One of the first signs that we are in the bleak midwinter is that journalists and PRs about to hibernate in the nearest pub for a couple of weeks publish a list highlighting stuff that happened in the year nearly over or stuff that will happen in the year about to start. Actually, make that might happen.
So I'm predicting you won't be surprised to see yet another set of predictions for 2009; but wait, what we've done here is a bit more clever. Rather than just write our own list (and we will do that too, I predict) we've put together a poll of polls from our mailbox to come up with something with a patina of scientific research. So without further ado, here is the CIO Predictions List of Lists.
5. Business continuity planning will stay solid. OK so this is the view of Crisis Survivor ("launched in June 2007 to supply Business Continuity Planning services both to and via the professions and the insurance industry") but at least it's a feasible argument. After all, tightrope walkers don't dispense with the net just because times are tough, do they? So, citing citing research by Continuity Central, Crisis Survivor notes that 57 per cent of respondents believe the credit crunch will have no impact on business continuity planning in their organisation, and 19 per cent plan to spend more. Crisis Survivor might be overegging it a bit with its press release headline suggesting that continuity plans "will strengthen with recession in 2009" but it's a fair guess to say that few will be pulling the plug, and that some will be more risk-averse than ever.
4. Virtual desktops and mobile devices will be everywhere in 2009. Nebulas Solutions Group might be trying it on a bit by suggesting that "the virtual desktop will become a reality in 2009", especially given that it styles itself as a "security, acceleration and virtualisation specialist" but having started a revolution on the server, it's more than likely that the virtualisation effect will next be applied to desktops, especially given the low levels of take-up on Windows Vista and the hiatus before Windows 7. And, after the desktop, storage and network virtualisation should follow. Similarly, the success of the iPhone, latest BlackBerries, Asus Eee PC et al suggests that the world is turning away from fixed desktops in favour of mobile working. As Burton Group says:
"The continued dominance of the iPhone and G1 results in increased recognition by corporations that this is a trend that can't be ignored -- both for new business, and for internally focused use. The functionality gap closes so quickly between a laptop and a handheld, that bring-your-own-device policies start to become a simplification technique for most companies, personalizing the handheld to desktop market."
3. Budgets will be flatter than a flat thing. Official analyst forecasts may still be pointing to rises of a few per cent on 2009 IT budgets but that's only because those projections were devised before the full horror of the credit plague year was known. Even in fields of activity where you might expect funding hotspots, nobody is expecting generous donations. Take this from John Colley, MD of security certification body ISC2, for example:
"One prediction I can make with an almost 100 per cent degree of certainty is that our budgets are unlikely to grow significantly ... There will also be more consolidation in the security field. Instead of multiple boxes each carrying out a single function, we will see these functions being consolidated into single boxes. Budget pressures will make this more urgent as the credit crunch is reflected in security budgets."
2. Networks will be squeezed like lemons. There's a price to be paid for all of that shunting video and audio around the network as the pipe in and out of the enterprise becomes the new bottleneck. Arbor Networks  says that a perfect storm of smartphones, videoconferencing and credit-squeezed carriers will lead to a sort of bandwidth crunch. They might be right, you know.
1. Everyone moves to the cloud. Or maybe that should be 'talks about the cloud'. Ovum says services will focus on cloud opportunities because "Cloud Computing can encompass and potentially disrupt 'traditional' models of infrastructure and applications outsourcing, third-party managed services and SaaS-powered services. Cloud Computing is quickly becoming one of the most competitive markets in all of IT as services firms attempt to leverage these technologies and others to deliver new value-added services to the market." They won't be the only ones.