Social Business Trends and Prediction Articles for 2014

When implemented successfully, social collaboration technologies connect people to other people, both within an enterprise and externally across enterprises. When people get connected digitally, it strengthens the relationships those people have with each other. And it increases the productivity of those people relative to the business transactions they are conducting.

I recently published my trend report  Social Business Trends to Watch in 2014.   The report provides an overview of Social Business and what sub-trends to watch in 2014.

Below I’ve provided you a list of 10 articles that I thought you might be interested in

Source Title
AIIM 2014: The Year Collaboration Goes Social through People
Altimeter Group 2014 Trends: Organizing Around the Social Customer
MindlinkSoft What’s next for business collaboration? Six Trends emerging in 2014
Colligo  Top 5 Mobile Collaboration Predictions For 2014
Altimeter Group Infographic: State of Social Business 2013 and Outlook for 2014
NMK Workplace collaboration technology to mature in 2014
Clara Shih (hearsay Social) Big Idea 2014: Social Business Grows Up
Forbes 2014:  The Year Social HR Matters
Jim Whitehurst Big Idea 2014: Collaborative Innovation Shaping and Changing Our World
View Do Labs Enterprise Social 2014 Predictions

You can download my report via slideshare.

IDC: Worldwide SMB Market Top 10 Predictions 2010

IDC SMB 2010 Predictions I attended IDC’s Worldwide SMB Market Top 10 Predictions 2010 conference call today.  The call was led by Raymond Boggs, Vice President, Small/Medium Business and Home Office Research, but included a long list of analysts from IDC’s Small Business team.

IDC predicts that while SMB IT spending will recover, the impact of the recession will linger, impacting spending.  The conference call provided insights into how SMB spending on IT is changing by company size, by geography, and by technology.

Here’s a summary of the top predictions as presented on the conference call.

  1. IT Spending Recovers, But Not Enough To Make Up For 2009 Decline:  IDC forecasts SMB IT spending will grow 3.7% over 2009 (decline in 2009 was 4.3%).  Total IT spending by SMB will reach  $509.6 billion in 2010.
  2. Developed Regions:  SMB spending recovery will be more modest in developed regions.
  3. Developing Regions:  IDC forecasts that we’ll see more dramatic SMB spending gains in developing regions, including CEMA at +9.9%, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) at +7.3%, and Latin America at +7.1%. 
  4. Mid-Sized Firms:  IDC says that IT spending growth in mid-sized firms will outpace spending in smaller firms. .
  5. IT Spending Categories:  IDC says all IT spending categories will benefit from the increased SMB spending in 2010.  IDC expects services, software, and PCs/peripherals will benefit most, with 3-4% gains.
  6. Workforce Productivity:  IDC expects growth in spending for productivity tools to support remote workers and mobile employees.
  7. Cloud Computing and Software-as-a-Service: IDC says spending for Cloud and SaaS will gain traction in 2010, especially among medium-sized businesses. .
  8. Social Media:   IDC predicts that the use of social media will rise as SMBs figure out how to use it to reach new customers and learn about new technology.
  9. Focus on Innovative Solutions with Near-Term Benefits:  IDC says SMBs will be looking for alternative approaches to solutions and productivity tools that can provide near term benefits.  Social computing, mobility, personal storage, advanced networks, Cloud computing and SaaS all can add new productivity capabilities to SMBs, but SMBs will be looking to implement those solutions that can provide quick benefits.
  10. IT Infrastructure:  IDC expects that SMBs will continue to focus on building infrastructure capabilities (storage, security, and network resources) in order to support initiatives.

I have a big place in my heart for SMBs as that is the market where I ‘cut my teeth’ in the early 80’s when I joined IBM as a S/34 Systems Engineer and worked later as a Sales Rep.  Back then there were many, many SMBs that I called on that did not even have a computer in house.  Getting some of them to install GLAPPR and BICSARSA applications was a major sales effort.  There’s no question that the market for selling and servicing SMB organizations has totally changed since the early 80’s!!

