Seven Technology Predictions for 2010

For the last few years I have been trying to identify the trends and directions of the Technology industry so I thought I would try again and make some predictions for 2010. You can read about my 2009 predictions here which were close with a few misses. Four of my predictions from last years are still high on my list for this year however the order has shifted in my mind. Here are my predictions 2010:

1) The Social Web

There is a lot of hype and a lot of work around introducing social tools and communities into our daily life. The majority of these tools are delivered via the web in communities like Facebook, Twitter, Identi.ca, Plaxo, and Friendfeed. Google also has a stake in this game with OpenSocial, Google Apps, and Google Groups, and Microsoft is getting in late with the Microsoft Azure Platform. Also, there is a lot going on behind the scenes in the social tools and apps space with Open efforts around Identity, Activity Streams and Discovery. These low-level efforts will help to shape our products and enable innovation. Social has bloomed on the web, and will be intergraded in many products in 2010, so now it is time for the enterprise.

One area that has helped the Social Web adoption is the integration of social applications on smartphones which enable users to stay connected to their Social communities. Another area is the use of inexpensive networked video cameras which has enabled content creators to quickly capture the moment and share it with their communities.

As Joseph Smarr once said …

The Web is going social … and the Social Web is going Open

I think this statement is very true ….

2) The Open Web

The web started as an Open project when Tim Berners-Lee released HTTP & HTML into the public domain in the early 90’s. Since then, organizations have been carving up their little piece of the web and restricting access to many. There are apps and solutions that are completely open, some that are partly open and others that are completely closed. There will be a big push to advocate for and adopt open strategies as more people start to participate in the Social Web and look to integrate all of their social tools.

The move toward an Open Web strategy has started to become organized with multiple groups participating in the effort. The Open Web Foundation was established in 2009 as a legal and standards based group for developing Open Technologies, and the Open Web Advocacy Group which is an open Google Group was create as a forum Open Web Developers, and the Mozilla Drumbeat Project was established as an advocacy group for the Open Web.

How about a real example of the Open Web. Twitter, not a totally open company or application, however they do have an open api which has benefited them greatly. By opening their api and access to twitter data, Twitter has allowed the creation of a sub market around twitter data. Hundreds of companies have been established which enhance twitter data and provide a service to twitter users. Without the Twitter open api, that would never happen.

3) Cloud Computing

Last year I had Cloud Computing at the top of my list and really expected adoption to be great than the adoption in 2009. That was partially due to security and legal concerns of Cloud Computing but also due to the fact that many enterprise organizations will need to change their infrastructure to take advantage of cloud computing, and most do not realize that. I think Cloud computing will continue to grow in 2010 with some of the larger more established vendors acquiring many of the smaller vendors.

I also see the adoption of private cloud increasing as many organizations get their first taste of cloud solutions in a controlled environment. There is a need for improved security and vendor accountability in the cloud space and I anticipate that there will be one or two new vendors on the scene in 2010 offering increased security and accountability at a premium.

4) Mobile Computing

Computing functionality is moving to the phone as evidence by the many SmartPhones available today. In 2010 we will see a whole new line of smart phones and Smart Phone adoption will increase in Enterprises as many organizations as many Business Managers realize that Smart phones allow for constant connectivity and Smart Phones adoption grows beyond the techie IT crowd.

I anticipate a line of semi-smart phones which allow some but not all of the features of a smart phone on a cheaper priced phone. Many folks are looking for basic phone services with limited to no data plans, however application store features will be available on all phones in 2010 as the providers look for more way to generate revenues.

The integration of social applications on smart phones has increased and will help to fuel the Social Web as smart phone users stay connected to their Social communities all the time.

5) Enterprise Social Computing

Adoption of Web 2.0 and Social tools in the Enterprise will increase however it will continue at a slow pace. Enterprises are adopting Enterprise Social Computing much like they adopted Intranets, in a slow and structured manner and need to get their feet wet before adopting any large scale organizational efforts. The good news is that more Business folks understand Enterprise Social Computing and can see the value of improved collaboration for their process.

Many organizations do not have a Enterprise Social Computing strategy however I see that changing in 2010 as many organization will come out with Enterprise Social Computing Policies for their users. This will be a clear indication for the user community of what is appropriate and what is not and will fuel Social Computing within the Enterprise.

