"It's our belief that over the next three years there will be four times as many mobile projects as PC projects," Jeff Schulman, Gartner managing vice-president, predicted on Monday morning.
Schulman, who opened Gartner's Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit in Sydney, said that mobile gave enterprises the opportunity to "fully reframe their business models."
"It's easy to think of mobile as just a tiny squished form factor for essentially PC kinds of applications and that's the first generation of all new technologies," he said.
Schulman drew an analogy with the transition from radio to television, when TV broadcasts initially left the dominant metaphors and framework of radio shows almost untouched.
"Today mobile is in that same sense a horseless carriage," Schulman said.
With mobile moving beyond its first generation of applications, technologies that leverage concepts such as augmented reality, ubiquitous connectivity and "the power of always on" are starting to influence software design.
"It's in that power to re-envision the handheld that is smart and always on and always contents- and context-aware that will power us to the next generation of applications."
For Gartner, mobile is part of the "nexus of forces" - along with social, cloud and big data - that is radically changing how applications should be designed and developed.
The changing enterprise landscape means that dominant vendors, such as Oracle, Microsoft and IBM, face the possibility of being displaced by challengers, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.
The analyst firm is predicting, for example, that by the end of 2014, Apple will be as accepted in the enterprise as Microsoft.
Although the consumerisation of IT may feel painful for those at the coalface who have to deal with it, it is both too late to stop and undesirable for enterprises to ignore the opportunities it creates for business.
"Many of us in this room can remember a golden age of computing," Schulman said.
"The golden age of computing was when we had change management. We had service-level agreements. We had maintenance structures we had security of data we had backup and recovery. We worked for years to put that in place and all of it is gone.
"All of it is gone, because when I bring my iPhone to my office and I plug in, [it's] in ways that we in IT can not envision and control. That creates heartburn."
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