Industry Week recently made my day when they published Vince Kellen’s (Senior Consultant of Cutter Consortium) five “anti-trends” for 2009 which stand out as a brilliant counterpoint to the rose-colored predictions of the laissez-faire wannabe analysts that tend to dominate the technology landscape. Probably because they echo my own sentiments and a few of the messages I’ve been trying to get across for quite some time now. So what were they?
- Social Networking will Unravel
Kellen says “at the risk of offending Web 2.0 enthusiasts, most firms, especially those hardest hit in this recession, consider social networking speculative and in some cases frivolous“. Hear, Hear! There’s a reason why “facebooked” has become an urban slang slam, “myspaced” has become a synonym for a late-night booty call, and why the blogger elite (including the doctor and Loren Feldman of 1938 Media) slam Twitter on a regular basis (as the only thing you can do with it is say nothing in only 140 characters). There’s no real value in these technologies, and certainly no commercial value to a productive business.
- Mashups will get Peeled Back
Speculative ROIs or projects not directly assisting with significant savings are going to be difficult for IT leaders to advance, and since the only “Web 2.0″ technology that has less ROI and more speculation than a Mashup is social networking, these projects will be axed too. While mashups can be a useful component of B2B 3.0 platforms if they focus on enhancing content, community, and connectivity, on their own they are just useless eye-candy.
- Large-Scale VoIP and Unified Communication Implementations Will Be Muted.
Although such projects promise long-term savings, unfortunately, at least in North America, they represent high up-front investment costs with a long-term payback period due to our still ridiculously high-costs for high-bandwidth access with service SLAs. As a result, these projects will be back-burnered until the economy hits another high-point and executives again don (or is that dawn) their rose-colored glasses.
- Analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) Will Lose Luster
Although a sound data analytics package (you know the one) in the hands of a true expert (you know who they are) will find you limitless savings opportunities, the reality is that most of the offerings on the market are just static data warehouses with static reports in the hands of recent grads with little real-world experience and almost no training. As a result, the majority of solution providers have been over-promising and under-delivering for years, and the market, understandably, has become fed up. As a result, even though these are the times when a real data analysis solution is needed most, many projects will be scrapped and only the true innovators (which are a small minority of the market) will undertake projects to identify and acquire sound BI solutions.
- Aged Infrastructure Will Stay in Service Longer
“More companies with way-past-their-prime architectures will attempt to coax them along for another year“. And this is unfortunate. While I applaud the inevitable push-back on social networking and useless Web 2.0 technologies, and understand the delay on VOIP and BI (as the value just isn’t there in some cases), I am saddened by the truth of this prediction. You see, technology infrastructure improvement offers companies a great opportunity to reduce cost and go green at the same time, thanks to new virtualization, thin-client, and innovative cooling technologies. Not only do green solutions generally offer payback starting in year two, but they last twice as long, effectively reducing your Total Cost of Ownership between 50% and 90% over a five to six year time-frame. And with cash-flush companies like IBM (who had a record profit year in 2008 [source], and predict another one in 2009 [source]) able to offer low-cost financing if you can’t afford the up-front purchase and implementation costs, it just doesn’t make sense to delay this investment. (See my posts on greening your data centers, greening your desktops, and calculating your savings for more information.)