For more information:

  • You can listen access a replay of the conference call Worldwide SMB Predictions 2010
  • Watch the IDC website for the release of the document Worldwide SMB 2010 Top 10 Predictions: Challenging Economy Will Sharpen Technology Focus on Near-Term Productivity Gains
  • Check out the SMB IDC website “Solving the SMB Puzzle

Verizon: Top Ten Business Technology Trends For 2010

verizon-logo-470x3101 Verizon (  recently published its annual list of 10 business technology trends that it says will help companies grow their business in 2010.  While the list highlights the markets that Verizon plays in, the technologies are certainly ones that we should be watching.

Here’s a summary of Verizon Business’ list of 10 hot trends that will help move business forward in 2010 (my summary of the trend in italics):

  1. Enterprise Social Networking.   Social networking integrated into enterprise unified communications and collaboration strategies.  
  2. Aiming for the ‘Clouds’.  Cloud computing adoption continues, making IT more efficient and businesses more agile.
  3. 360 Security.  A trend towards applying security wherever data happens to be at the moment 
  4. Mobilizing the Workforce:  From Telework to Telepresence.  Companies to accelerate deployment of mobile apps to help spur productivity and innovation.
  5. Borderless Business.  Extending enterprise services and apps to employees, customers, suppliers and partners.
  6. High IQ Networks Fueling a Smart Economy.   Trend towards smarter networks will allow companies to allocate resources where and when needed.
  7. The Focus Will Be on Green.   The green trend continues to and will increasingly impact the way consumers and businesses make decisions.
  8. Seeing Is Believing.  Video is increasingly being used as a business tool to conduct meetings and deliver real-time content.
  9. More Wireless Apps, Especially Machine to Machine.   Wireless apps enable machines to communicate with each other and make “smart” decisions without human intervention. 
  10. 20/20 Vision.  Verizon ends with a very generic trend that says businesses will make better decisions in 2010 that will fuel their future growth.

For the full report, including video, audio podcasts and other related online resources, visit:

For Verizon’s 2009 top trends list, check out my blog post Verizon: 2009 Top 10 Tech Trends

Working Smarter: Building a Smarter Enterprise

A couple weeks ago, IBM and InformationWeek sponsored a webinar, Optimize Business Performance by Building a Smarter Enterprise, to explore the topic of how companies are improving business processes and workflows in order to become a smarter, more agile enterprise. 

You can view the video replay of the webinar.  You need to register first by going to Optimize Business Performance by Building a Smarter Enterprise

A featured speaker on the webinar was James Surowiecki, world-renowned business strategist and author of the best-selling book The Wisdom of Crowds.  Also on the call was Jon Iwata, Chief Marketing Officer at IBM.  Both of them spoke during the one hour videocast.

The way a company’s employees get their work done is a critical lever in optimizing business performance.  But we all know you can improve business performance just by working harder or spending more on resources.  You need to figure out how you can make your workforce work ‘smarter’.   The secret is to create a collaborative and connected business environment that empowers people, embraces change and ultimately increases productivity.

Some facts about the way we work:

  • The time we spend just looking for the right expertise and information to do our jobs adds up to two hours in a typical day
  • A typical organization loses 5.3 hours per employee per week due to inefficient processes impacting how they work
  • Two-thirds of people believe there are colleagues who can help them do their jobs better…but they don't know how to find them

To work smarter, we’ll need smarter organizations — enhancing and benefiting from their people’s expertise, enterprise and creativity, rather than inhibiting them.  Transforming the collaborative infrastructure and processes of our places of work will enable people to take advantage of the full scope of an instrumented, interconnected and intelligent planet.  And the good news is that many organizations around the world are showing the way.  The rest of us need to pay attention to these innovative companies and learn from their case studies…then apply what we have learned to our own companies.

For more on the Smarter Work topic, check out IBM’s Smarter Work website here.

Yankee: Workforce of Tomorrow Webinar

I recently attended a Yankee Group webinar titled "The Workforce of Tomorrow".  

