We haven't received many predictions as to what the coming year is going to be like – possibly because a lot of companies and law firms are uncertain whether they still be around by the end of the year – however Simon Price, Recommind's UK director, has stuck his neck out and here is what he has to say…

Recommind say a wave of new regulations and compliance obligations are expected in 2009 that will leave organisations with the considerable challenge of effectively managing and controlling their ever growing data reserves.
 
Furthermore, as the economic crisis continues, knowledge is set to remain the most valuable business currency, presenting companies with the additional task of effectively identifying and quickly accessing the expertise of each and every employee.  After several false starts, 2009 will see the true coming of age of Enterprise Search 2.0 as Web 2.0 and social networking technologies become central to business, and the first generation of ineffective ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to enterprise search is laid to rest.

Forecasting the year ahead, Recommind predicts that:

• With new FSA regulations expected in the first quarter of 2009, the cost of compliance for UK businesses is set to soar in the coming year. After years of deregulation, all companies must now prepare for a much more stringent regulatory climate – not only to ensure they don’t run afoul of the rules, but also to keep a closer eye on internal activities to avoid falling victim to undetected insider fraud. The fallout is that e-disclosure investigations and their related costs and disruption are likely to become much more common in the UK and Europe.

• As companies attempt to work through the economic downturn, often with depleted workforces, maximising productivity and efficiency with reduced resources will be critical. Businesses must therefore do ‘more with less’, and information management will become core to corporate IT departments.

• It’s not just businesses that want their staff to be more efficient: employees now demand the ability to find any piece of information they want within a couple of clicks. And with social networking continuing to grow in popularity, organisations must take advantage of these tools to help locate expertise, relationships and knowledge locked up within the company – ‘enterprise search 2.0’ will enable businesses to do this, giving them a competitive edge over their less technologically savvy peers.

• Businesses will no longer be able to ignore the true cost of information risk. As the financial downturn continues, the consequences of doing so will become more obvious – and material to the bottom line – forcing companies to begin taking action. Failure to do so can result in not only financial penalties for breaching compliance regulations, but also damaging headlines and a loss of customer and stakeholder confidence.

Price adds “All businesses must be prepared for an increase in regulation and the challenges this will present over the coming year. Failure to comply will not only lead to a host of damaging consequences, both financially and in terms of reputation, but could also leave companies trailing behind their competitors. By taking control of their data – whatever its form – organisations can not only minimise their risk, but can also ensure their information is working as hard as possible, helping them weather the recession and come out on top.”