6) Enterprise Infrastructures

Enterprise Infrastructures are changing. Most organizations have already adopted virtualization, while others are experimenting with cloud computing, and everyone is looking for strategies to decrease power and cooling requirements. Most larger organizations have data centers that were designed many years ago for large transactional type processing requirements and that has not changed as the processing continues on newer hardware but with the same old infrastructures. One reason why both Google and Amazon have become successful is because they are not tied to older transactional type architectures but instead created their own Architectural Stack which enable them to deliver massive computing power to end users. As more organizations start to work with private clouds the architecture required to support private clouds will become apparent and will start to fuel a change in applications and architectures.

The other Enterprise Infrastructure shift that I see is in the area of Identity Management and governance. Most organizations have at least three different methods of authentication in their organization including Active Directory and multiple LDAP’s all architected to be used behind the firewall. This is the year that organizations will start to look outside the Enterprise to join federated IDM’s for a subset of their users, customers and partners. Another Identity related solution will be Information Cards, which have gained adoption on the Web and eventually will make it’s way to the Enterprise.

7) Big Players in Technology Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Oracle

I see the large established players like Amazon, Apple, Google and Oracle growing and doing well in 2010 however I see Microsoft slowing down in 2010. I think that Amazon, Apple, Google and Oracle are poised to take advantage of the web as all are nimble enough to shift direction if needed and all appear to have new products and services in the pipeline. Windows 7 and Microsoft Sharepoint will the the two high points for Microsoft while overall sales will decline.

I see Google as the big winner here. They are embracing the Open Web, and moving out of their comfort zone of search with new voice and social applications and of course the rumored Google Phone.

Google’s Meaning of Open

Jonathan Rosenberg, Senior Vice President, Product Management at Google sent a long essay to the Google Product Managers and Engineers in an effort to put some clarity around the meaning of “Open” at Google. The well-written essay called “The Meaning of Open” ended up on the Google blog and is well worth reading.

Jonathan outlines Open at Google as …..

There are two components to our definition of open: open technology and open information. Open technology includes open source, meaning we release and actively support code that helps grow the Internet, and open standards, meaning we adhere to accepted standards and, if none exist, work to create standards that improve the entire Internet (and not just benefit Google). Open information means that when we have information about users we use it to provide something that is valuable to them, we are transparent about what information we have about them, and we give them ultimate control over their information. These are the things we should be doing. In many cases, we aren’t there, but I hope that with this note we can start working to close the gap between reality and aspiration.

and he goes on to make points like these ….

If we can embody a consistent commitment to open — which I believe we can — then we have a big opportunity to lead by example and encourage other companies and industries to adopt the same commitment ….

whenever possible, use existing open standards. If you are venturing into an area where open standards don’t exist, create them. If existing standards aren’t as good as they should be, work to improve them and make those improvements as simple and well documented as you can …..

We believe in the power of technology to deliver information. We believe in the power of information to do good. We believe that open is the only way for this to have the broadest impact for the most people. We are technology optimists who trust that the chaos of open benefits everyone. We will fight to promote it every chance we get ….

The future of government is transparency. The future of commerce is information symmetry. The future of culture is freedom. The future of science and medicine is collaboration. The future of entertainment is participation. Each of these futures depends on an open Internet ….

I give Jonathan credit for jumping in and offering an opinion and a direction for the Googler’s while at the same time welcoming comments and differences of opinion. I applaud the effort and feel that Google should lead by example. I also like the fact that Jonathan identified Open Information as well as Open Technologies because I feel that Open Information/Data is often missed in discussions about the Open Web.

CloudCamp Boston – Security and Private Clouds

I spent the second half of my day at Cloud Camp Boston which is a great unconference for those folks looking to learn more about cloud computing. I really like the unconference format which has grown in popularity from many podcamps and barcamps. This conference was moderated by David Nielsen @davenielsen who did a great job keeping the conversations flowing and everything else moving forward.

There were three main sections to this cloud came

  • 5 Minute Lightning Rounds – Mostly by Vendors
  • 10 Questions identified by the attendees and answered by attendees with experience in the cloud
  • 2 45 minute breakout sessions informally voted on by the attendees

The Lightning Rounds were good, the 10 questions were better, however, the best part of the evening was the two breakout sessions that I attended.