The webinar focused in on how work employee work activities and habits today are rapidly moving away from historical patterns.  Remote, work-at-home, and mobile work is becoming a prerequisite for workers.  Yankee says unfortunately that many companies have been slow to react to these changes, resulting in lower productivity and employees feeling isolated.  As companies have increasingly been reducing business travel I suspect this is adding fuel to the growing fire.

According to a Yankee Group survey, nearly three-quarters of workers believe allowing employees to work from home benefits the company.  In addition, the majority of workers indicate that the ability to work from home is the single most important thing their company could do to increase their productivity.   Employees are demanding flexibility, and the companies that fail to react to this trend will be at a severe competitive disadvantage in the war for talent.

The webinar focused in on these trends that will impact the workforce of tomorrow.  The speakers discussed employees’ technological, social and professional needs and how to keep them connected.    The webinar runs about an hour.  You can access the audio here (mp3) and a pdf version of the slides here  or you can check out the embedded slideshare version below.

I have been working out of my house for IBM in a suburb outside Chicago for about 16 years.  During that time my management has always been in New York.  There is no question in my mind that IBM has been the major benefactor over the last 16 years.  They’ve saved thousands of dollars on real-estate costs and I have been much more productive than I would have been in a normal office setting.  And I know I have given IBM many more hours of work here at home than I would have given in an IBM office.   But IBM is to be applauded in this case as I have always been given access to productivity software and collaboration tools.  I have in turn exploited those tools and therefore have been able to feel connected to my New York colleagues.

At the same time, I can also say that I have benefited from the flexibility of being a work at home dad.  I have been able to participate in many of my kid’s school and after school activities that I would never have been able to do in a normal office. 

I was a little disappointed in the webinar as I really thought Yankee might touch on how social networking and social computing was going to impact remote and mobile workers.  I think that would be an improvement for their next webinar.

A couple additional related resources from Yankee on this topic includes…

  • Silent Killer: How Mobile Workers Sabotage Profitability,” by Josh Holbrook
  • The Future of Work,” by Josh Holbrook

  • Five Major Changes to American Life By 2020

    James Hughes Ph.D., author of Citizen Cyborg and executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) recently responded to a journalist's question about what he thought would be the five biggest changes to American life and society between now and 2020.

    1) Radical Life Extension.   Dr. Hughes suggested that emerging technologies applied to healthcare will cure/prevent diseases and slow the aging process.  There will be a growing realization that radical life extension is possible.

    2) Retirement Reform.   As a result of Trend Number 1 happening, we’ll eventually need to see large changes in retirement, work, pensions and taxation to take into account the extended life expectancy.  

    3) Unemployment/Workforce Retraining.  Advancements in automation, robots, artificial intelligence, etc. will lead to an increase in machines being used instead of human labor.  The workforce will need to undergo massive retraining.

    4) Sustainability.    Hughes says that the growing application of emerging technologies, such as genetic engineering of crops and nanotechnology, will be applied to the challenges of ecological sustainability.   Hughes mentions that the investments begun under President Obama to expand the development of renewable energies will greatly reduce our consumption of coal and oil.  Nanomaterials will allow us to reduce our use of resources in manufacturing.

    5) Impact of Telecom/IT Convergence.  The merger of computing and telecommunications will result in a ubiquitous interactive intelligence environment, for those with access to it. 

    Dr. Hughes sums his predictions up by saying "unfortunately for us futurists, the most important trend will be the rapid acceleration and completely unpredictable cross-fertilization of technologies.  So 2020 will probably take the five trends above for granted, and be consumed with the issues raised by technologies we can't even imagine today."

    To read the original article, go to

    A Primer on Telepresence

    With the economy the shape it is in right now, companies will be looking for an edge in cutting costs.  Watch for more companies to implement telepresence and video collaboration solutions in the effort to reduce corporate travel, improve global operations, and drive remote workforce productivity.

    Video technologies and organizational capabilities have improved in the corporate environment.  As a result, companies are finally able to realize strong business benefits to support efforts in business uses as varied as reducing the corporate environmental footprint, promoting globalized workforce collaboration, accelerating complex product development initiatives, and aiding remote talent acquisition.

