2010 Technology Trends


Aside from these, I also scoured the Web and scanned bloggers, industry luminaries, and any relevant and significant insight I could find.

The Short List – 5 Keys to the Future
Before the longer list, I want to shin the light on 5 key things:

  1. Agility.  Agility means the ability to respond to change.  This is crucial for both personal survival as well as surviving and thriving in a business landscape.
  2. Business intelligence.  Data-driven decisions win over guesswork.  It’s tough, especially when statistics lie and we want to trust our instincts over our indicators.  Start by asking, how do the great businesses drive their great decisions?  Between information markets and crowd sourced intelligence and social networking, the real issue is how you leverage the data and turn it into intelligent decisions and smart feedback loops, and how you learn and respond.
  3. Cloud and virtualization.   This is a key growth spot.  How else do you keep up in a rapidly changing world and deliver services and disruptors and bring new game changers to market faster than ever before?  It’s the cloud.  It marks the commodization of IT and computing.
  4. User Experiences.    Great user experiences drive adoption and make things stick.  This is a great area for innovation, patterns, and practices.  When you think about the possibilities of rich media, touch, speech, location-aware services, and “you-as-the-remote control” (think Wii), the possibilities for amazing and immersive experiences are endless.  More importantly, we can finally start showing how software improves productivity, effectiveness, efficiency, and fun.  It’s gamer + education + business + life.
  5. Mobile.  This is another growth spot – mobile Internet growth.  It’s emerging as a powerful platform and ecosystems that bring the power of software to everyday scenarios, anywhere and everywhere.

Key Trends for 2010
Here is my summary of key trends for 2010:

  • 3 screens and a cloud.  Rather than get lost in device explosion, think in terms of a little screen, like a phone, a mid-sized screen, like a laptop or net book or PC, and a bigger screen, like a TV or multimedia projection, and a cloud that serves them all.  See Three Screens and a Cloud by Steve Clayton.
  • Agile Process.    Cycles of change are faster.  How do you keep up?  By adopting agile processes, such as Scrum, XP, and Lean.
  • Apps move up the stack.   As the market matures, things move up the stack.  An example would be the growth of SharePoint as a rapid application platform.  This pattern should accelerate along with cloud adoption.
  • Business intelligence.  How do you make your best decisions?  You test them and you use real data in real time.  That’s how Amazon drives an effective online business.  They don’t depend on a smart user experience person to make things pretty.  They do A/B testing to experiment and test which online experience produces the best results.
  • Cloud Computing and Virtualization.   If you want to stay relevant, you have to be thinking about your cloud and virtualization story.  The opportunities here are amazing from the one-man band code slinger who spins up a Web farm for their app that changes the world to businesses that expose new capabilities to the World and help build the programmable Web.  It’s also a way to simplify computing and move up the stack.
  • Competitive advantage.   Darwinism is brutal in a global marketplace.  Sink or swim.  How do you find your competitive advantage in today’s world.  According to Jim Carroll, the four key drivers of completive advantage in today’s landscape are: Velocity, Agility, Complexity, and Flexibility.
  • "Consumerization" of IT.  A while back, Gartner said Consumerization Will Be Most Significant Trend Affecting IT During Next 10 Years … I think we see that accelerating.
  • Global distributed development.  Competing in a global market means finding and using the best resources at the best price, anywhere in the world.
  • Jobless Economic Recovery.   This sucks.  It really does.  The upside is that businesses are getting leaner and more effective.  The downside is it’s a sign that we’re not innovating or creating enough growth, and our model for the world isn’t working.  The opportunity here is, software engineers can change the world (remember that Bill Gates guy?)  The world needs a new model.
  • Skills-for-Hire Economy.   Specialization, market maturity and rapid cycles of change drive a demand for key skills.  The key is to balance “generalist” skills in business and technology, along with specialized skills that the market values.
  • Location based services.   Talk about relevancy in action.  It’s all about specialization + location.  Location, location, location takes on new meaning and relevancy.  For example, in Where’s the Growth?, Jim Carroll identifies “Consider the concept of a “location-intelligence professional.” Today, this involves someone working within the insurance industry, learning how to link the extensive data-sets of geographic oriented information – think Google Maps – with existing insurance underwriting information, and with other statistical databases.”
  • Micropayments and virtual currencies.  Second Life really set the trend here a while back, but it’s becoming more important in today’s world.  This paves the way for real money for micro-transactions.  It also creates a model for reputation based systems, which is important in a reputation-based economy.
  • Mobile internet.    If you want to stay relevant, you have to be thinking about your mobile story.
  • Parallel computing.  On the systems side, there’s a whole new game in town.  On the user experience side, expect to have richer, more immersive and more responsive applications.
  • Reputation based.   It’s reputations that cut through the clutter and rise to the top, helped by word-of-mouth marketing and raving fans.
  • Standards / open systems.  One of the way so win in today’s world is to build great experiences on top of open standards.  Optimize for open over closed.
  • The fall of walled gardens.  It’s not just B2B or B2C anymore – it’s whatever makes the most sense.
  • The rise of Social media / social networking.   Between world-of-mouth marketing, raving fans, and real time information markets for customer feedback that can make you or break you, embrace and leverage the power of the people.
  • The system of systems in the Enterprise is your OS.  Your Enterprise is your emerging mash up of systems and services.  Find a way to create an effective portfolio for analyzing what you’ve got and be thinking in terms of business capabilities, infrastructure capabilities and application capabilities.
  • The Web is the OS.  It’s the programmable Web.   Imagine how your service or capability can be exposed to the World and thrive.  Remember, it’s survival of the fittest.  Be the best or go home.
  • User empowerment.  It’s the rise of the spider and the fall of the starfish in a federated world.
  • User experiences.   This is where reputations are built and raving fans are won.  Think speed, simplicity, immersive experience, visualization, how you feel … etc.  Design working backward from the end experience in mind.  If the resulting experience suck will suck, don’t even start to build it.

My synthesis — stay customer connected, create value for society (it’s not a vacuum), create raving fans, build to change over build to last, learn and respond through effective business intelligence, think in terms of platforms/ecosystems/execution, be the best in the world at what you do (on the Web, you don’t need a bunch of #2s),  stay flexible and adaptable, and build the network and relationships that support you and your ecosystem.

With that in mind, here are some more keys to watch for …

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