IDC Canada Ltd. recently revealed its top 10 technology predictions for 2010.
1. Next year will be the year of the private cloud. Most IT managers have already begun to offer service-oriented IT delivery to employees, but vendors will increasingly make available capabilities to further push those private cloud initiatives like consolidation, virtualization, automation and transformation solutions, said Vito Mabrucco, senior vice-president of Toronto-based IDC Canada Ltd.'s worldwide consulting practice.
2. Wireless service providers will take advantage of the growing popularity of the new 3.5G broadband to tap into the wireline Internet market. Expect a fundamental shift in how users behave with the capability to use high-speed Web access anywhere and anytime, said Mabrucco. "It could be a huge unmet market need," he said. Providers with no wireless play will be at a disadvantage.
3.The data centre market will continue to heat up as 2010 will be the time of great investments, said Mabrucco. Technologies like converged infrastructures will simplify provisioning and re-provisioning of applications. "Vendors will fight to grab a larger piece of the data centre pie," he said. There will be a focus on storage that is smarter, but not necessarily bigger in capacity, as organizations demand storage solutions that add value like deduplication, rather than just adding capacity.
4. Rationalizing of the banking system will happen in earnest in 2010, although it has been predicted for several years now. IDC thinks maintaining bank branches is a dying approach. Customers want personalized contacts available anytime and anyplace based on social networking habits.
5. Service delivery is a rising concern for the public sector and will drive investment in key areas like customer relationship management, mobility and information management. But Mabrucco warns that such enterprise-wide initiatives are difficult for government because of internal politics.
6. There will be a blurring of lines between how enterprises and small-to-medium size businesses approach technology spending. SMBs will start to rely less on factors like vendor marketing and brand when making core technology purchases. This will, in turn, cause IT vendors to move away from the traditional "soft brand pitch" to SMBs, said Mabrucco. This shift in SMB behaviour reflects a growing understanding of IT on business performance, he said.
7. The world of outsourcing will see a shift towards consumption-based services like cloud and utility computing as organizations start seeking alternative outsourcing models based on software-as-a-service. There will be a greater use of utility-based services integrated into larger outsourcing arrangements.
8. Next year will be a turning point for the software industry, as the recession has caused a decline in licence revenue for vendors. Major vendors like Oracle Corp., SAP AG, and IBM Corp. have changed their maintenance licensing to make up for the decline, but that will be just a short-term boost, said Mabrucco. Vendors will continue to struggle. Software-as-a-service will become mainstream for some applications.
9. There will be a rising demand for mobility and portability in the personal device market. The Canadian consumer smart phone market will continue to grow. Vendors will respond to IT managers' need for management tools for increasingly complex mobile devices.
10. While new media tools are still largely in the early adopter stage in Canadian businesses, 2010 will be the year those early adopters begin to formalize their use of new media and align it with business strategy, said Mabrucco. New entities will enter the market like brand-tracking companies.
Magdy Assem, senior director of Hewlett-Packard Co.'s enterprise business solutions, said that while IT spend has been on the decline in the last 18 months, CIOs in 2010 will start to spend in three key areas:
1. Predictability and flexibility. The converged infrastructure does away with traditionally segregated server, network and storage components, such that IT managers can dial up or dial down depending on infrastructure need with minimal disruption. "It is not a new infrastructure, it's growing what you already have in place," said Assem.
2. Line of sight: CIOs need technology to "help them harness the power of information" because that enables differentiation, said Assem. They will focus on areas like business insight, data protection, information governance.
3. Application transformation: Too much IT spend is allocated towards maintaining applications and new grads aren't familiar with legacy apps. So CIOs will start looking at their existing application portfolio and identifying what needs to be upgraded, retired and modernized, said Assem.
Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @Kathleen Lau