Predicting 2012: What’s old is new again – or is it?

December 21, 2011

Predicting 2012: What’s old is new again – or is it?

Maybe I have been around the technology market too long but it appears to me that there is nothing new under the sun. The foundational technologies that are the rage today all have their roots in technology that has been around for decades. That is actually a good thing. Simply put, a unique technology concept often will not be commercially viable for at least a decade. So, as I look into 2012, it is clear to me that we are at a tipping point where technologies that have been incubating for many years are customer requirements. Some, like cloud computing are just emerging from the early adopter phase. Others like big data are still in early hype mode. It will be an interesting year. Here are some of my predictions for 2012.

  1. Cloud computing is the new Internet.  Only ten years ago companies talked about having an Internet strategy – today Internet is simply part of the fabric of organizations.  Likewise, I am predicting that within 10 years we won’t hear customers talk about their cloud strategy — it will simply be the way business is done.
  2. Analytics is one of the most important trends – being able to anticipate what will happen next – whether it is a retailer trying to determine what products will be hot or a business trying to anticipate where a problem will emerge.
  3. The best new ideas are old ideas re-envisioned. The greatest and hottest companies will be based on taking existing ideas and products and revamping them with newer technologies and inventive go to market initiatives.
  4. Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the next hot thing in cloud this coming year. This market will have a rocky evolution since existing Infrastructure as a Service vendors and Software as a Service vendors will all create their version of PaaS tied to their existing offerings.  Needless to say, this will confuse customers.
  5. Service Management becomes the defining differentiator for all types of cloud service providers.  Especially as the hybrid cloud becomes the norm, providers will have to provide a required level of privacy, security, and governance depending on the customer need. I expect to see a flood of cloud service management products.
  6. While 2011 was the year of innovation, 2012 will be the year of the customer experience. Apple’s success and huge market cap can be, at least in part, attributed to its ability to delight customer with well-executed and well-designed products.  The best new products do not simply give customers what they said they wanted, but anticipate what they didn’t know they wanted until it becomes available.
  7. The number of vendors focused on cloud security, governance, and compliance will expand dramatically. The successful companies will focus on protecting all end points – including mobile.
  8. Big data will be the most important silver bullet of 2012.  It will indeed be overhyped to the point where every aspect of computing will be tagged as a part of the big data ecosystem.  With that said, it is one of the most important trends because it will provide a set of techniques to enable companies to gain knowledge and insight in new ways from the huge volumes of unstructured data.  The successful companies are those that create solutions focused on solving specific industry problems.  One size does not fit all.
  9. Many copycat companies will tank.  Companies like Groupon and Zynga simply do not have the depth of technology or differentiation to have sustainability.  But that will not stop hundreds or perhaps thousands of copycat companies with equally weak value propositions from setting up shop.
  10. 10.  It is probably redundant to say that this will be the year of the mobile app. In fast the same could be said for 2011.  But there is a subtle difference. This year will see sophisticated developers focusing on creating applications that can easily move across tablets, laptops, and phones.  The successful companies will make it easy to synchronize data across these devices as well as integrating with related applications. A healthy ecosystem will make the difference between success and failure.


Judith Hurwitz , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
About Judith Hurwitz

Judith Hurwitz is an author, speaker and business technology consultant with decades of experience.

  1. Judith, this is an excellent list of predictions for 2012. I couldn’t agree more about #3: “The best new ideas are old ideas re-envisioned.” It has become nearly impossible to come up with a truly original idea these days. Fortunately there are an infinite number of hybrid ideas – mashups of existing, time tested innovations and technologies – to keep us busy cooking up new stuff forever.

    I also heartily agree with #10, the year of the mobile app, and expect to see rapid growth in the worldwide adoption of smartphones, with an increasingly higher percentage of people abandoning laptops, landlines and cable television in favor of these devices. Not really news in itself, but I think the rate of adoption will be surprising.

  2. Judith, I think #5 and #6 are intrinsically linked. Service management origins are in product management, product marketing and respecting the need to design how much human interaction is wrapped around a good. The goods service continuum was a natural result of the thinking to help service businesses.

    An IT organization needs to step away from the ‘implement something’ thinking and take stock of whether they are being performance managed as a service provider, what business they are in (Levitt c1960), who they serve and how they help them succeed.

    At the core of customer satisfaction is the experience had when interacting with a service or the provider. IT lacks this skillset – designing experiences and managing them!

    So I’m a fan and supporter of a reimagined, next generation service management that is more than just dropping the ‘IT’ prefix. I’m also a proponent of ‘outside-in’ thinking, think and act customer first, thats been in use by service businesses for many years….

    Come on IT, leave the cubicle, leave the ‘implement a framework’ and ‘adopt best practice’ crack, and hang with a customer for a few minutes over a doughnut and coffee.

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