IT's days of coding with command-line interfaces and manually writing scripts could be numbered.

According to a recent report from Ovum Summit, the inevitable exodus of baby boomers as IT-buying decision makers will put younger generations of staff in the position of technology purchasers – a change that will result in a much different looking IT shop to which vendors will have to adapt. Personalised, collaborative IT solutions will be coupled with software-as-a-service licensing models and automation technologies, a research group has predicted.

"As baby boomers retire, the iGeneration, schooled on information personalisation, instant messaging, virtual teaming and global sourcing, will drive more and more business-critical IT purchase decisions," said Mary Johnston Turner, vice president at Ovum Summit. "This will significantly change the way vendors must package and deliver a wide range of infrastructure and business process solutions."

Within five years, the report said IT buying would be more influenced by the instant and always available nature of technologies younger staffers use in and out of work. For instance, consumer computing, online gaming, instant messaging, mobility and social networking will all impact how IT buyers – and their user communities – expect technology to perform.

Specifically, Ovum Summit identifies six trends that will "fundamentally reshape" IT purchasing decisions between 2007 and 2012.

Personalisation, search, content management and e-discovery technologies will be embraced by younger workers and older staff trying to stay competitive in the workforce.

Next, enterprise IT customers will demand from vendors integrated solutions that hide the technical complexity behind intuitive user interfaces, tap policy-based management capabilities and provide service-level reporting tools.

End-user mobility will also drive technology purchase decisions, followed by a generation of IT executives accustomed to "immediate information access and anywhere availability,” the report said.

IT buyers are also expected to depend more on third-party service providers of all types, Ovum Summit predicted, "forcing vendors to become highly creative in shaping next generation licensing models and revenue sharing agreements".

The last trend expected to affect how IT is bought and sold between now and 2012 is the "productisation" of professional services offerings that would ultimately drive more automation and simplification into "formerly complex infrastructure and software solutions," the report said.

Turner advises business savvy IT executives to get familiar with the emerging technologies to stay ahead of the adapting landscape and to communicate with their vendors on the new requirements.

"The most successful IT vendors and enterprises will move quickly to harness the business value provided by the emerging generation of personalisation, search, awareness and social networking technologies," Turner wrote. "They should begin pilots in 2007 and 2008 and be ready to use these technologies to gain competitive advantage by 2009."