    Telepresence Overview:  Telepresence – a kind of video conference providing the sensation that all participants are actually in the same room – is set for explosive growth.  TelePresence delivers real-time, face-to-face interactions between people and places in their work and personal lives using advanced visual, audio, and collaboration technologies.  These technologies transmit life-size, high-definition images and spatial discrete audio.  Telepresence delivers video that makes it easier than ever to discern facial expressions for those crucial business discussions and negotiations across the "virtual table." The telepresence illusion is so real that many execs forget the person they’re talking to is not really in the same room.  See a video of how this looks.

    Opportunity: According to recent research by ABI, the whole market, which includes telepresence equipment, network services and managed services, is forecast to grow from a 2007 level of not quite $126 million to nearly $2.5 billion in 2013.  Telepresence solutions can cost in the neighborhood of $300,000, but many telepresence operations are handled as managed services.  And less expensive “executive” systems designed for one or two people mean that telepresence technology is now migrating down to middle managers, expanding the market.

    Driving Forces:

    • The high cost of travel (in money, wasted time, and carbon emissions).
    • Increased need for a remote workforce to participate in time-sensitive collaboration sessions.
    • Demands of worldwide outsourcing
    • Improved and lower cost technologies for video, audio and collaboration

    Inhibitors: Videoconferencing has traditionally been a difficult technology to implement in the enterprise, with problems: latency, jitter, poor video equipment, insufficient concern over the videoconferencing environment, lack of business purpose, organizational commitment, and comfort with using this technology.

    Segmentation: According to a report by IDC (Worldwide Telepresence 2008–2012 Forecast and Analysis), there are three primary markets for telepresence solutions:

    • CEO and senior executive travel reduction (whether corporate jet or commercial airline travel),
    • Teamwork, and
    • Room rentals for companies unable to afford their own rooms.

    Vendor Landscape: According to ABI Research, (see their vendor matrix – registration required) the top five telepresence vendors to watch are:

    1. Cisco Systems – Cisco is positioned very well to participate in the future telepresence market and they are pushing their solutions at this website.
    2. Tandberg –
    3. Teliris –
    4. Polycom Incorporated:
    5. Digital Video Enterprises:

    Future Vision: It is easy to imagine a future where we use video conferencing as easy as we use instant messaging today.  The adoption will move from simple employee to employee webcam video calls to social networking and collaborative solutions that connect not only employees to one another, but CEOs to CEOs.  Future business applications will be video conference enabled, allowing businesses to collaborate seamlessly with their vendors, partners, and customers.

    Future Challenges: Looking forward to the future, the biggest obstacle facing the mass adoption of telepresence is interoperability.  Although telepresence vendors have begun to broach the issue of interoperability, the market is far from allowing complete federation across all systems to allow for room-to-room calling.  Vendors are pushing forward very slowly interoperability, saying that standards, modularity, and interoperability are at odds with the art and science behind creating telepresence experiences and the potential for continued innovation in this space.  So at least for awhile, interoperability will take a back seat to innovation.

    Hungry For more information?

    CEB: Five Imperatives for Businesses in 2009

    Want to get a feel for what corporate CEOs will want to do well in 2009?  Read on…

    The Corporate Executive Board recently published a list of what they call 2009 Imperatives.  These are things that companies must do well in 2009.  The list of imperatives was developed from hundreds of interviews with executive teams to review their plans and budgets.   The insights that surfaced from those interviews along with some additional research and insights resulted in the list of 2009 Imperatives.  Follow the hotlinks for more information on each of the imperatives.  

