Tech Industry Experts Weigh in on Predictions for 2009

by Ostatic Staff - Jan. 21, 2009

The Open Source Alliance (OSA) published its Annual Predictions Survey this week. It serves up the opinions of business leaders about Obama's impact on IT, where they think the technology market is headed, and why it's a bad idea to put projects on hold until the economy turns around.

The survey asked the CEOs of several companies around the world to look ahead at various issues near and dear to the hearts of the people within the tech sector and open source community. Respondents were asked to predict one software winner and loser in the year ahead, and also think about what kinds of business models are likely to emerge in the coming months.

Anthony Gold, VP & GM of Open Source Business at Unisys, says he expects the new presidential administration to favorably impact the IT industry because President Barack Obama clearly understands the importance of technology.

"There is no question that Obama's administration is already having an impact on IT," Gold tells OStatic. "The commitments it has already made to this important area have the industry buzzing. And, frankly, we see his commitment to IT infrastructure as important as the investments his administration suggests they will make in physical infrastructure such as bridges and highways. IT underpins every industry and touches every citizen. I believe much benefit can be gained by working with open source software and open standards, particularly around cost savings and agility. Only with open source and open standards can his vision for IT be realized."

Gold says it's the ongoing need for cost savings and agility that will position Software as a Service (SaaS) as a key emerging technology in the coming year. "More companies will be looking for easily accessible, self-service software that they can pay for as they go - and use anywhere they need. We've already seen the benefits of this model, but in a year where budgets are tight and creativity by business managers is paramount, we expect SaaS to explode," he predicts.

If SaaS is where it's at for enterprise, Brian Gentile, CEO of Jaspersoft, says tools that provide a consistent experience between home and work computing will emerge victorious as winning business models in 2009. Gentile tells OStatic,"We are soon entering an era where 'digital natives' will outnumber 'digital immigrants,' as the baby boomer population retires in larger numbers each year and younger workers replace them. This transition ushers in significant new responsibilities in software development as younger workers' expectations for software behavior is meaningfully different than the older workers' they replace. Couple this demographic shift with the on-going business needs for greater efficiency, reduced costs, and increased productivity and the stage is set for aged, proprietary software architectures to fall quickly out of favor. Clearly, human interface techniques, software interaction models, and methods of accessing software will change dramatically (and have already begun to). The software creators that understand how to deliver simple, compelling, purely web-based user experience will gain traction and those that do not will lose traction.

"In short, gone is the day when a knowledge worker expects to attend several days of training to learn a new software application or tool. Instead, the software must seamlessly fit in to their mental model and methods of working."

Full results of the survey are available on the OSA's Web site or as a PDF download.