Cloud services,mobile computing and social networking will converge to become a mainstream IT platform in 2011, according to market researchers IDC.

"In 2011, we expect to see these transformative technologies make the critical transition from early adopter status to early mainstream adoption," said Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC.

The IT platform of the future will be characterized by mobility and cloud-based application and service delivery, IDC predicts. Those features will be augmented by social business and pervasive analytics.

“In addition to creating new markets and opportunities, this restructuring will overthrow nearly every assumption about who the industry's leaders will be and how they establish and maintain leadership," Gens said in a statement.

IDC expects 2011 to be a year of “solid” recovery in IT spending. The researchers forecast global spending to grow 5.7 percent to 1.6 trillion dlrs in 2011. Hardware spending is set to grow 7.8 percent and spending on software is seen increasing 5.3 percent. Outsourcing will gain 4 percent, IDC predicts.

More than half of all net new IT spending will come from accelerated growth in emerging markets.

IDC says spending on public IT cloud services will grow at more than five times the rate of the IT industry in 2011, soaring30% from 2010 levels. The strong growth reflects moves by organizations to switch a wider range of business applications to the cloud.

IDC predicts the market for mobile apps will soar. It sees downloads of nearly 25 billion mobile apps in 2011, up from just 10 billion in 2010. "Over time, the still-emerging apps ecosystems promise to fundamentally restructure the channels for all digital content and services to consumers,” IDC said.

Social business software is expected to grow 38 percent a year through 2014. But IDC predicts some consolidation in 2011 as major software vendors acquire social software providers to establish or grow their social business footprint.