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Predicting the IT trends of 2009: What's in and what's out

In the midst of troubled economic times, the IT world marches on with a strong mandate to help businesses drive efficiency and cost savings. With that in mind, here is my list of predictions for the rising and falling IT trends of 2009.

In the midst of troubled economic times, the IT world marches on with a strong mandate to help businesses drive efficiency and cost savings. With that in mind, here is my list of predictions for the rising and falling IT trends of 2009.

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I've organized this list into counterpoints, trends that will be "IN" and related trends that will be on their way "OUT" during 2009. These are not absolutes. The INs will not be ubiquitous and the OUTs won't be extinct. The rule of thumb here is that for the INs you'll see more of them in 2009 than you saw in 2008, while you'll see less of the OUTs in 2009 than you did last year. So here we go...

IN: IT pros with business skills - OUT: Technical certifications IN: Web-based applications - OUT: Build-it-yourself custom software IN: Automating processes to save money - OUT: Long-term projects IN: Macs in the enterprise - OUT: Upgrading XP machines to Vista IN: Virtualization - OUT: Infinite racks of small servers IN: Core i7 - OUT: The Pentium brand IN: Thin clients - OUT: A laptop for every knowledge worker IN: WiMAX - OUT: Metro Wi-Fi IN: Ubuntu - OUT: Red Hat IN: Business Intelligence (BI) - OUT: SNMP data overload IN: Telecommuting - OUT: The 8-5 work day IN: HP laptops and desktops - OUT: Dell laptops and desktops IN: Multifunction server appliances - OUT:  Best-of-breed network devices IN: Smartphones - OUT: Desktop-replacement notebooks IN: Video conferencing - OUT: Air travel for a single meeting IN: More internships - OUT: Filling open positions IN: Conserving energy - OUT: Building IT for future growth IN: WAN acceleration - OUT: Dark fiber IN: 3G broadband - OUT: Frame relay IN: Netbooks - OUT: Desktop PCs IN: Microsoft Office on the Web - OUT: Azure, Live Mesh, and Windows Live IN: CIOs with minimal tech background - OUT: CIO as lead engineer IN: IT/business integration - OUT: Centralized IT departments

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

127 comments
chrisbuzby
chrisbuzby

In lists with actual data Out In and Out lists with no data to back them up....

Gh0stMaker
Gh0stMaker

Recently I worked as an I.T. Manager for a network consulting company. Out of 400 companies 12% of them used Linux & the rest were windows with possibly Unix ERP systems, but the core servers were Windows. Does anyone w/ this much experience with the amount of customers have their experience to share?

alico99
alico99

What about printing Trend? are Multifunction getting over printers?

realvannewkirk
realvannewkirk

4 devices crammed into i chassis, so if one part fails you lose everything. what a great idea. i get that people want space/ time savers, but in the long run, how long does a dedicated scanner last, versus your printer that died in the multifunction box? not wanting to sound like a stick in the mud, but four seperate devices means more uptime and less hassle. if you need to scan straight to a print, get a copy machine :)

mmatarrese
mmatarrese

Mac - give me a break. Since when would business pay twice the price for a lesser machine when costs have become the IN with business IT experience. Sounds like an oxymoron to me.

pgit
pgit

IN Linux OUT paying for an OS Mind you this is 2009 we're talking about. IF this mess gets straightened out (global economy) without reducing half the planet to ashes, then right about when windows 7 comes out you could see a big move to that core i7 hardware.

michael_orton
michael_orton

Vista has been a disaster. At first I believed the security hype, until I found that is was no harder to break into then 98se. And a lat harder to use, and needed more expensive hardware. Firms and Private users won't be buying the latest PCs, so switching from XP to Linux ont only makes sense, but could also save a lot of money. And they will find that a modern Linux distro (Suse 11, Mandriva, Ubuntu,) do more and are easier to use than Vista. Microsoft may well be going out too. For the first time they are not so easy to use as Linux.

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

Ray, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say "YES!!"

reisen55
reisen55

Oh my goodness gracious me. My name is Raypersaud Rampershaid. I am most earnestly eager to assist you in returning forthwith to your nearest paralell dimension. Please understand that my skills are limited. What operating system are you using? "Are you a god?" Oh my, I presume you did not understand my question, I shall attempt to re-phrase it for your humble understanding. Please wait. ****** Gozer gives up, destroys the world, moves on.

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

I think you're pretty much right on, although some of these trends have been going on for some time now (thinking HP vs Dell here).

