as more people dedicate fixed phone lines to DSL links and switch to cellular or Internet telephony. Your tactic: Emphasize (or promise) extensions to your software that supports access via digital cell phone.

3. The job market for IT specialists will shrink 40 percent by 2010. The coming decade will see the emergence of IT "generalists," people whose multidisciplinary assignments, roles and experiences create a valuable blend of synthesized knowledge, competencies and context to fuel business value. Your tactic: Partner more closely with your IT contacts to provide them a wider range of experience, making them more valuable to their own organization.

4. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) service providers will capture $11 billion of insurance revenue by 2008. The insurance industry and BPO vendors will have the intellectual property and technology platforms to align with the distribution channel (for example, bank and investment houses) and launch insurance ventures that capture up to 1 percent of the global annual premium total of life, annuity, and property and casualty products. Your tactic: Direct additional sales efforts towards firms that provide outsourcing to insurance firms.

5. By 2009, Gartner analysts predict a 50 percent growth in healthcare software investment. Healthcare has historically underinvested in IT but this is changing. This increase in IT investment could enable clinicians to reduce the level of preventable deaths by 50 percent by 2013. Your tactic: revisit the healthcare segment and call more frequently on healthcare clients who have not been big purchasers in the past.

6. Through 2008, investigation of new technologies will slow as discretionary budgets divert to regulatory compliance. Regulation is increasing, and the race for "regulatory parity" between the European Commission and the U.S. government ensures that this trend will continue through 2010. Gartner analysts say that regulatory compliance spending is growing at a rate twice that of IT spending. Your tactic: work with your IT contacts to apply your software to the task of enforcing regulatory compliance. Recapture budget dollars allocated for compliance for use in IT applications.