IT vendors are expected to enter a period of "tuning", according to Crawford Del Prete, executive vice president, worldwide research products and chief research officer, IDC.

He was speaking at Directions 2011, IDC's annual conference dedicated to IT vendors, held last week.

"The next phase of enterprise IT will be about capturing a mix of horizontal and vertical opportunities," said Del Prete during his presentation on upcoming technology trends.

While there would be continued consolidation among the companies operating in the applications and infrastructure space, Del Prete expects a wave of small-sized vendors specialising in industry verticals such as finance, manufacturing and public sector to emerge.

Commenting on the overall buying landscape, worldwide IT spending growth is expected to remain around the six per cent mark for the next four years, compared to negative five per cent in the recession period.

Several themes are emerging across IT that will fuel demand, including cloud computing and analytics.

The cloud delivery model has progressed from the state of "what" where CIOs deliberate on which services to adapt, to a "how" phase of choosing public, private or hybrid clouds, said Del Prete.

Del Prete predicts that the private cloud will be the near-term cloud strategy for CIOs over the next two years. Numbers from IDC's Cloud Computing Survey, conducted in December 2010, indicated that IT budgets allocated to private cloud services will rise from 24 per cent to 34 per cent. In comparison, the public cloud will only increase by two per cent from 11 per cent.

The field of analytics will become more sophisticated. Del Prete expects industry-specific and line of business analytic applications to gain more traction, while best practices from one industry will be adapted to suit other industries.

Thanks to the growing demands of "Big Data", there will be a convergence of search, text analytics and SQL data warehousing. Business analytics appliances will incorporate database and user-facing BI tools or analytic applications.

Customers will continue to demand and prefer software that is easy to acquire, install, use, and maintain, driven by cloud computing model's focus on simplicity, as well as an increasing buying influence of business users, added Del Prete.