Tech Industry Trends 2010: A Year of Guarded Hope

SaaS, one of the many cloud-based services out there, will see adoption speed up considerably in 2010, even among big companies, Carr says. He expects corporate use of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (another flavor of cloud computing in which the buyer relies on equipment owned by the service provider) and Platform-as-a-Service (IaaS with a software development framework on top of that) also will grow, though at a slower pace since these types of services tend to be used to augment, rather than replace, existing in-house resources.

"What surprised me is how rapidly companies have at least embraced the idea of cloud computing, even if they're not rushing to invest in it," Carr says. "Even a year ago, and certainly two years ago, it wasn't considered a serious option by most companies. Today it really is on the agenda."

Hologic's Rudzinsky is getting ready. His teams have put a lot of time and effort into cost-cutting projects such as centralizing IT infrastructure, rationalizing enterprise applications and consolidating IT vendors. "Those kinds of things are really important to try to keep the shop under control," he says. The next logical step is to tap the cloud.

In 2010 he plans to explore more outsourcing and managed services opportunities with an eye toward "keeping what's core to the business in IT and getting rid of the rest." For instance, it may be time to turn over applications such as ERP and CRM to an outside provider.

"We host those things today, but we're looking to move them out of our data center into someone else's data center. We want this capacity on demand. I want to be able to say, 'Hey, we've got a really busy time coming up, you need to make sure you're allocating more processing power, memory, and disk for me,'" Rudzinsky says. "That will take away some of the big chores that we have today and allow us to focus on things that will provide business value."

That's what the new normal requires: judicious use of sparse resources.

Yes, budgets are tight and staffs are lean. But barring an economic relapse, IT is poised to move forward on projects that portend big changes in IT service delivery. Thrift and innovation don't have to be mutually exclusive.

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