Daily Archives: November 24, 2016

I try not to get involved in the business of prediction …

… It’s a quick way to look like an idiot.
Warren Ellis

A new year is but six weeks away … and you know what that means (besides holiday frenzy, too much turkey, broken resolutions, and the Times Square ball drop) … prediction time is right around the corner.

Snow isn’t even on the ground yet (and remember that the doctor lives in the Great White North) and already we’re seeing “prediction” articles for 2017. For example, Labels & Labelling, trying to beat the rush, posted their predictions for 2017 where they quoted industry pros who predicted (surprise) more automation, more web-based customer interaction, the continual decline of the printing industry (traditional, not home-printer manufacturing), rapid change, and so on. But this followed a prediction from CIO that predicted cloud computing trends the 2nd of November, which should affect us all with almost all supply management software offerings being multi-tenant cloud instances. But this was over a month after Ardent Partners’ launched their tech and innovation outlook report for 2017 at the end of September.

Of course, they couldn’t get the jump on the price forecasters, like Metal Miner and Spend Matters, who have been posting price outlooks (such as the plastic resin price outlook) for a while now. Or the freight rate forecasters (including CIPS) that have been predicting rates since the quarter started as well.

And it’s driving the doctor nuts. the doctor hates predictions. Most of the good ones are based on logical assumptions that people are logical and will do the logical thing. They won’t. Not because they don’t want to, but because they work for organizations that don’t always make logical, or even informed decisions (as per yesterday’s post). If the CFO doesn’t believe the ROI claim, the COO doesn’t believe the efficiency improvement claim, or the CEO just doesn’t like the sound of it … it won’t happen. So even though it might seem logical that this will be the year this proven, successful, time saving, value generating solution will take off … it might, or, more likely, it might not.

Then there are the fake futurists who make crazy predictions (like this will be the year the printing press will die or radio advertising will end or the entire factory will be automated) just to get attention. For example: air freight will kill ocean freight, railroads will rise again, on-premise ERP will finally die, etc. We all know this ain’t gonna happen. Then there are the slightly non-obvious non-fantastic but boring predictions whose chances are near 50/50 that just re-iterates the same-old same-old until they come true. (But who wants to read the same-old, same-old again? As we’ve clearly indicated in our Future of Procurement series, it’s the same old sh!t over and over again. Please Kill It! [NSFW])

In other words, those who make predictions have two choices — be crazy, and look like an idiot, if they want to be read, or state the obvious, and bore their audience to sleep. (Let’s just hope their audience doesn’t have KLS. While it’s likely triggered by infection, medical science is not 100% sure.)

Like LOLCat, there’s only two predictions the doctor can get behind. The first is that put forward by the public defender who last year noted that, no matter what, all predictions will be wrong. The second, as astutely noted by the maverick, is that, regardless of what the false futurists predict, we will forever be in the year of the Chief Buzzword Officer. Ugh.

the doctor doesn’t mind looking like an idiot, especially if that’s what it takes to spread the truth, but please, please, please don’t ask for predictions. Please let them rest in peace!