Dec 31

psychicHere’s ten things I predict we’ll see in the IT/computing industry in 2010 (and yes, I’m biased about some given the world we live in at JumpBox):

  1. Self-healing applications become commonplace: We’ll see the rise of preventative and predictive technologies that fix problems in applications before they become fatal. Monitoring systems can already intelligently scale computing resources allocated to an application by detecting when it’s hitting a resource wall. But beyond this capability we’ll see a new set of tools arise that automatically intercedes and conducts repairs on the fly by reverting to a snapshot of the app and re-injecting data. This won’t be for financial applications and mission critical apps but it will happen for apps that need high availability with data that’s “good enough.” The net effect will be that the apps are perceived as being more stable when in reality the real hero is this adaptive repair technology behind the scenes.
  2. “Brick laying” in IT gets commoditized and the IT admin’s focus returns to architecture: By “brick laying” I mean the tedious, manual processes of maintaining and provisioning applications on the network. Virtual appliances deployed on private clouds will free admins from the menial chores of wedging the next PHP app onto an existing server and enable them to focus on proactive rather than reactive pursuits. Some admins will fear obsolescence and seek job security by keeping practices esoteric and arcane but the smart ones will realize their craft is merely shifting to the more interesting duty of architect with a focus on how to leverage things like virtualization and cloud computing to keep users happy.
  3. Balkanization of non-critical IT systems in the enterprise: We’ll see the proliferation of small, rogue collaborative applications in the enterprise. This will stem mainly from the frustration of being shackled by the company’s monolithic enterprise collaboration system. As self-serve deployment of collaborative apps becomes more feasible for non-technical folks the do-it-yourselfers will circumvent IT altogether and implement the apps that make their jobs easier. These transient, project-specific apps will blossom, serve their short-lived purpose and then vanish without ever involving IT. The more territorial admins will see this as chaos and try to retain control while the enlightened ones will realize that non-critical app governance is merely being pushed out to the edges where it belongs.
  4. Someone successfully addresses data interoperability amongst SaaS and local apps: As these silo’d supporting applications sprout up both inside and outside the firewall, it becomes important to have a way to share and manipulate data amongst them. Technologies for deploying the apps will have made them trivial to deploy but the connective tissue like REST and SOAP APIs will still be way too technical for the layperson to use. ETL (data Extraction, Transformation, Loading) products like Jitterbit, Talend and Snaplogic will put more control in the hands of the business user and empower them to do useful things with the data from these disparate apps. Laypeople will be able to snap together data streams like lego blocks and make the things they need without involving a developer. The intuitiveness of the IDE for the lego-building apps will be paramount and a superior UI will emerge and become THE way it’s done (making one of those ETL companies a boatload of money). The other piece of the puzzle will be the presentation layer for consuming the data from these ETL apps. You’ll see more press releases like this one in which the presentation/collaboration product companies join forces with the ETL companies under the realization that peanut butter and chocolate just taste better together.
  5. Minority/Majority shift between desktop apps and web apps: I don’t have the current figures on desktop vs. web application usage (and I’m too lazy to look them up) but we’ll see a majority of one’s work conducted via the browser. This has been a trend in progress for some time but 2010 is the year that the perfect storm occurs where: connectivity improves sufficiently such that latency is negligible, web apps interfaces match the usability of desktop apps, there becomes a critical mass web-based alternatives for all former desktop-only apps and the ubiquity of access becomes crucial as necessitated by remote workers and telecommuting requirements.
  6. Trials become the new black: The traditional practice for ISV’s promoting a white paper that then promotes the download of their software will be replaced by landing pages that offer immediate trials right in the browser. The advent of mechanisms for delivering a fast & convenient hands-on experience will remove friction from the sales process. There will no longer be that step where the vendor needs to convince prospective users to expend energy to download & install software for the purpose of investigation.
  7. Social networking fatigue sets in and blogging sees a resurgence: People will get burnt out on the barrage of micro-updates from services like Facebook and Twitter and divert their precious thought cycles to fewer sources that serve as “lenses” and provide more depth. Twitter and FB will continue to experience insane growth and conversations will still occur via those channels but people will feel their mojo zapped and rediscover the .
  8. A major privacy breech casts doubt over enterprise use of SaaS for critical data: Cybercriminals will become more advanced and we’ll see a major breach of a high-profile SaaS provider like Salesforce. This will create a backlash that staunches the migration of IT operations to SaaS providers. The press will scream that the sky is falling, middle managers in IT will read articles and regurgitate headlines to CIO’s who will look for alternatives that deliver the same convenience factor of SaaS whilst satisfying the need to run on-premise. And JumpBox will be there to deliver ;-)
  9. Open Source gains mainstream acceptance: The stereotype of crappy UI’s and hard-to-use software will be gradually shed as apps like WordPress continue to deliver kickass user experience and win a huge number fans. Proprietary app vendors will cry, spread FUD and cling to a receding coastline only to see it inexorably washed away by OSS. There will still be a place for proprietary apps around niche situations but one by one the OSS substitutes for things like CMS’s and ERP systems will overpower their proprietary counterparts.
  10. An as-of-yet-to-be-discovered use of mobile phones becomes huge: In the mobile space companies will continue to build stuff nobody really wants (ie. ways to get spammed with location-specific coupons as you walk by a Starbucks). Meanwhile in a basement somewhere a small team will conceive and develop a killerapp for mobile that’s actually useful (either a consumer-facing app or a data mining app that’s sold to service providers). In the consumer space perhaps it’s a convenient 3-factor security mechanism that ensures your laptop can only be accessed when your bluetooth phone is with a few feet? Or maybe a clever way to facilitate ad hoc carpools amongst participants? On the data analysis side it may be a way for the CDC to model the spread of an epidemic via cell phones or a service for municipalities to do more intelligent traffic routing based on cell activity.

Do you agree or disagree with any of these? Do you have any predictions of your own you can share?
If you want more to ponder Read Write Web has some insightful predictions from its contributors. Here’s to computing awesomeness in 2010!

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