Juicy predictions for '09

Industry pundits offer insights into the year ahead

A group of industry pundits offer their boldest predictions for the companies, technologies and trends that will have a prosperous 2009 -- and those that won't. (And take a look back at last year's predictions to see if the experts hit the mark.)

The winners

"Dell will make a comeback. Its stock has been overpunished by the stock market downturn. Michael Dell is back on the case, and they are re-engaging with the idea of customers helping to make the product. That should help Dell avoid lower margins and excess inventory." -- Mike Dover, vice president of syndicated research, nGenera Corp. Canada, Toronto

"The biggest technology winners in 2009 will be cloud computing, SaaS and technologies that enable companies to integrate cloud computing and SaaS into their existing in-house IT infrastructures. Businesses will be pushed to find ways to add new applications and functionality to their existing suite of systems, but they will need to do so faster and with less money." -- Michael Hugos, Computerworld columnist, CIO at large and mentor, Center for Systems Innovation, Chicago

"Apple will be a big winner in 2009 with products such as the iPhone and the Mac. With Exchange integration built into the iPhone and promised for the Snow Leopard release of OS X, Apple is poised to make some strong business inroads." -- Michael Gartenberg, Computerworld columnist and vice president of mobile strategy at Jupitermedia Corp.

"SaaS will go from being a niche technology to a preferred way of buying technology. Why? Management has slashed capital budgets, dramatically reducing funds for capital expenditures. As subscription-based services, SaaS platforms generally offer low upfront costs and monthly payment options." -- Judith Hurwitz, industry analyst and co-author of SOA for Dummies

"The big brains coming out of universities will be used once again for good, not evil. By evil, I mean hedge funds. Over the past five years, it hasn't been only the best finance grads going into hedge funds, but some of the best mathematicians, physics and life science grads, all trying to develop killer financial instruments. Society will be the winner here." -- Mike Dover, vice president of syndicated research, nGenera

"Challenging economic times such as today create strong opportunities for innovation. Expect to see significant new disruptive capabilities emerge from technology companies -- both in products and services -- and interesting new ways of doing business resulting from this economic crisis. Organizations that focus on being well-run companies and maximizing enterprise efficiencies may well discover that they can deliver more value with fewer resources and thrive in the global economy." -- Eric Openshaw, vice chairman and U.S. technology leader, Deloitte LLP

"Winners: Companies that have an agile-fixed vs. variable-cost IT financial model. Typical companies have only 36% variable IT expense, and that is usually their people. They might take out half of that, but for many companies, that simply won't be enough and is the wrong place to cut. Sell-side winners are those that supply flexible services on a variable-cost basis." -- Howard Rubin, Rubin Systems Inc., Gartner senior adviser, MIT CISR associate

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