2008 Baseline Crystal Ball
Lawrence M. Walsh, Editor
Line of business managers and operations officers will wrestle more control of the IT purchase decision-making process away from IT, as they look for applications and technologies that increase the value of their business and open new revenue and profit opportunities. Reducing cost won't be enough to justify investments in new technology. Businesses will also look to extend the life of their existing infrastructure.
David F. Carr, Technology Editor
Virtualization adoption will continue to accelerate, but still only penetrate a fraction of the potential market. Some Microsoft-heavy enterprises will delay virtualization investments in anticipation of the new and improved Microsoft Virtual Server expected in late 2008. Variations on the virtualization theme will also begin to become more important on the enterprise desktop, particularly if vendors can make good on the promise to simplify desktop application management.
Deborah Gage, Senior Writer
In the wake of massive data compromises, such as the 94 million credit card records exposed by the TJX hack and the 26 million veterans' records exposed by the Department of Veterans Affairs policy violation, consumers and advocate groups will push for greater federal regulation that compels companies to better protect personal identifying data. Watch for national versions of California's SB 1386 data breach disclosure law and a federal version of PCI security mandates.
Doug Bartholomew, Senior Writer
Salesforce.com and NetSuite hacked out the trail for the software-by-the-rink concept. But now the big boys are on board-particularly SAP, with its September 2007 launch of SAP Business ByDesign. Aimed at companies with 500 employees or fewer, SAP's SaaS offering provides the flexibility to modify functionality as business grows and demands changes. With another year of less than 5 percent growth predicted for IT budgets, the SaaS model will expand rapidly in 2008.
Mel Duvall, Contributing Editor
The car insurance industry will take business intelligence to a new level by expanding "pay as you go" policies. Norwich Union has polices based on where, when and how policyholders drive. Safeco is combining the power of GPS technology with automated alert services to track where and how teenagers are driving, both for policy coverage purposes and parental control. The concept is akin to the targeted behavioral marketing being developed by Google, Yahoo and others. Watch for more services to follow in these models.
Laton McCartney, Contributing Editor
As regulations concerning carbon emissions and power grids increase, a rising number of corporations will have to transition to green data centers. Interactive marketing will grow at a compound rate of greater than 25 percent. And subprime lending problems will lead to major consolidation in the banking industry.