    1. Improve Cost Discipline:  Reduce Cost of Goods Sold and Capital Use, not General & Administrative Spending.  Focus on Cost of Goods Sold rather than General & Administrative expenses to achieve long-term cost discipline.  Incorporate capital costs into SKU reduction efforts.
    2. Protect Growth Initiatives:  Elevate, consolidate, and protect innovation funding.  Name and protect explicit growth bets in the capital budget.   Incorporate concrete innovation targets into performance expectations and reporting, even amidst belt-tightening.
    3. Leverage Financial Strengths:  Re-envision your value chain as a capital and pricing chain.  Foster innovations that target the shifting financial strength of customers and suppliers.   Use the crisis to price for the true value of intangibles that customers under-appreciate.
    4. Exploit Risk Opportunities:  Embrace, don’t eradicate, the right risk exposures.  Harmonize executive risk tolerances and pursue those you are uniquely positioned to manage.  Evaluate your contract portfolios with an eye toward renegotiating past (and changing future) contract terms.   Robustly manage fraud risks by identifying and punishing incidents of misconduct early in the down cycle.
    5. Make Critical Talent Plays:  Use today’s crisis to court & cultivate tomorrow’s winners.  Seize the opportunity to close critical skill gaps with “not-in-play” talent.  Reward relative outperformance (even if you must court the wrath of executive-pay watchdogs).  Use the economic crisis to sharpen the acumen of future executives.  Re-brand the employment value proposition to recoup productivity losses from suddenly disengaged talent.  Embrace offshore centers as a source for critical skills and next-generation executive leadership, not just low-cost execution.

    The 2009 Imperatives are part of a larger deliverable from the CEB called Executive Guidance for 2009 which will be released next week….so look for a potential future blog entry to provide you with the details on that.

    THE FUTURIST: Ten Forecasted Trends

    THE FUTURIST is a bi-monthly magazine published by the  World Future Society'.   The Nov-Dec 2008 edition's cover story is "Outlook 2009".  In the magazine, there is a list of Top Ten Forecasts for 2009 and beyond.

    The FUTURIST always has a flair for dramatic, attention-grabbing prediction/forecasting lists and this year's is no exception.  Here is a summary of this year's list…

    1. Every sound / movement can be recorded by 2030.  By the late 2010s, ubiquitous, unseen nanodevices will provide seamless communication and surveillance among all people everywhere.
    2. Bioviolence becomes a greater threat as the technology becomes more accessible.  Bacteria and viruses could be altered to increase their lethality or to evade antibiotic treatment.
    3. The car's days as king of the road may soon be over.  More powerful wireless communication that reduces demand for travel, flying delivery drones to replace trucks, and policies to restrict the number of vehicles owned in each household are among potential developments.
    4. Careers to become more specialized.  For example, instead of simply majoring in business, more students are beginning to explore niche majors such as sustainable business, strategic intelligence, and entrepreneurship.
    5. The world's legal systems will be networked.  The Global Legal Information Network (GLIN), a database of local and national laws for more than 50 participating countries will lay the groundwork for a more universal understanding of the diversity of laws between nations and will create new opportunities for peace and international partnership.
    6. Professional knowledge will become obsolete almost as quickly as it's acquired.  An individual's professional knowledge is becoming outdated at a much faster rate than ever before.  Rapid changes in the job market and work-related technologies will necessitate job education for almost every worker.
    7. The race for biomedical and genetic enhancement.  Humanity is ready and eager to pursue biomedical and genetic enhancement.
    8. Urbanization will hit 60 percent by 2030.   As more of the world's population lives in cities, rapid development to accommodate them will make existing environmental and socioeconomic problems worse. 
    9. The Middle East will become more secular while religious influence in China will grow.  Popular support for religious government will decline in the Middle East.  Religion in China will likely increase as an indirect result of economic activity and globalization.
    10. Access to electricity will reach 83 percent of the world by 2030.  Electrification, at 73 percent in 2000, may reach 83 percent of the world's people by 2030.  Electricity is fundamental to raising living standards and access to the world's products and services.

    Access the full detail here  Top Ten Forecasts for 2009 and beyond.

    Most of these seem like they are safe bets to me to be key trends by 2030, except for number 1 and 3.  I think those are much longer term trend (e.g. out another 100 years). 

    Accenture: 14 Trends Impacting Businesses

    "High performers don’t just find themselves in the right place at the right time.  They aggressively scan the horizon and act now to take advantage of opportunities and hedge against risk."   Quote from "Trends:  Back to the Future" – Sept 2008, Accenture. 

    Accenture recently published an article called "Trends:  Back to The Future" in the September 2008 issue of their Outlook Journal. 

