Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My 2014 Predictions Scorecard

Just like every year, I review my predictions from last January and publicly score how well I did. After all, predicting the future without accountability is something only a futurist would do. Futurist is a cool job if you can get it. It’s fun just like a historian, except you can’t be confronted with any actual facts. Well, I’m not a futurist and so this is how I did:

1.     Big Data shifts to Big Content
I predicted that the industry would get tired of talking about ‘big data’ and that we would start looking for insights coming from ‘big content’, large volumes of unstructured data. Well, this has really happened, even if the term itself isn’t used much. The media got tired of ‘big data’ and replaced it pretty early on in 2014 with new buzzwords such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and – yes! – Analytics. Analytics refer to the ability to get insight from unstructured data, in contrast to Business Intelligence (BI), which is primarily focused on structured data. Ever heard of IBM Watson? Well, that’s all about analyzing large volumes of content.
Score: 1 out of 1

2.     ECM stays
I predicted that the term Enterprise Content Management (ECM) will survive another year unscathed, even though many voices will keep calling for its demise. Not only has ECM survived, I find that it’s stronger than in the last couple of years. Many of the vendors from adjacent industries such as Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) and Capture are reinventing themselves as ECM wannabes. As the market is consolidating, the term ECM seems to be one of the constants.
Score: 2 out of 2

3.     BPM market looking for direction
I predicted that the BPM market would continue looking for a something new. It still is. I was at the Gartner BPM Summit just a couple of weeks ago and among the 20-30 sponsors, hardly anyone stood out with their ability to differentiate. I have further predicted that BPM will become a feature of other solutions. That hasn’t exactly happened yet, even though I have not seen many BPM deployments lately that didn’t involve a repository and one or more core applications. Yet the BPM market remains solidly an independent market for now and I can only give myself half of a point here.
Score: 2.5 out of 3

4.     Digital marketing meets compliance
I have predicted that amid the consumer security and privacy pressures, marketers will start paying more attention to information governance and data security. I was completely wrong on this one. While there has been a security breach story every week through 2014, still nobody cares about consumer privacy and data security. The last of all who will ever care are apparently the marketing departments. #Fail.
Score: 2.5 out of 4

5.     Mobile market
I’ve predicted that not much will happen in the mobile market with iOS and Android keeping their massive share while Blackberry remains stagnant. I have also predicted, though, that Microsoft will enjoy a substantial adoption of their Surface tablets, reaching 10% share of the tablet market. Why did I ever make a quantifiable and verifiable prediction? The market stayed about the same, with Apple and Google far ahead of anyone else. The Surface gained a lot of adoption and I see a whole bunch of them now when I travel. Yet, its market share according to Statista was only 5.7% in Q3/2014 - not quite enough for 10%. Still, I think that I deserve half of a point here!
Score: 3 out of 5

6.     Spying will continue
I predicted that we wouldn’t see any material changes in legislation or any proof that the NSA would change any of their data collection practices as a result of the Snowden leaks. Indeed, nothing changed. We have moved on, accepting the spying the same way as we have accepted security controls at airports. Life sucks a little more but not enough to take it to the streets.
Score: 4 out of 6

7.     Data privacy will become the new code of business conduct
Yes, yes, yes. This has happened. As I have predicted, many companies started putting their employees through mandatory security and data privacy training classes. Just like in the case of the code of business conduct training, the primary goal is to reduce corporate liability rather than to address the actual problem - which may or may not be even possible. Anyway, I call it progress towards security awareness and get a point here.
Score: 5 out 7

8.     The end of corporate social software
I’ve predicted that most companies will give up on building a generic social water cooler and that they will simply replace social software with file sync and share. This happened – since sharing files is apparently the highest level of collaboration most employees are willing to endure. I’m not sure anyone even mentioned enterprise social software at all in 2014. Pure play vendors continue disappearing with some of the once-leaders going through major shake-ups including CEO replacements (i.e. Jive) and company re-branding (i.e. Newsgator – now Sitrion).  Just like I have predicted, social software became a feature. What’s even more interesting is that the traditional collaboration software and – gasp – e-mail are going through a renaissance with a new breed of solutions such as Google Inbox and IBM Verse.
Score: 6 out of 8

9.     Cloud will go through a reality check
2014 has become a year of reality check for cloud software vendors. The big event that I predicted would come was Box when they filed their now fabled S1 document with the SEC. The filing exposed an alarming and widely unexpected disregard for profitability. The market gasped in unison and Box was forced to postpone their IPO indefinitely and we haven’t seen any other cloud vendors rushing to disclose their numbers. As a result, things have certainly cooled off a bit on the venture-funding front and people are all of the sudden asking those pesky questions about monetization, cash flow, and (oh dear!) profits. That said, we haven’t seen an actual failure of a cloud vendor and nobody is worried about viability of any of the cloud vendors who are now safe-guarding our corporate data. So in all fairness, I don’t deserve a full point on this one.
Score: 6.5 out of 9

10. Cars will beat wearable devices
I’ve predicted that wearable devices would not be a big hit in 2014. That has happened – Google has effectively killed its once-hyped Glass, Apple failed to ship the Apple Watch (though I still want one), Nike did something stupid with the FuelBand and not much new happened otherwise. That said, I have also predicted that more attention would be paid to the user experience in our cars, which didn’t happen at all. While everyone continues drooling about the Tesla, nothing new happened in the auto sector, not even at Tesla. That’s too bad because most car manufacturers still believe that better user experience means dark wood interior trim… I will have to stretch the rules to give myself half of a point here. But then again, I’m doing the scoring so why not, right?
Score: 7 out of 10

With 7 out of 10 points, my predictions weren’t particularly good. Some of them were obvious, some didn’t happen. The greatest disappointment in 2014, albeit one that I predicted, was the lack of advances in data security. The problem is becoming dire and yet nobody cares. This has to be the greatest problem to be solved right now – and I am not sure it will be solved anytime soon. The one prediction that I have missed completely was the Internet of Things (IoT), which is where most of the innovation occurred. With the IoT, home automation is becoming reality at a reasonable price, which is very exciting. Other than the IoT and the re-invigoration of email, 2014 was kind of a slow year.

We’ll see what happens in 2015!