Greg Martin
Greg Martin

No surprises. Half of this list shows up every few years in one form or another. Half of the ins and outs reverse every few years. As Mr. Hiner said, the ins will not take over and the outs won't disappear.

jgraber
jgraber

since when has anyone worked 8-5!

Gh0stMaker
Gh0stMaker

Didn't many of us think that we would be able to work from home on company systems by 2008 / 2009? With all this technology, companies / managers still want people between the 4 walls; little surprising to me.

reisen55
reisen55

In: Outsourcing Out: whatever is left of internal IT support. In: Notebooks Out: NOT DESKTOPS YET (why? Cost). In: Reduced Budgets Out: Internal IT staff, whatever is left of it. In: Windows XP Professional Out: Vista Out: Windows 2000 Professional Out: Windows NT Workstation (hard to do)

toysarefun
toysarefun

Lots of items listed bode true for our enterprise, but I'm not so sure about the Mac vs. Vista thing.

parfait
parfait

I doubt if MAC is taking XP place instead of Vista. The people that use XP at work are currently using Vista at home, not MAC. Ubuntu will be next to Vista if XP is to be replaced. It's easier to predict the past than the future, anyway

Gh0stMaker
Gh0stMaker

Mac gave up their server operating system to Unix. Does that sound like a long term company to you?

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I'm just saying that IT is seeing more Macs on the network. And IT is also avoiding the upgrade from XP to Vista. Some are only purchasing new machines with Vista, while others are avoiding Vista altogether by continuing to put XP on new machines.

michael_orton
michael_orton

More intense cyber terror aimed at the West. Countered by the realisation that firewalls are all very well, but that the Wild West wasn't won by putting the wagons in a circle,(firewalls),but by smallpox infected blankets and massacres by the Long Knives. Strike back to take out the attacking systems to become normal practice. This is the only security that will work in the future? Treat Cyber terror as normal: the only good one is a dead one? You and you only are the policeman, the judge, jury, the firing squad and the undertaker?

timnjohnson
timnjohnson

What kind of training would I need for the following ...... 1.IN:IT pros with business skills? 2.IN: Automating processes to save money ? 3.IN Web-based applications ? 4.IN: Business Intelligence ? 5.IN: IT/business integration ? It's better to prepare a head than wait for a pink slip.

melissab
melissab

The rest of us will be trying to cover the other end with a little extra education!

IN: whatever Microsoft replaces Vista with. OUT: The Mac's that will not run your accounting software. IN: Virtualizaton OUT: The money I might have had in the budget for VMware Boot Camp :( IN: Fix it make it work and hang on until the credit opens up again. OUT: Budget for new purchases and employees. OUT HP: Desktops and Especialy Lovono Think Pads. IN: Dell supported Servers and Laptops.

Gh0stMaker
Gh0stMaker

When IBM sold their desktop and notebook business to China the professionals should have shunned the junk!

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Unless you want to teach theory as a Ph. D. or design compilers and stuff, Computer Science is a waste of time. This is coming from a C.S. graduate. As we all know, the days of the home-grown well-paid American programmer are long gone. Coding and the bulk of development will be offshore. However, businesses will need someone to interface with the customer to gather requirements, design the system and interface with the developers. This person will have keen business sense and a great technical background. These are where the future CIOs will come from. If you have a degree in Computer Science, look at supplementing that with an MBA. If you're currently a Computer Science major, minor in Business. In fact, many Computer Science courses will begin to Segway into a full-blown Business Analysis programs by requiring C.S. students to take some business courses or by changing the "Computer Information Systems" major to "Business Analysis". The days of the inarticulate, well-paid unkempt IT geek is dead (in America at least). I'm a hardware guy an even we're being replaced by cheaper, paper-certified labor. I can easily be undercut by a fresh MSCE who just took off his Applebees apron. $35k a year might not be a lot to most IT guys, but it sure is a hell of a lot of money for an ex-Jiffy Lube employee who spent $3,000 on a Cisco bootcamp and calls himself an "Engineer".