    The article presents a list of 14 trends along with Accenture's recommendation for each trend.  The trends listed are wide and varied, but do include important trends that are causing macroeconomic shifts, upheaval in the business environment, concerns about sustainability and societal change.  

    To get to the 14 trends, Accenture tapped into 50 of their industry and technology SMEs to develop an initial list.  Then, in order to get a fresh perspective and new ideas, they surveyed 3,000 new Accenture employees from locations around the world and at every level of the company.  Finally, 14 trends and business imperatives identified here.

    My summary of the trends listed in the report is provided below.  As you will see, the focus of this trends list is more on current and emerging issues that are impacting businesses and not so much on on the impact of technology.  The 14 trends are listed in the sequence with which they appeared in the article, which according to authors, is in order of the importance assigned to them by the participants in Accenture's research.

    Here are the 14 trends along with the recommendations from Accenture on what to do about the trend.

    1. The rapid rise of emerging-market multinationals.  Heard of Emaar? Qatar Airways? WuXi PharmaTech?  Mahindra & Mahindra?   Accenture recommendations:  1) Prepare to compete against companies that are not even on your radar today.  2) Take options on new global business by forging links with select emerging multinationals.

    2. The expansion of “shoring” options.  Don't limit your options to just offshoring.  Accenture recommendation:  Develop a broad-based, blended model of outsourcing.

    3. Increasing demand for corporate social responsibility.  All stakeholders are expecting companies to be good corporate citizens by acting in a socially responsible manner.   Accenture recommendations:  1) Research and prepare for new customer-driven corporate social responsibility requirements, and 2) Tie corporate social responsibility initiatives to the retention of top talent, as well as to hiring.

    4. The need for abundant, secure supplies of talent, energy and other scarce resources.  Business execs need access to limited resources.  Accenture recommendations:  1) Turn scarcity into an opportunity, and 2) Launch a robust “talent pipeline” initiative to ensure a long-term supply of qualified employees.

    5. National loyalties slowing the process of globalization.  Accenture says that protectionist views and actions are on the rise throughout the world.  Accenture recommendation:  Develop a global mindset, not a rigid global corporate culture.

    6. Social networking as a business tool.  Accenture says that social networking is producing some striking benefits for the businesses that know how to use it.  Accenture recommendation:  Exploit the power of social networks for everything from hiring to R&D.

    7. Increasing demand for sustainability.  Accenture says businesses must match an approach to sustainability with proper expectations about the timing and scale of benefits.  Accenture recommendation:  Analyze different approaches and benefits to eco initiatives while avoiding self-serving “greenwashing.”

    8. Major new sources of capital.  Local and regional banks are the only sources of capital.   Accenture recommendation:  Understand how the new sources and flows of capital can offer advantages as well as risks.

    9. High demand for new and better infrastructure.  Infrastructure challenges (maintenance in developed world and building it in emerging markets) is a massive opportunity.   Accenture recommendation:  Evaluate the prospects for participation in infrastructure repairs, upgrades and development.

    10.  Rapid improvements in the delivery of government services.  Technology is improving government responsiveness.   Accenture recommendation:  Follow best practices from the private sector to provide better “citizen-as-customer” solutions.

    11.  Rising consumerism in emerging markets; uneasy consumers in the West.  Accenture says business need to target both developed and developing markets.   Accenture recommendation:  Capture the value of design, in both products and experiences.

    12.  Evolving sources of trustworthy information and advice.  Businesses must figure out how to effectively capitalize on the trust they have built while at the same time protecting their hard-won reputations.  Accenture recommendation:  Turn your reputation for trustworthiness into revenue.

    13. “Free” as a legitimate business model.  Google has shown that offering services for free is a business model in its own right.   Accenture recommendation:  Decide what parts of your business you could profitably offer for free—and the parts competitors could give away before you do.

    14. The rise of Africa as an important source of demand as well as supply.  Africa's economy is waking up.   Accenture recommendation:  Map Africa’s new market opportunities in light of global competitors’ moves, while keeping an eye on infrastructure challenges and political conditions.

    As mentioned above, you can access the full report here: "Trends:  Back to The Future"