Enough, already, with technology predictions for 2009. \u00a0\u00a0I mean, right now, what do these really have to do with your business or your industry?\u00a0Fact is, most research advice is heavily influenced by vendors. For researchers like Gartner (and I'm not picking on them; they all do business the same way), this is sort of a high-tech Ponzi scheme.\u00a0 The researchers get paid by the technology suppliers for doing research on their products or their customers and they get paid by the consumers who purchase the research.\u00a0 And then the researchers use this revenue to market themselves to attract more of each.\u00a0 Okay, it's not a true Ponzi scheme, but you get the point. As long as the researchers benefit financially (and directly) from the vendors, can you really trust what they're telling you?\u00a0So here are Gartner's top 10 strategic technologies for 2009, defined as having the "potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years":\u00a0\u00a0\u00a01.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Virtualization2.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Cloud computing3.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Servers (beyond blades) 4.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Web oriented architectures5.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Enterprise mashups6.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Specialized systems7.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Social software \/ networking8.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Unified communications\u00a09.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Business intelligence\u00a010.\u00a0 Green IT.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0What's changed in the Gartner predictions from a year ago? \u00a0Not much.\u00a0Gartner removed "computing fabric" and added "cloud computing." (I'd guess that those who bought into Grid computing the last couple of years are now approaching the cloud hype with some trepidation.) \u00a0I found it odd that Green IT moved from the top spot to the bottom. \u00a0There were a few other minor changes.\u00a0So I wondered \u2026 what changed in the Gartner predictions from 2007 to 2008? \u00a0\u00a0Almost everything.\u00a0 \u00a0The web 2.0 focus was still there, as was social networking, but the previous focus on user interfaces . . . \u00a0gone.\u00a0 The focus on mobile and location-aware computing . . . gone.\u00a0\u00a0So what does hype have to do with this? \u00a0\u00a0You see, most of the "strategic technologies for 2008" are also coincidentally at the top of the Gartner hype cycle (a model introduced by Gartner Group in 1995). \u00a0The hype cycle says that interest in a new technology enters a phase of "excited speculation about all the benefits new technology will offer" which eventually reaches a peak of "inflated expectations."\u00a0\u00a0 This is followed by a cold, hard "trough of disillusionment."\u00a0 Eventually some practical business applications emerge \u2013 but which business applications, leveraging what technology, is hard to say.\u00a0Placing technology bets early in the hype cycle is a risky proposition.\u00a0 Doing so as we face an economic crisis of epic proportions is even riskier. Before you follow the hype, consider how your priorities have changed, how your staffing levels have changed, how your risk tolerance has changed, how your budgets have changed. If your business is like most others, just about everything has changed . . . except Gartner's advice.\u00a0\u00a0Here are my hype-free top 5 predictions for IT in 2009:\u00a01.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Companies will implement cost cutting measures in 2009 that will provide fast payback and that are transparent to IT operations \u2013 with significant gains coming from facilities optimization.\u00a02.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Open source enterprise software will continue to displace expensive royalty-based and seat license-based services.\u00a03.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 There will be a well publicized cloud computing disaster in 2009 \u2013 probably linked to security, reliability or service restoration delays.4.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Facing slumping sales, many technology suppliers will try to increase revenue by raising their service fees and trying to force their clients to upgrade to new hardware and software.5.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Companies that have been investing heavily in Gartner "Top 10" recommendations will put many of those projects on hold in the face of budget cuts and business pressure for a faster ROI accomplished with fewer resources.\u00a0\u00a0 My advice is to ignore the hype. Beware of false prophets.\u00a0 And be wise with your budget in 2009. As always, thank you for sending comments, tips and topic suggestions to me at CIOblog@TransitionalData.com._________________________________ Michael Bullock is the founder and CEO of Transitional Data Services (TDS), a consulting firm helping clients implement energy saving green data center solutions, data center relocations, web based enterprise applications and 24\/7 technical operations.