We asked six IT industry observers to offer their predictions for 2010 and to speculate on who will be the winners and losers in the coming year. Here are their thought-provoking responses.
Swamped by Personal Tech
PC sales in the corporate market have been very slow for some time. In fact, the average PC is nearly five years old. In the meantime, e-readers, smartphones, netbooks and consumer laptops have flooded into the market at aggressive price points. By the end of 2010, IT is likely to feel a bit overwhelmed by the growing number of employees at all levels who want help getting their personal tech to work with corporate resources.
-- Rob Enderle, principal analyst, Enderle Group
An End to Net Freebies
The Internet was a noncommercial environment for the first 30 years of its existence, establishing a core nonprofit ethic. 2010 will be the year this sort of "dumb" free will transition to "smart" free. Vendors will always have free "tastes," but they will increasingly position their best offerings behind caps, subscriptions and/or micropayments. Broadband services are likely to introduce caps of 50GB per month, after which extra charges will apply. Print media may first go bankrupt; then, eventually, the supply of high-quality content will be so restricted that users will gladly pay subscriptions.
-- Bo Parker, managing director of PricewaterhouseCoopers' Center for Technology and Innovation
We will see social networking fatigue, but savvy users will continue to use platforms to build their personal brands. For most people, updating Facebook gets tedious, and your "friends" really don't care which Hogwarts faculty member you are. Twitter takes a lot of work, although it can be a great personal brand-builder, with enough effort. LinkedIn is improving, mostly because of its Answers section; users can become well-regarded authorities in their subject areas by investing an hour or two per week posting thoughtful questions and responses. Plaxo? Please stop pestering me. You're too far down my social networking depth chart for me to spend any time with you.
-- Mike Dover, co-author of the upcoming book Wikibrands: How to Build a Brand in a Customer-Controlled Marketplace
Ten years ago, the privacy industry was booming. In 2010, we are on the cusp of having privacy voted off the "things we care about" island. Senior management will continue to be consumed by core issues of cost, value and brand differentiation. Sadly, the self-referential privacy community has not successfully translated its message into the language of business. More damaging to the long-term survivability of the privacy profession is the failure to understand and meaningfully engage the semi-nonexistent privacy concerns of next-generation leaders -- the millennials.
-- Thornton A. May, Computerworld columnist, longtime industry observer, management consultant and commentator
Slow to Staff Up
IT hiring will not pick up noticeably until late next year, and more likely 2011, despite GDP upturns and recovering stock prices in our nation's third straight year of economic instability. Expect the length of the tail on this staffing lag to be much longer than previous recoveries, with volatility punctuating IT pay levels and specialty skills demand as employers struggle to recalibrate their IT workforces by striking the right balance between costs, agility and intense competitive market pressures -- which is a moving target.
-- David Foote, CEO and chief research officer, Foote Partners LLC