Will 2010 Be a Year for Reaping ROI on What IT Has Sown?

Loraine Lawson

My favorite tech prediction for 2010 came from Software AG's vice president and chief strategist, Miko Matsumura, as reported by ZDNet's Dennis Howlett:

"Nothing (much) will happen."

Maybe it's because I'm still not sure which way the economy is going to swing: Up, down or not at all. Maybe it's hype fatigue. Maybe it's that I'm tired from the holidays. Whatever the cause, I have to agree with Matsumura and Howlett: 2010 just doesn't feel like a big year for anything. In fact, it feels like a working year, a year to settle in and actually try to complete some of the big initiatives IT's been talking about for years.


That said, you never really know when someone's going to create something amazing, do you?


Still, almost all the predictions I've seen reflect this sense of settling in, focusing more on maturing than innovation. They include words like "finally," "becomes a reality" and "will see more of" -- in other words, the predictions predict a continuation of what we've already seen in 2009.


For instance, Informatica Chief Marketing Officer Chris Boorman predicts mergers and acquisitions will drive an "integration wave" in 2010. Mind you, it's still a good list of predictions, many of which most of us would love to see happen, including "The data-driven enterprise becomes a reality in 2010," and "Business users will finally recognize that they, not IT, must own data."


Another popular prediction, which I first saw on James Governor's Monkchips blog, seems to be that we'll see more "SOA without the SOA," meaning that there will be less struggle and focus on the tech of service-oriented architecture. SOA won't go away, Governor notes, but rather, "the componentisation of application suites into more modular services makes them far more amenable to Web-based integration."


Another popular no-brainer: Predictions about SaaS integration. Boorman actually had one of the more daring predictions in this regard, forecasting that cloud data integration would become more significant than security and availability, to become "the defining capability that drives cloud computing success." ReadWriteWeb also saw this as a big trend for 2010, adding "SaaS platforms in many ways may serve as replacements for intranets by providing better ways to connect the enterprise to the social Web."


There were also a lot of new twists on old trends, which are, to my mind, more interesting. I'm thinking in particular about David Linthicum's prediction that 2010 will be more about "data integration standards around vertical spaces," such as health, finance, and government. "Metadata and security standards will lead the way," he added.


To quote Ecclesiastes-or the Byrds, depending on your reference point -- "for everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." Rather than being a time for new investments and demanding more money for uncertain ventures, maybe 2010 will be a time for completing what we've started, and perhaps even reaping what we've sown. Maybe, just maybe, IT will actually deliver on those long-ago promised ROIs.


One can only hope.

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