So, 2009: the year of global economic meltdown, bonus backlash and Twitter. This 140-character phenomenon has become a national obsession. Everyone from cricketers to cadets is involved, competing for followers and sharing their pearls of wisdom with the collective crowd. I liken it to the noisy rooks that frequent my garden at the moment - competing loudly for attention and leaving me wishing I had a shotgun to hand.
That's not to say Twitter doesn't have value. It is completely of the moment - spontaneous and often random. In many ways it is the antithesis of email, which has now become the primary way for people to organise themselves. On email, everything is stored, tucked away in individual filing systems, neatly labelled and ordered. Not so on Twitter.
Contrary to popular thinking (led by a professor at the University of Kent) email is definitely not dead. In fact, the explosion in social networking has meant that email is more popular than ever as most social networks rely on email to update users.
In fact, right now, email is killing off another antiquated technology - the file share. More and more of us now use email as our primary filing system and woe betide the CIO who insists on a 50MB mailbox limit these days - he will be condemning his workforce to endless archiving and deleting.
But the future does not lie in either Twitter or email - in fact it will be a combination of the two and much more besides. What we are likely to see is each of these technologies effectively replaced at the front end by a much more intuitive interface - one that gives you access to instant messaging, social networks and email and allows you to choose the most appropriate way to communicate based on a particular situation. Such an interface will make e-discovery and archiving much more important as that single interface will be a doorway to a huge information repository.
This year was also the year of Windows 7, for which I am eternally grateful. Living with Vista was like having an extra (and particularly uncooperative) teenager in the house: highly unpredictable and the cause of huge amounts of emotional stress.
The launch of Windows 7 was a significant step in one of the major trends we will see in 2010 and beyond - technology simplification. This is true both from a business and a consumer perspective.
It was a tough year for the CIO and one that he or she will be glad to see the back of. It has been particularly difficult to please the customer (generally, in this case, the board) because of the opposite pulls of improving ‘customer satisfaction' and keeping the budget moving in a downward direction. Twas ever thus, you might think and you are probably right, but this year the pressure has been particularly intense.
What has added extra spice during the year has been outsourcing's fall from grace. Going outside the business was once seen as the only way to keep costs down and service levels up, but a recession tends to make those in charge want to retain control rather than relinquish it.
All the signs seem to indicate that next year will be easier for the CIO - Gartner, for instance, predicts that wordwide IT spend will grow 3.3 per cent to $3.3 trillion (£1.9 trillion) in 2010. But I think the lesson that will be learnt from 2009 in boardrooms across the land is that the focus has to be on both efficiency and agility - and that is where virtualisation will come in to play.
Virtualisation may also prove itself to be the long-awaited first step on the path to widespread adoption of cloud computing, but even that is still a considerable leap for many. For cloud to become a reality for the majority of businesses the industry must pull together. If we get it right it could become the thing that makes IT truly an enabler in the eyes of the business. Get it wrong and, as an industry, IT will have missed a huge opportunity.
Over Christmas I think the toughest place for the average CIO to be was at home. I used to relish my role as IT guru and helpdesk for friends and family - showcasing my knowledge and maintaining an air of impenetrable authority on the mysteries of the PC/mobile/wireless hub et cetera. Now, however, the domestic CEO (my nine-year-old daughter) has gone and got tech-savvy, and as a result is demanding better SLAs and currently writing her own domestic IT strategy.