I attended Chris Hoff’s @beaker Cloudanatomy talk on Cloud security and was very impressed with Chris’s talk. Chris stated that he does not want to scare people away from the cloud, but instead he wants us all to be able to ask better questions of the Cloud vendors and make sure that we really understand what we are responsible and liable for and know what the cloud vendors are responsible and liable for.  However, Chris really lays out cloud as a house of cards built on older legacy protocols like DNS, BGP and SSL that can come thumbing down at any time. Chris’s point is that you should understand where your possible points of failure are and know your terms of service and plan accordingly.

I also attended John M Willis’s @botchagalupe Private Cloud discussion and identified the private side of this equation as “You own the hardware” and “You have control over the customers”. We compared the Amazon Public cloud to Eucalyptus which can be built as either a public or a private cloud. There was a lot of discussion about when and why should we use each model (Public & Private) which was reminiscent of the discussions we had 4 years ago when we started looking at virtualization. Questions like is this a solution for dev and test, and when do we go to production were common. John’s point was that every organization and data center should have 3 types of platforms for their applications to consider:

Bare Metal Servers  –  Virtualized Resources  –  Cloud Resources

With three platforms you can determine the best environment for you applications and if you are unfamiliar with building and maintaining applications in the cloud then a private cloud is a great starting point to cut your teeth on before moving to the Public cloud, and when you have both virtual and cloud resources internally, you can identify the best fit for you applications.

Overall I really enjoyed myself and see a lot of value in the CloudCamp model, and would encourage anyone investigating cloud technologies to attend a cloud camp.

Content Management Systems

I am attending my first Gilbane Content Management Conference in Boston and find it very interesting. It is obvious to me that the content management space is a niche market with many vendors and many organizations using some form of Content Management or Document Management. My initial interest is around the Web Content Systems (WCM) space and I am hoping to identify some strategies and solutions to help us better manage our disparate web resources. We currently manage many different web resources from applications delivered via portals and websites to a crude mix of document management solutions that all need to be managed and integrated with multiple different systems. I have heard a lot of talk about Document Management Systems (DMS), Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECM), Content Management Systems (CMS), and Web Content Systems (WCM). I am not sure of the differences between a CMS and a WCM and I have seen them used interchangeably so for now I will refer to both as WCM.

I am looking for a WCM that is part CMS, part Wiki, part Document Management System, and part Portal. I do not have a budget or an authorized project however we have a need to upgrade our older html and cgi web environments and the thought of a WCM framework behind our complex site would be a real benefit. With no budget I am looking at Open Source Vendors, and I sat in on a discussion about the “Rise of Open Source Content Management” with Kathleen Reidy from the 451 Group and Seth Gottleib for Content Here. Kathleen did a nice job of grouping the Large, Medium and Small Open Source Content Management players along with the proprietary and non-proprietary products, and I found a similar slide deck from Kathleen on Slideshare. Seth outlined the Open Source players into three different open source groups:

Community Open Source – Commercial Open Source  – Institutional Open Source

Seth’s advice was to understand the support and ecosystems of each vendors and that will help to make a good decision surrounding the Open Source vendors. This goes hand in hand with your needs and requirements however often folks looking for Open Source solutions are often looking for an inexpensive solution and you also need to consider support and the viability of the solution you choose.

Another consideration for Web Content Management which I have that I have not worked out is how well will WCM integrate with Enterprise 2.0 and Enterprise Social Computing. Integration with blogs and wiki’s look like a good starting point however another point to consider would be improvements to search within your organization. Content Management systems deployed correctly can provide structured data to your organization which in turn will provide the meta tags to enhance search in your organization.

Enterprise Social Computing

I struggle with the term Enterprise 2.0 but not the concepts. Recently I have heard multiple vendors throw out the term Enterprise 2.0 and I cringe every time that I hear that. I question if they know what they are talking about or are they just trying to sell me something.

I have been in favor of terms like “improved collaboration” for a while now but really see collaboration as a result of Enterprise 2.0 but not the label for it. The next question the business folks usually have for improved collaboration is “how are you going to do that?” and by the time that we get to integration of blogs, wikis, and portals they are completely lost. The term that I am most comfortable with lately is  “Enterprise Social Computing”.  The business folk are starting to see and understand the value of social networking but still need to better understand how it can integrate with their applications and business process to be effective.

