Here are some thoughts on 2009 -- I’d love to hear your thoughts – where am I right and where have I missed the bus?

  1. IT heads will be in the clouds: After so much hype on cloud computing in 2008, enterprises will start looking to leverage the benefits of the cloud. Or at least specific varieties of the cloud – the 2009 conversation will be a lot more nuanced around different cloud varieties. This is not an all or nothing move – IT feet will stay firmly planted on the ground. The cloud brings new capabilities to the IT toolbox and will be just part of the enterprise IT architecture strategy.
    1. The cloud will ultimately be visible at the top of every mountain of IT infrastructure. Some applications will remain on premise, others will move to the cloud, and many will span both cloud and on-premise.
    2. Isolated (incompatible) clouds will fail. Compatibility issues will slow adoption. Vendors trying to lock-in enterprises to a proprietary platform will be brought to earth.
  2. Virtualization on the move: Desktop virtualization continues to grow largely due to the conceptual appeal and simplicity of reusing the stand alone operating system combined with the real advantages of centralized, remote computing.
  3. Make it personal, BYOC: Citrix has been publicizing the Bring Your Own Computer as a replacement for the enterprise laptop. This will continue to gain momentum in 2009 and is a fantastic illustration of the power of cross-platform, universal interfaces, such as the Citrix Receiver and the humble web browser. It’s also a great illustration of modularity with maturing technologies (the PC) as raised by Clayton Christensen in the Innovators Dilemma.
  4. The desktop is here to stay: The major driver of IT change in our time has been the internet and the web. Some see the web displacing the notion of the personal computer desktop and have offered up desktop like experiences in browsers. This will not succeed. Local devices will remain important and the desktop operating system will remain at the contextual center of our computing experience.
  5. iPhone blazes the trail: The iPhone, Palm Pre, Blackberry Bold and the Android variants are bringing a new age of smart phones that will be popular with consumers and enterprise users. Key memes (1) Touch screens (2) iTunes-like application stores (3) Full web experience (4) Utility focus – trading off flexibility for ease of use – such as the iPhone’s restriction to running only one ‘user’ application at a time.
  6. SmartPhone and laptop converge: This is a longer term trend. Nevertheless, the rush toward smartphones, combined with the enthusiasm for (utility focused) Netbooks such as the Asus EEE, lead me to believe that the smartphone and the laptop will converge in many cases – enabled by the same technology that enables the BYOC trend – cross-platform, universal interfaces, such as the Citrix Receiver and the humble web browser. The Nirvana phone is only the beginning.