jsimonelli
jsimonelli

Just finished my Masters in Information Systems and the best advice I got was from a teacher that always pointed this out. The fact that you have a degree doesn't mean anything, and the fact that most of the jobs are going overseas means that you have to be more marketable overall. In my opinion the person with a knowledge in a sector of IT is the winner, where the specialized person in one sector or the person too sparsed in all sectors are out.. Think about it, don't thin yourself out in knowledge but don't be the network guy who only knows how to do networks. Be the network guy that happens to have that title but is also a linux administrator at heart, and also the network guy who likes to help or work with the security administrator. Being fortunate enough to be working at a government facility everyone around me is pretty much a guru at linux, windows, cisco or other IT fields. The best time to see our team evolve is when some people may be sick, on leave, or reasons that takes them away from the golden opportunity. This is when I have seen some people step in when there is a crunch and are able to show the other skills they also have (I.e. the network guy who know a lot about linux but didn't get hired as the systems admin). The benefits from all this is that they consider these people as admins in one way or another and they will still send them to red hat certifications and other certs that could allow for a better team overall, not necessarily because your title says so. Once you are in, step up, don't be afraid to help but don't throw yourself in too deep in areas you only know a little in.. At the same token, it was during these times that I have seen other admins shine and become a more valuable asset to the organization. My teacher always told a small story about you being the 3rd string full back who never got to play much his freshmen year in college football. One day at a game with a rival the 1st string fullback gets hit for showboating before getting to the endzone and now has a broken leg, the 2nd string fullback gets rattled on the 3rd quarter and is wobbly, so the coach sends you and then you perform an amazing game where you score the winning touchdowns and almost instantly become the starter.. How many times have you seen this in college football... All I am trying to say is be confident you can perform your job, learn other materials and skills from others, and be ready to help when the help is needed. just my own opinion..

Gh0stMaker
Gh0stMaker

I could not have made better & more factual points myself. It is amazing during the past 18 years how I.T. professionals use to be treated and how they are now!

oschmid14
oschmid14

Great. You could not have said it better.

jlrobins
jlrobins

What I have been hearing is "everytime we get one of those 'business people with IT skills' in here, they make a mess of things." I am a social sciences person from the 1970's that ended up in IT... Also have an MBA. I have watched for years as the business side has fought with the techies. In the end the techies win because the business people won't take the time to truly learn what it takes [time, hardware, software, training/learning curve] to do that latest, greatest web site or business intelligence app they want. Even worse, too often, they over-promise and then the techies can't deliver and get roasted for it. But the pundits and 'seers' for years keep saying: IN: IT pros with business skills - OUT: Technical certifications IN: CIOs with minimal tech background - OUT: CIO as lead engineer IN: IT/business integration - OUT: Centralized IT departments IN: Decision makers that listen to the business team as to what they want on the technology side OUT: Listening to the techies who know what they hell they are talking about.

curtis
curtis

It reflects my experience from a previous job. IT got treated like the janitors or something. They'd decide they wanted a product and order a server or software without consulting with IT, then IT discovers the product won't work with infrastructure and gets blamed for it. Business acumen doesn't hurt, but IT people need to be primarily IT people, not primarily business people who think they know some IT.

Gh0stMaker
Gh0stMaker

The scenario your referred to is rampant in may companies today.

dbecker
dbecker

My prediction for 2009 is that it will be an odd numbered year. [It should be noted that I have a penchant for predicting the past.] One more: The scoundrels will win... as always.

toysarefun
toysarefun

But only in the form of ITIL, the productivity killer.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Companies care less about quality and more about saving a buck, thus offshoring. A hundred quick fixes from Bangalore is cheaper than quality, home-grown code.

jlrobins
jlrobins

In the end, you get the quality you pay for, whether in India or the US/ England/ Europe. If you are paying the low end of the pay scale, you get (or keep) the people with that level of skills. A good one will pass through every now and then. And a few stay down a few notches from their 'real value' because of personal quirks/ family situations/ etc. The pay may be lower in India or Russia, but you have the business contact and specification 'translation' costs that must be added.

Gh0stMaker
Gh0stMaker

1 U.S. programmers pays for 8 Bangalore - now their is a global market for us - can't understand why the salaries are lowering...

chris
chris

what they hope is that they'll get lucky. Either that or they're clueless and they just happen to get lucky

dguyton
dguyton

He's right on the money. Totally agree. 2009 is going to be a rude awakening for some.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

Some of the items seem to be tightly integrated; which would make them fall into place like dominoes (less technical CIO is probably more apt to look to IT pros with greater business acumen, for instance) should one come to pass. I've seen some of these occur(videoconferencing replacing air travel, more interns and greater telecommuting). I'm not so sold on some of the others. Specifically, the Macs in the enterprise vs. upgrading XP to Vista. From what I've read and seen here and elsewhere, neither seems like it is really going to take off anytime soon. Macs are great; but the fact that there is little-to-no price breaks given, on top of a learning curve for new users, is a bit of a no-go in this economy. Likewise, the necessary hardware expenditures on top of still lingering compatibility issues makes Vista a non-starter for many firms. If anything, I think platform stagnation would seem to be the IN for 2009 (at least the first 6-9 months). All in all, a good read!

