Thursday, December 26, 2013

14 for 14

So all the cool kids are sharing their predictions for 2014.  While I'm not much of a prognosticator, I thought it would be fun to share my own thoughts on the upcoming year.  If nothing else, we can all have a good laugh in 12 months over how poorly my crystal ball works.  Here we go:

1. The difference between fads and serious uptake will depend more than ever on whether we can figure out ways to add real value (better, faster, cheaper) for people and enterprises.  Wearable tech, big data, and the internet of things all fall into this category in 2014.

2. Enterprises moving to the public cloud will become a stampede in 2014.  The savings in total cost of ownership throughout the life cycle are just too good to pass up, security concerns aside.  Follow the money.

3. The combination of HTML5 and JavaScript for web development will continue to take the world by storm.  Frameworks (Oracle ADF, Twitter Bootstrap, Node.js) and design patterns make the builds easy and allow us to focus on the user experience design...which is the make or break point for web-based apps.

4. The differentiating factors for enterprise applications on the cloud will be:  ease of use, ease of services integration, ease of data integration, ease of simple customization, and cost.  Any product missing on any of these points will fizzle out, especially in terms of net new customers.  

5. Experienced enterprise applications customers, defined as those with more than five years experience under their belt, will realize that they’ve squeezed all the productivity gains available to them from automation.  2014 will be the year that the need for information from all that transactional data becomes the predominant demand from existing enterprise applications customers.  Which will make that ease of data integration point raised in #4 above a really, really big deal.

6. Hand-in-hand with #5 above, we’ll see a significant rise in 3rd-party reporting and BI solutions offering technology-agnostic “information as a service”.  Pentaho, Domo and Good Data are companies already well-positioned to take advantage of this trend.  OBIEE in the cloud could take off as well if the integration and pricing are right.

7. Somebody will finally figure out that your phone is not the right platform for complex reporting and analytics.  The phone, however, is a great platform for executing simple business transactions.

8. Oracle will continue with their transition from a database company to a technology company.  The transition will not be complete in 2014, but that’s not a worry…Oracle has the balance sheet to play a very long game.  And we will see concrete, measurable signs of their progress in 2014.

9. Oracle will also begin the evaluation of their numerous and somewhat disjointed array of products.  Those that make sense to the roadmap and those that make money will be separated from those that don’t.  Oracle management will begin working the exit plan for those in the latter set.

10. Technology consulting:  think consolidation and change here. Many implementers and integrators  will close up shop, unable to compete as the market continues to morph into a price-driven commodity space. Others will move into pure consulting plays, offering advice (road mapping, product selection, etc.) rather than implement/build services.  And some will shift into staff augmentation shops, offering services during workload peaks and specific projects.

11. Coupled with #4 above, we’ll see a significant rise in the acceptance and use of Integration-as-a-Service (“IaaS”); integration offered as a transparent service a la SnapLogic, Informatica Cloud, and MuleSoft.  One interesting angle in the mix, however…enterprise applications vendors will discover that a good API library will be a differentiating factor selling cloud-based applications.  SalesForce has this nailed already with their Salesforce1 platform.  

12. Enterprises will stop managing the mobile device you use as they figure out that the name of the game is managing resources, not devices.  As a result, any IT used by the enterprise will have to be platform-agnostic…’Droid, Windows, iOS, whatever else.

13. Watch for Amazon Web Services to lead an outpouring of new offerings from cloud vendors moving up the tech stack as the tech stack itself becomes less relevant:  platform-as-a-service (“PaaS”) and higher value services for enterprises.  Lots of returns available here in “adding value around the edges” of the enterprise.  This is another example of what I call the “gold rush business model”; check the history of any gold rush and you’ll see that it was not the miners who got rich, but the businesses selling supplies and services to the miners - adding value around the edges of the mining operations.

14. Oracle Fusion Applications will build more momentum in 2014, especially in the HCM market.  FUSE...The simplified user interface, combined with the SaaS offerings, will prove to be a sweet spot in adding value while lowering the cost.

So, there you have it - 14 predictions for 2014.  Thoughts, comments, discussion, critiques are all least until New Year's Day ;)

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