Looking back, not much changed this year. We are still working on the same products and technologies that we were at Christmas last year.
Sure, we have changed a few things around the edges. Some new things came along like wireless, VoIP, MPLS and the "sudden appearance" of Linux. But the reality is that these things haven't changed anybody's life, just bits of it.
If most of us are doing things exactly the same as last year, then next year is likely to be the same but a little different. I can see that the financial shadow cast by Y2K will start to lift and the financial leash will be loosened.
With a little more cash available, expect your business units or management to be talking to you about improving their IT capabilities. They will be under pressure from senior management to either improve productivity or increase market share in a low-growth economic environment. Smart companies are using their IT tools for competitive advantage (heard that before haven't you?).
This means that Linux and open-source software are going to continue "skunkworking" into your organizations. The key reason is that you can set up and move through to early deployment without cost. And if the proof of concept doesn't work, you can discontinue it without it having cost anything but some time wasted.
By the way, Dr Network dropped by for beer yesterday, and here are his predictions for next year…
- Security will continue to the MOST BORING issue, again and again and again...
- Wireless networking will be continue to be massively over-hyped because it's the only fun thing in the market.
- Performance doesn't matter anymore (thanks AMD!)
- Citrix/Terminal Server is not a very good idea. Everyone will finally work that out this year and begin using the Web.
- Security consultants are all sharks, smart sharks some of them, but still sharks.
- The Big Four won't be so big next year, because smaller companies deliver better results and actually know what they are talking about (instead of wearing shiny suits that bill in 6-minute intervals).
- HP will work it out, thus forcing Dell to change its model.
- IBM will keep doing whatever it is it does and not be challenged by anyone.
- Microsoft will be abused by just about everyone (except Fred Langa).
- Microsoft will continue to deserve it.