Disruptive technologies are eroding the traditional structure of the IT supplier industry. They will also require user organisations to implement new IT architectures to keep pace with technology developments, according to Gartner.
Peter Sondergaard, global head of research at the analyst group, said, "The industry as we define it is no more. Gone are the days when we neatly arranged the industry into categories: for example, server, PC, software and application development suppliers. The borders of this industry will be redefined."
Disruptive technologies he cited include virtualisation, wireless technologies, the impact of consumer technologies on business IT, service oriented architecture and ubiquitous access to information.
Delegates at the Gartner Symposium were told the current models proposed by leading IT companies to support real-time business processes are set to change dramatically.
Sondergaard said users will need to make their IT architectures "predictive" to prepare for potential change before it happens, rather than responding to events as they occur.
"This will result in adoption of the conceptual frameworks such as IBM OnDemand, HP's Adaptive Enterprise and Microsoft's Agility," he said.
The changes taking place in the industry will change the supplier landscape. "At the top end of the IT market we see increased consolidation," he said.
Acquisitions will allow suppliers to bolster their own area of specialisation, but Gartner also expects more suppliers to make "non-linear acquisitions". this involves suppliers acquiring companies outside of their normal sector. One example of this is eBay's purchase of internet telephony provider Skype.
Users should not only keep abreast of supplier consolidation and the changing strategies of the enterprise giants, but also look for innovative products and services from outside the traditional IT development heartlands of the US and Europe, said Gartner.
Competition and innovation will increasingly come from small IT companies in emerging markets such as South Eastern Asia, India and Eastern Europe, it added.