john3347
john3347

I like that term. 'Nuther way to say, "If it ain't broke, don't waste no money fixin' it!" Just good business.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I'm just saying that you're seeing more of them in the enterprise than in the past (when IT pros used to fight to keep them out). Today I'm actually seeing IT admins running Macs themselves.

chris
chris

no one is going to do anything for a while. wait and see how the new Pres is going to handle things I think.

oschmid14
oschmid14

I must agree with you on MAC vs. VISTA. Due to budget restrictions, this year will be a year of platform and technology stagnation. To many companies do not plan for the long-term when business will be picking up again, but rather stay put in a "wait-and-see" position. If there are signs that the economy and business is going to improve in late 2009 or early 2010 there will be a "cautious" investment boom towards the end of 2009.

herveyallen
herveyallen

I agree - Good list and quite interesting. It made me think a bit, which I think is the best thing you can do with something like this.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

If you don't need to buy expensive Cisco switches and routers with expensive SMARTNET fees, why do so? HP Procurve switches are very high-quality and most, if not all of them have a life-time warranty. You can't beat that.

Gh0stMaker
Gh0stMaker

Last year I implemented HP Procurve switches for 18 companies, and the companies are very happy with them and far less Cost of Ownership than Cisco (although in some cases Cisco is still the best if you have the budget)

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

I also implement Cisco equipment when I feel it's the best for that particular implementation. However, I'm not one of these people who say, "We're a Cisco shop" or "We're an HP shop". I thoroughly vet each product and if it fits our needs, I'll purchase it.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Read 'em and weep!

Gh0stMaker
Gh0stMaker

It is shameful to see job postings wanting Network Engineer,DB admin, programmer, and all for under $50k. In this economy companies wants 1 person to be 2-3 professionals.

reisen55
reisen55

American management sees the IT career sector as a commodity business that does not require specialists. So they see only expenses such as salary and benefits. Bangalore at 1/4 salary and no bennies is an accountants nirvana. So the jobs go overseas and I have to ask how many of these offshore and outsourced workers in far away lands REALLY come back to the United States to DIRECTLY contribute to our economy? Oh basic stuff like purchase a home, buy a car, taxes, etc. Answer: almost none. So there is a total net loss to the country all the while the MANAGEMENT types claim success in REDUCING EXPENSES AND INCREASING SHAREHOLDER VALUE. CHEAPER, FASTER, BETTER? Nope Slower, worse = more expensive.

mbabcock
mbabcock

You are correct, imo, reisen55. Those tax dollars are lost/gone, not investing in this country by American workers as they would if the Americans had the jobs. That "company savings" does NOT put tax dollars back into our economy here, or at least not nearly as much as if these jobs were held by citizens living here with the basics you mentioned. It's obvious imo, yet no politician or corporate type will admit it. Protectionism is not a dirty word...there IS some merit to it. It's result is "investing in your country's infrastructure."

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

There's some truth to that.

jpimer
jpimer

In: Decision makers that listen to the business team as to what they want on the technology side Out: Listening to the techies who know what they hell they are talking about.

mishanv
mishanv

Actually this is a wish on my part, not a prediction. All too often I see this harping about management, business, bean counters, etc. These people have their roles & responsibilites as well, and some no doubt engage in the same type of harping about IT, programmers, geeks, etc. Time invested in understanding some of each others' concerns may provide/inspire answers beneficial to all. The more we can do to help the other segments of the organizations we work for, the better that organization and it's customers will do. The better they do, the better we as employees do. The other option is start your own business, then where do you think your concentration and efforts will focus? Quality = conformance to requirements.

chris
chris

That's not a new trend!!!!

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

When you have a myopic management team that defines quality as "Well, the customer hasn't left us, so it must not be THAT bad!" they tend to think more about budgets than quality. Most of them only care about the short-term results that get them promoted or pads their resume. Once they have what they need, they'll jump to the next ship for more money. Who can blame them. "Saved the company $20 million in labor-related costs" looks much better to a hiring manager on a resume than "Oversaw the development/implementation of high-quality software systems".

Marketing
Marketing

This seems to be the case in most times. It will likely get worse simply because the business team will be more likely to want to save on the budget short term instead of invest in long-term strategies, applications, and equipment.

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