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Green computing, quality control to take center stage in 2008

The Standish Group issued its annual predictions, which according to tradition include some wacky thoughts about future innovations. Top on its list: green computing.

Potential new career paths for IT professionals in 2008 include director of environmental control, IT contracts manager and a new type of CIO that will act more like a chief procurement officer -- and issues of quality and green computing will be at the fore, according to The Standish Group. The Boston-based project management consultancy recently issued its annual predictions, which according to Standish tradition, include some wacky and far-out thoughts about future innovations and industry happenings.

If you're sending [development] overseas, you need to do more quality control than ever before.
Jim Johnson
ChairmanThe Standish Group

Now that Al Gore has copped the Nobel Prize for his environmental efforts, will green computing pick up steam? Standish predicts IT will invest in green computing to both save costs and energy and "get a green star." According to Jim Crear, Standish CIO, vendors pushing green computing "are getting to the CFOs before they get to IT. IBM and HP are preaching green. You will find more of us will be pushed to move in that direction, as not just a tactical plan but as a strategic plan."

Accordingly, Standish Chairman Jim Johnson said to look for eco-management as a new track for IT professionals. "This is a new job inside IT that will start to get some play; you'll start to see directors of environmental control. I think it will have some good life over the next few years. It will be an interesting career path for lot of IT people looking to move in different directions."

So can solar-powered laptops, cell phones and PDAs be far behind? Standish says to keep an eye out for some prototypes, perhaps by 2009.

Quality will be getting a lot of emphasis in 2008, particularly around outsourcing. "If you're sending [development] overseas, you need to do more quality control than ever before," Johnson said, "whether it's automatic or manual inspection, using QA tools. There will be more emphasis on making sure it's working properly, so there's [quality] jobs, products and services."

Standish also predicts two new job tracks to emerge from this quality push, manager of IT contracts and a new kind of CIO. This new CIO will be more like a chief procurement officer for IT-related services with a small staff that will manage contractors and suppliers, gather and manage user requirements, and resolve major issues. Johnson said the CTO, Chief Network and Management Officer, Director of the Project Management Office, and the Office of Business Analysis will all report to this new CIO.

What's hot; what's not
Hot jobs in 2008 will be in the areas of business analysis, business intelligence and QA. Hot markets will be around green, Google and VMware/virtualization, according to Standish.

Cold markets, according to Standish, will be anything Microsoft, SAP and other ERP providers, application servers, middleware, and application development and lifecycle management tools. The push toward data center consolidation will mean fewer operations jobs, and outsourcing will tighten the job market for U.S. application developers.

And, with tongue only somewhat planted in cheek, Standish predicts the following will happen:

  • Cell phone talkers will be the new smokers -- more no-cell-phones zones will emerge in business and public areas.
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  • Sybase will be BEA's white knight, fending off another Oracle play for BEA. "The two presidents get along pretty well, they both have fairly good size egos, and a merger would satisfy that," Johnson said.

  • Sun will break up into two companies, with Oracle getting the software and an Asian-based hardware maker getting the hardware.

  • Verizon has iPhone envy and will make a play for the BlackBerry.

  • Macs will make headway in the business computing arena.

  • The data-center-in-a-container concept will start to get traction.

  • A chip will be embedded in the back of the skull that will give GPS directions directly to the brain to eliminate GPS visualization traffic accidents. It's a built-in back seat driver.

OK, even Standish admits that last one is pretty far out. But according to Johnson, the Standish predictions, which started years ago as a spoof, often end up falling into the "truth is stranger than fiction" category. And they did call the Red Sox right last year.

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