I have seen this term a lot lately and first saw it on Dion Hinchcliffe’s Enterprise Web 2.0 blog. Here is Dion’s explanation of Social Computing:

What is social computing? It’s the use of social software within and between organizations and any interested parties such as employees, customers, and partners. Social computing, as explained here, can usher in significant large-scale shifts in where productive forces and innovation come from. Organizations will all adopt enterprise social computing tools in slightly different ways and will generally proceed from ad hoc usage, often by applying widely available consumer tools at first, to more evolved open business models.

Social tools on the Internet have different requirements than Social tools behind the firewall, however a lot of organizations are starting to open up tools and functions that allow folks outside to organization to access data and resources inside the organization. This shift from a totally insulated Intranet to a somewhat open type of Intranet is starting to emerge. MIT is a great example of this with the our OpenCourseWare Project, sharing data and resources with non-MIT students, faculty and staff.

To enable this shift, the tools used by the Enterprise need to change as organizations allow partners and customers access to real time data within the Intranet. Architecture, Authentication strategies and Identity Management will play a big role in security and deployment strategies. Organizations need to balance the security requirements of their most confidential data with the transparent needs of their employees, partners and customers. The “lock everything down model” is no longer acceptable in our 2.0 world and organizational culture will play a big role in adoption and in the transparency of these tools.

So for me, the concepts are the same, but my terminology is different.

Looking for a Social Media Strategy – Are You Frank ?

I would like to share with you a unique little company that helps twitterlogoorganizations with strategies to identify and deploy this new “Web 2.0 – Enterprise 2.0 – Social Media” stuff into organizations. The company is called AreYouFrank or Frank for short, and they help organizations sort thru the 2.0 Social Media stuff. They help organizations with business requirements, project management and with Social deployments, and they do this with a people focus within the new Social Media space.

Many organizations are not ready for the transparency of Web 2.0 but at the same time a lot of organization are ready and they are asking about the tools and strategies needed to introduce these capabilities into their organizations.

In the early years of the dot.com boom we saw more vendors of web solutions than actual consumers of those solutions and now we are seeing the same scenario with the Social Web space, so be careful. But within this crowded space, let me tell you why I think so highly of the Frank group:

I met Jacqueline Prescott who is one of the principles of the areyoufrank group at a number of different conferences in 2008 and then again at the recent Enterprise 2.0 2009. With each meeting I came to better understand their message and strategy which is more than just delivering technology, it is about identifying the business requirements for each project and a methodology that translates business goals into a Social Media strategy.

After challenging Jacqueline on a couple of questions around improved collaboration, she pressed me on what I thought the real value of improved collaboration would be. Nothing I said was good enough, and this went on for over and hour until we got very close to the business process level and she could tie our business processes to business our goals. I could clearly see that this was part of their methodology and this conversation really stuck with me and is what I wanted to share with you today.

 

What I also found unique about the Frank group is that they will share their methodology in the form of a Business Case Builder with you for free so you could review their methodology and deploy it yourself or you can use it with the help of the Frank group.

Now I am sure that the Frank group could better explain what they do, how they do it and how they could help your organization, so if you are looking for some help with this Social Media stuff, then consider visiting the AreYouFrank site or reaching out to Jacqueline Prescott or one of the other principles at Frank.

Social Computing, Professional Collaboration, and 2.0 Adoption

The Boston version of the Enterprise 2.0 conference was over 5 weeks ago however there is still a lot of great Social Computing and Professional Collaboration information that is being shared on a weekly basis. I came across a number of first person interviews from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference that I thought was worth sharing. Level 3 produced 15 different interviews from both Enterprise 2.0 participants and speakers that are worth listening to. The Level 3 site is called The Red Couch and includes interviews from many conferences. All of the Enterprise 2.0 interviews were great but I really enjoyed these four:

  • Steve Wylie from Tech-Web and Enterprise 2.0 Conference
  • Dion Hinchcliffe from ZDNet and Dion Hinchcliffe and Company
  • Mike Gotta from the Burton Group
  • Oliver Marks from Oliver Marks and Company

