In 2009, these technologies can provide companies with a competitive advantage in what is expected to be a very tough year on the bottom lines of IT budgets, IT management and IT vendors. However, even in an economic downturn those companies that invest, develop and capitalize on technologies that save money while improving the efficiency and effectiveness of business have an opportunity to grab significant market and mind share with new and existing customers.
Here are Samuel Greengard’s Top 10 Trends in IT for 2009…
1. Software as a Service (SaaS) – A few years ago, the idea of running software remotely seemed preposterous. Bandwidth limitations, performance obstacles and IT administration issues made hosted software impractical. But times change. Today, software as a service (SaaS) is growing at an annual rate exceeding 40 percent. In fact, it is expected to command a 23 percent share of the $120 billion U.S. software market by 2010, according to RBC Capital Markets.
2. Virtualization – This technology has already made its mark on the data center. According to various industry estimates, between 50 percent and 60 percent of all servers are now virtualized. The goal, of course, is to reduce server sprawl—and the inefficiencies and higher costs associated with it.
3. Enterprise Mobility – Over the last few years, wireless technology—including 3G cellular data networks and widespread Wi-Fi—has opened the door to an anytime, anywhere business model.
4. Energy-Efficient Data Centers – Chip and PC manufacturers are moving toward more energy-efficient components—including improved memory and resource management—but the big action in 2009 will be in the areas of virtualization and storage, Daniel Starz, author of “Greening Your Business,” predicts. “Virtualization eliminates energy costs, maintenance outlays, cooling expenses and data center costs by as much as 90 percent,” he notes. “The payback is enormous, and it’s something organizations can no longer afford to ignore.”
5. Security, Risk and Compliance – Anthony Noble, vice president of IT Audit, at Viacom in New York City, and others in the IT industry believe that automation is essential—particularly on the risk and security compliance side of things. This includes everything from intrusion detection to authentication; from patch management to analytics used for security. A growing number of organizations are turning to self-encrypting hard drives, two-factor authentication (to replace simple passwords) and security suites that provide central control panels. This trend will continue into 2009, as continuous-monitoring tools become standard in the enterprise.
6. Social Networking – LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace and a spate of similar sites have transformed social networking from a buzzword into a business buzz saw. Companies as diverse as American Express, Del Monte and Cisco Systems have unleashed powerful social networking tools, including wikis, blogs, discussion groups, collaborative filtering, and even applets and games. The concept is allowing these companies to tap into the power of human connections and knowledge in ways that were unimaginable only a few years ago.
7. Web 2.0 – The evolution of the Web has been nothing short of amazing. Though each generation of tools creates new opportunities, the current and emerging array of Web 2.0 applications is completely revolutionizing the enterprise. The growing use of interactive maps, blogs, wikis, mashups, social bookmarking, enhanced search engines, RSS feeds and social networking is only the start. Web 2.0 tools are also making it easier to manage data, tasks and business processes.
8. Document Management and E-Discovery – Although vendors are adding more sophisticated capabilities to their applications—including the ability to track text messages, IMs and other types of unstructured data—the main challenge is figuring out how to develop systems that retain, manage, and retrieve documents and data quickly and seamlessly. here’s some good news for enterprises looking to put solutions in place: “It is likely to be a buyer’s market in 2009,” Kyle McNabb, principal analyst and research director for Forrester Research concludes. “Vendors entering the market are introducing products and solutions at a much lower price point than they were in the past.”
9. Project Management and Project Portfolio Management – In today’s time-sensitive and budget-conscious world, getting projects finished on time is paramount. Not surprisingly, more and more organizations are turning to structured systems and software to track all the details. Consequently, project management (PM) and project portfolio management (PPM) have moved into the spotlight.
10. Web and Video Collaboration – Today, collaboration tools are poised to go mainstream and further change the way business is conducted. According to the Boston-based research firm Aberdeen Group, 63 percent of companies say they will be using videoconferencing and so-called telepresence systems (essentially, a form of videoconferencing with high-quality images and audio) by the end of 2010. Only 18 percent say they have no plans to adopt these systems.