A Look Back at Our 2011 Predictions…

January 9, 2012

We’re putting the finishing touches on our 2012 predictions, so look for that post in the next week or so, but in the mean time, and in the spirit of accountability and openness, I decided to take a few minutes to look back at our predictions for 2011 and see how we did.

We’re putting the finishing touches on our 2012 predictions, so look for that post in the next week or so, but in the mean time, and in the spirit of accountability and openness, I decided to take a few minutes to look back at our predictions for 2011 and see how we did. Here’s the original post, if you want to refer to it, but I’ll go through each one here again:

1. Social profiles become the Internet fingerprint – I’d say we get a B+ on this one. While profiles are an essential part of your online persona, the proliferation of profiles is still something of a problem. Certainly more sites are using Facebook connect or Twitter as a de facto “standard” to help relieve the pain of initial sign up, but that’s as far as we’ve gotten. There’s still a need for some way to manage all of the profiles centrally. This stretches into the enterprise as well, where we’re just starting to see some ways to establish internal business profiles. Many enterprise social systems provide profiles of course, but in only a few instances are they linked to HCM systems. It’s a hard problem to solve, but I’d have thought we would have made more progress.

2. The resurgence of eCommerce, increasing importance of providing a social customer experience, proliferation of context aware mobile apps and emergence of new social tools will lead to an innovative commerce experience that is a hybrid of social, mobile, online and brick and mortar. – I’d say we get a solid A- on this one. Commerce, or as we’ve started to refer to it, digital commerce, is a hot topic and all of the elements, mobile, social, multi-channel, etc. are top of mind with businesses. New digital commerce platforms from major software vendors like IBM and Oracle are coming together nicely. On the public social web side, both facebook and FourSquare have made some progress towards integrating into commerce platforms, particularly through a partnership with AMEX last Summer.

3. Cloud and the economic impact of new subscription models is reshaping the software channel model for vendors and their partners. – With cloud apps / SaaS reaching the tipping point last year and the rapid emergence of new PaaS, IaaS, etc. offerings + the increased availability of subscription licensing in general, it’s impossible for software channel partners to ignore the impact to their current economic models. The transitions will take a long time of course, but we’re well on our way…I’d give us an A here.

4. The enterprise gets serious about mobile applications, moving to more open and secure mobile platforms that provide multi-device management and much broader mobile apps deployment. – Mobile apps development  saw rapid development and adoption last year. More and more software vendors are making their apps accessible on multi-OS smartphones and tablets. The proliferation of tablets only served to accelerate mobile adoption. Enterprise IT is under tremendous pressure to support multi-device architectures and move away from the corporate mandated single device support approach of the past. Mobile platforms and virtual mobile platforms like Citrix Receiver are experiencing tremendous growth as more organizations look for ways to tame the growing number of devices choices. I’d give us an A on this one.

5. Hyper connectivity and cloud computing leads the social business to the next generation business model based on organic business networks. – The networked business model is gaining more acceptance as more businesses start to use social solutions both internally and externally. The transition will take quite a while of course, but it has started in earnest. I’d say we deserve a B+, change takes a while, but more and more businesses are looking to social solutions.

6. Social collaboration and networking tools bring new life – not death – to email. – I’m more convinced now than last year that social collaboration tools are not a substitute for email, instead they off load functions that were never appropriate for email. There’s still nothing better for 1:1/few private communications, while other functions like file sharing, real time sharing, collaborative work coordination and facilitation, etc. are moving to social tools that are designed to support those functions. I’d give us an A on this one. The next step is to push all of these tools into an integrated communication and collaboration environment with context awareness, better filtering, and more user control over the “inbox”.

7. Socialytics moves from enterprise experiment to core business intelligence tool in support of critical executive decision making. – Last year saw a significant move forward in socialytic capabilities and an increase in adoption of these solutions. Consolidation, which started with socialytic vendors a couple of years ago, continued as well, with major vendors adding to solution portfolios. In our recent social business surveys decision support is obviously moving up in importance as one of the key benefits of social solutions. I’d give us an A in this one as well.

8. The growth of social media and meteoric expansion of  content causes a data glut that can only be made relevant through people-centric curation, leading to an explosion of tools and methods to facilitate the process.  – Data continues to grow at a staggering pace but I have to say that systems have yet to catch up. There’s a need for more effective filtering, context aware information, and a broader set of curation tools to help companies and individuals make sense out of the noise. The problem is certainly getting wore but we seem to have a gap in system capabilities that is not closing as fast as we thought. I say we get a C at best.

9. The AppStore software distribution model and subsequent disruption of pricing models leads to lower software costs and more transparent software pricing. – The App store model continues to grow and is moving into more business situations. The model is disruptive on pricing, as we’ve seen from the Apple stores and the subsequent effect on mobile and desktop pricing. That said, the impact on enterprise software in general has been very small to date. I think we get a C- for now.

10. The changing nature of work drives new solutions for collaboration, project management, and managing a distributed and often indirect (contract) workforce (the Human Cloud). – The trend for distributed and contact labor forces has continued as the economy has slowed again. The solutions like oDesk and Elance are very popular and growing at a rapid pace. There’s a need for better tools to manage some types of projects and particularly improved collaboration, but in general there’s been improvement. I say we get a B+ with some room for new solutions to tie things the new workforce to gather more effectively.

So that’s it for last year. I think we did pretty good, but I guess you’re the judge of that really. Anyway, look for this years predictions shortly.