In the weeks after the Enterprise 2.0 conference, a nice little community has formed to discuss 3686954681_b17c8aff6a_oEnterprise 2.0, Social Computing and 2.0 Adoption issues. The group, started and managed by the ITSinsider – Susan Scrupski is called The 2.0 Adoption Council and has participants on Linkedin, Facebook, Socialcast and Jive. The Linkedin group has moved to Socialcast and Jive however if you are interested in participating in this discussion, join the Linkedin or Facebook 2.0 Adoption Council groups and let us know that you are interested, or you can message me on twitter at @kmullins.
In the middle of this 2.0 adoption discussion, Dion Hinchcliffe wrote an insightful post today about the Top Ten Issues in Adopting Enterprise Social Computing where he identified a list of 10 issues that impact the adoption of Social Computing in the Enterprise.

Here is the list:

  1. Lack of social media literacy amongst workers.
  2. A perception that social tools won’t work well in a particular industry.
  3. Social software is still perceived as too risky to use for core business activities.
  4. Can’t get enough senior executives engaged with social tools.
  5. There is vapor lock between IT and the social computing initiative.
  6. Need to prove ROI before there will be support for social software.
  7. Security concerns are holding up pilot projects/adoption plans.
  8. The needs around community management have come as a surprise.
  9. Difficulties sustaining external engagement.
  10. Struggling to survive due to unexpected success.
    and you can read Dion’s complete post and analysis on ZDNet’s Enterprise Web 2.0 blog.

Social Media Not Social Marketing

My opinion and thoughts surrounding Social Media have really changed in the last 2 weeks primarily due to the revolution in Iran and the role that thousands of people played communicating the issues and letting the world know what was really happening in Iran.

Up until a month ago, I saw Social Media as a Marketing tool and often referred to Social Media as Social Marketing, however, I can see now that I was wrong. The combination of Social Media tools like Twitter, YouTube, and Flicker, and the engaged Iranians using these tools, kept the message coming out of Iran which helped to raise awareness to the rigged election and the beatings, arrests and murders that followed the Iranian election. This stream of information was flowing out of Iran at great risk to those folks sharing the information and as the community of Social Media adopters embraced this and started blogging, tweeting and communicating the message, hundreds of thousands of people from many countries got involved and started covering and communicating this story. This message may have come to light in another way, however access to Social Media tools like Twitter, YouTube and Flicker allowed Iranians the opportunity to share their experiences with us as they happened.

As an active user of many social tools like Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and Friendfeed, I saw my activities as Social Networking and the activities of the Marketing and PR folks as Social Media. The fine distinction that I have come to realize is the Marketing and PR folks are using the same Social Media tools that I use, however, their message is different and their desired reach and results are different, however, they are still using the same powerful medium that I am using and therefore I will stop refereeing to Social Media as Social Marketing.

In my opinion, the message of the Iranians and the reaction and support from all non-Iranians proves the legitimacy of Social Media.

Google Wave – New Communications Tool

If you have not heard about Google Wave, this is something that you need to pay attention to. It is a communication tool that merges email, IM, documentation and social networking into one nice integrated tool. The demo was very convincing and really comes off as a nice shared communications tool that will help to increase collaboration.

Although the setup and configurations have not been revealed, it is built on HTML 5 which will not run on some browsers, however, if this starts to take off, you will see a move toward HTML5 in all browsers. This is a tool that has great promise both behind and in front of the firewall, however, I am curious how the Federation authorization will work.

Here is a link to the Google Wave Blog and Dion Hinchcliffe wrote a nice overview of the “Enterprise Implications of Google Wave” which is worth reading.

Social Web Going Open

Last night listened to the The Social Web Tv – Episode 14, which was about Mashups and API’s. What really stuck in my mind was a comment by John McCrea from Plaxo about the social web. John said ……

    “the web going social and the social web going open”

and I find this to be true and wanted to give some examples to back this up.

Years ago, social networks like facebook, friendster, myspace and linkedin were destinations, where they would restrict your data to their site and they would try and keep you on their site. However, we have really changed from this model to a more open model where you can push and pull data to and from each network. This gives us the benefit of flexibility and allows us to control of our data.

Now there are many ways to add social interaction on your blog or web site. Facebook Connect, Google’s Friend Connect, and Friendfeed are all great examples of how you can share and integrate your data on the web. These sites are no longer just destinations but are becoming the fabric of the web along with many others that are adopting this open model.