These 5 industries will continue to be hot topics for 2009, which is going to be a very lean year for small, medium and large businesses. Tech spending will be tightened and budgets will be cut. If you are looking to increase productivity without spending more money, these 5 topics will certainly be on your to-do list.
1. Mobile devices
In a recent survey, executives said they would prefer the latest mobile device over the latest laptop. So when it comes between spending $500 or $3000, the choice is easy. We will see fierce competition between Applies iPhone and the Blackberry Bold and Storm, and news ones that have yet to reach the market.
In Canada, your choices are Apple’s iPhone 3G (3G/EDGE), Telus’ Blackberry (EVDO), or Rogers’ Blackberry (GPRS and EDGE). USA based customers will have similar options.
My only advice is to negotiate a good voice-and-data air time package!
2. SaaS and Cloud Computing
Large companies will review their large software implementation costs (both one time and subscription based) which means they will be under pressure to find smaller more flexible contracts, partially to ride out the recession.
That being said, companies will be forced to do more with less resources. People are expensive, and it will be sad to see layoffs, but companies are fighting to stay alive without government bailouts.
The upfront costs of expensive software coupled by server and network hardware and the people to support it will be bypassed by lower subscription based software solutions.
These 3 companies are only a handful that we’ll see make the news in 2009:
- Google Apps will provide office collaboration for email, documents and spreadsheets.
- Force.com will provide integration to your CRM or Help Desk software, and any other custom built requirements.
- While there are hundreds of small to medium business CRM products out there, Zoho is making huge gains outside the CRM market: Offering online office productivity suites at a fraction of the cost. Even free (remember, free is good)!
3. Web conference and Tele-conference.
With travel budgets being slashed, conferencing calling and web-collaboration will take off. I recently reviewed a variety of services, depending on your needs, and there were several suggestions of other companies in the comments that followed.
4. Go Green with Virtualization
People laugh when I tell them NT 4.0 Server is still being used. Many custom applications such as POS software were built on this archaic platform and the cost to migrate this to a Windows 2003 Server is just to costly, or even impossible. Until recently, even the Swedish home furnishing and furniture store IKEA was using NT 4.0 Terminal server.
The easiest and cheapest way to consolidate those old clunky servers is to convert them into VMWare or Microsoft Virtual servers.
Virtualization is another strong initiative to “go green” and save on power consumptions where possible, both energy input and the air conditioning that go along with it. Those old clunky servers have non-energy saver power supplies that draw a lot of unnecessary power, considering the usage.
5. WAN acceleration with Riverbed
WAN acceleration can be used in conjunction with web filtering devices like Barracuda and Microsoft ISA Server (or any other proxy server)
For offices in big cities, this is not a problem. However, in remote branch locations where your Internet connection is limited, it only makes sense to cache and compress repeated data.
Why web filtering devices? Because outgoing Internet traffic must also be monitored for security purposes. Of course, companies may decide to improve the employee’s productivity by blocking time wasters such as Facebook! But that would be really mean.