Industry leaders and watchers are bullish on the IT industrys continued comeback, with software development the leading driver of innovation.
"Things are definitely getting better. The 20 companies I follow are growing and getting multimillion-dollar contracts," John Taysom, founder and managing partner at RVC Capital Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said here two weeks ago at the companys SoftEdge conference.
"The biggest opportunity truly is in software," said a CIO for a major financial services company, who asked not to be identified. He said his company spends up to $3 billion a year on IT.
"Demand seems to be increasing at a level I havent seen for eight or nine quarters. I struggle to think about what the next big thing is," he said.
"Id like to spend more money on software over the next year than we have over the last five years" to virtualize all my software components, he said.
Panelists here could not agree on where innovation is leading, but they said it is out there.
"My feeling is theres not going to be a next big thing," said Madhaven Rangaswami, co-founder of Sand Hill Group LLC, in San Francisco. Rangaswami said there is an opportunity to innovate around merging legacy application stacks. "I think there might be several smaller things—like RFID [radio-frequency identification] or Wi-Fi," he said.
Eric Dean, an IT consultant and former CIO at United Airlines Inc. and Arthur Andersen LLP, said, "The next new thing to me looks like another layer of [gilding] spread over the top of whats already there."