Analysts have an easy job. They extrapolate from what they have seen in 10 years or so, then people start reading what they say and some even believe it. But no-one seems to look back to see how many times they have been wrong, in particular when sudden changes have happened. It is like the famous ROI metric that project managers need to demonstrate in full detail to get budget approval, but once the project is done no-one seems to be interested anymore to check that the ROI has been actually achieved.
Am I being a bit harsh? Well, perhaps, but I have seen so many examples of analysts getting it wrong (by 5-10 years or often entirely) and still many people seem to religiously believe them. Well, humans are not always rational and it is easier and less risky to walk with the crowd. Of course it is excellent marketing and since at year-end there is not much else to write about, the IT magazines also pull these reports up and write about them. Win-win it seems. After all, I’m doing it myself, though with a slightly different spin.
So here my take on the Gartner 2013 trends and what I think of them:
Mobile takes over desktop PCs and smartphones and tablets dominate
Now this one is easy to predict. What I don’t like though is that they put it all together as if you could compare all of these devices 1:1. While a laptop replaces a desktop PC 100% a mobile does not entirely replace a laptop PC. If they think that is the case then they should show me how they work a full day on a smartphone and write their reports. I guess once they try that they will agree.
Gartner says that the personal cloud will replace the PC as the center of digital life. I think that is already the case for many. In fact the applications I am using are mostly SaaS, ahem, Cloud sorry. What was started more than 10 years ago by salesforce.com is now called the Cloud; even if there are now new technologies available and using the idea, it remains exactly the same. So this is not a prediction but what we have already at least in SMEs and even many bigger companies.
Enterprise App Stores
This one I doubt will come. The reason is that most vendors will try to come up with their own version of it and then of course try to keep out the competition.
Internet of things
As with SaaS/Cloud this has been around for quite some time already, and the names have also been changed. There are topics like IPv6, wireless sensors, wearable computing, mesh networks to name just a few and that seem to come together. I doubt though that my generation will get sensor-crazy and hook everything up to the Internet so it can be managed from mobile apps on the road. Sorry guys but this one is not happening even if you think so. Not a hot trend. Maybe in 2025 you can pull it out again but then with a new name please.
Hybrid IT und Cloud Computing
To me this is the same as the Cloud. Why would any user care whether the service is coming from an internal or an external cloud if they see no difference in the service itself? It is more a question of company policies and maybe performance issues and how IT does it. This buzzword you can delete.
Big Data as a strategy
This one is coming and will provide creative and ambitious IT managers and business unit people with an opportunity to shine. Of course it will take years to be adopted, and not just happen in the year 2013. However, Big Data remains a challenge for companies and vendors who offer only hardware and have a difficult time finding an angle other than Big storage and Big processing performance. Consultancy is key here. The 80 billion USD Big Data business that analysts foresaw remains a mystery. Maybe the analysts have it locked in their company safe?
Analytics in real-time and everywhere
This is a matter of what you intend to analyze and if it is even relevant to have it in real-time. I think this simply goes hand in hand with the Cloud and is just another cloud service. Seems natural, like riding a bike once you have learned it.
Well, another buzzword. To shift data into the memory and process there for performance reasons is a natural since in RAM it can be moved and processed much faster than constantly shifting it between slower hard drives and memory. Still one has to load it from permanent storage places and also write it back there – at least the results. To say that databases disappear is like saying cars disappear and we will be able to beam ourselves to work this morning like in space ship Enterprise. Nice idea – but let’s see what happens first.