Gartner Inc. has released its latest 2009 Gartner Predicts reports that highlight areas of growth to aid in making major or minor IT decisions.

Top predictions refer to the use of cloud computing to deliver freedom of choice to businesses and consumers. Also, social styles of computing will be applied to enterprises. For 2009, Gartner predicts all strategic-planning will be affected by the conditions of a global economic downturn.

Extending the software as a service promise of last year, cloud computing is a major phenomenon of the coming year. While 2008 was a year of discovery for cloud computing, 2009 will be a year of experimentation, with high growth following during the next three years. Cloud computing affects a prediction in more than half of our reports, attesting to the broadness of this phenomenon and the depth of need to challenge assumptions and test whether the hype can live up to practicality.

Social computing continues to be a little-understood option for enterprises, but the growth of this style of collaboration is hard to deny. In fact, this subject may be the surprise area for growth throughout the year. In addition, context-aware computing and the growth of information both relate to more social styles of computing.

Recessions tend to be turning points in an economy that spawn new industries, the report says. Although the dot-com recession of 2001 flushed a number of overvalued companies that disappeared, Amazon, eBay and others continue to grow. Still, the research firm cautions that the effects of the recession won’t be fully known for years.

Gartner’s Predicts 2009 predictions span more than 40 market, topic and industry areas, highlighting trends ranging from cloud computing as a model for changing the cost equation in IT and business, to governance as a view into how efficiency can be gained, to energy and insurance industries' attempts to gain economic stability. More information is available at

Read Mark Smith’s recent blog about SaaS here.

Check out William Laurent’s take on social networking here.

We recently published an in-depth integration strategy for economic recovery here.

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