We asked some industry leaders for their most provocative predictions about IT's future in 2008. Here's our collection of the most interesting ideas.
1. On the U.S. Economy and Tech Markets
"Despite tight credit markets, corporate profits, balance sheets and equity prices will remain strong. We will see further consolidation in enterprise software and IP networking equipment. Also, be on the lookout for cross-border deals if the dollar remains weak relative to the euro."
-- David E. Carney, principal in the mergers, acquisitions and divestitures division, Deloitte Consulting
2. On IT Budgets
"The economy is slowing, yet this time around, CIOs will push back against across-the-board cuts in favor of directing spending to where it will make a difference. It will be a year of internal political strife, but real IT portfolio renovation will come out of it."
-- Bruce A. Stewart, founder and principal analyst, Accendor Research Inc., and a Computerworld columnist
3. On IT Management
"Working in a fishbowl will be the unique project challenge of 2008. Transparency will expose to scrutiny every decision you make and every action you take. Thanks to search and blogs, you will have to work much harder to be perceived as 'knowing more' than the soon-to-be info-super-empowered user."
-- Thornton May, industry observer, management consultant and commentator and a Computerworld columnist
4. On IT Skills
"2008 will be a 'come to Jesus' year for IT workers who hold job titles that aren't consistent with what they actually do on the job. These mismatched professionals tend to be paid below market levels, and recruiters will brutally exploit this weakness unless IT moves aggressively to retitle or pay premiums for hot IT and business skills."
-- David Foote, CEO and chief research officer, Foote Partners
5. On Security Worries
"If 2007 was the year of encrypting laptops, 2008 will be the year of encrypting USB flash drives. These easily concealed devices are the preferred method for purloining data from corporate machines to noncorporate environments, and with their increases in speed and capacity, they will supplant laptops as the leading cause of security breaches."
-- Jay Cline, Minnesota Privacy Consultants (www.minnesotaprivacy.com) and a Computerworld.com columnist
6. On Energy Conservation
"With today's high-performance blade computers, a single 8-foot-high rack can draw as much as 20 kilowatts -- and take that much again for cooling. You'll need to find that electric company willing to give you a break if you locate right near the source, and you might reduce your computer operation costs enough to enjoy the river view."
-- Jerrold M. Grochow, vice president for information services and technology, MIT
7. On IT's Impact on Society
"IT will enable senior citizens to continue to live in their homes. Strategically placed monitors throughout the home will enable adult children to make sure their parents have not fallen or had another medical emergency. Other monitors will remind the seniors to take medicine, exercise or test blood pressure. Webcams will facilitate communications with family and friends."
-- Bart Perkins, managing partner, Leverage Partners Inc., and a Computerworld columnist
8. On Google's Future
"Google will get together with The Sims and Second Life to create a new online reality game. In this game, Google Earth will provide 3-D data feeds showing buildings and topography for actual cities and regions of the Earth to create virtual environments. The Sims will provide realistic populations to inhabit these environments, and Second Life will provide gamers with personal avatars to interact with other gamers in these worlds."
-- Michael Hugos, CIO at large and mentor, Center for Systems Innovation, and a Computerworld columnist