It’s December, so it’s the time of year when everyone is reviewing the year and making predictions about the following year – so I thought I would too. See whether you agree with me, or whether I’ve missed any important trends in 2008.
Firstly, the biggest trend in 2008 was money disappearing! You thought your house was worth X amount of money in January, and by December it is worth X-Y. Money has disappeared. And so have some banks! And, of course, banks are the biggest business group to use mainframes. I had a friend who reckoned that you could tell how well business was going in general by attending exhibitions and seeing what companies were giving away free. During the good times you always got something in a box as well as a pen. In the bad times you were lucky to get a pen! I haven’t acquired many things from vendors at all this year. There is a corollary to this law, which states that the last thing a company will do before going bust is give away promotional items – mousemats with their name on, noteholders, keyrings, etc.
Sadly, 2009 seems likely to continue this trend. Governments are talking about spending money to keep their economies going, but car makers know that they will sell fewer vehicles because people will wait perhaps an extra year before buying a replacement. And I bet many organizations that planned to upgrade their mainframe, to perhaps a new z10, are going to do the same and try to put off the purchase for as long as possible. The IT department are going to have to make a very compelling case in order to win the argument. And this is going to impact IBM’s and other hardware manufacturer’s figures. Incidentally, mainframe software vendor Iona, one of last year’s sponsors of the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook, has been taken over by Platinum and almost completely disappeared from view as a separate entity.
At the little end, it’s been reported that many organizations were reluctant to roll out Vista, and it is quite likely that many people will have to make do with their old computer for another year because there is still no money in the budget for new ones – and besides, Windows 7 is just around the corner!
My next two big trends were also the trends last year – they have just grown in importance. They are being green and virtualization. Looking at virtualization, any company with more than a few servers is going to be able to make the business case for virtualization. And, as well as having servers virtualized, I bet in 2009 we see more virtualized laptops. It’s so easy to do, that you don’t have to be the nerdy kid anymore.
And greenness will become so much more important. Not because people want to save the planet or measure they’re reducing their carbon footprint, no, it will be important because it saves money – and consequently all those environmental things. Corporate Web sites and brochures will push the greening of their company, but the truth is the drivers will come from the CFO not the CGO (Chief “Green” Officer), should such a role exist.
I also predict a growth in outsourcing. The financial savings that some organizations will be able to achieve will outweigh the inconveniences sometimes experienced.
And, I predict the growth in Open Source software! Yes, I know I’ve been wishful thinking this for a number of years, but I think with finances becoming so tight, more and more people will opt out of paying £600 or $1000 for software and use a free alternative. Now whether that’s Open Office or Web-based equivalent that looks like a desktop application because it runs inside Google Chrome, I don’t know.
And lastly, mash-ups everywhere. Even, dare I say it, mainframe data being included in mash-ups on corporate Web sites for the benefit of customers(!) and not just the techie guys who wanted to try it out.
So there we are, a review of 2008 and predictions for 2009. What do you think?