Top General Trends To Watch In 2008

07xxxx BSPark Pictures 006This posting contains a list of important General Trends for 2008.  The list below represent general IT industry related trends that are significant to warrant increased attention during the 2008 calendar year.

Look for other two other posts on trends…one will provide a list of technology trends and the other will provide industry vertical trends.  

Top General Trends Impacting The IT Industry

1) Economic Uncertainty:  The impact of the ‘mortgage mess’ will be larger than we all hope for.  The worldwide economy will be volatile during the next few years. The U.S. consumer economy will slow, maybe into recession, with a resulting impact on the world’s economy. Specifically, this will weaken the business models based on consumer and Internet advertising. Advertisers, entrepreneurs and investors will switch their attention to B2B business

1a) Energy Prices:  Oil prices surged to $100 per bbl on 1/3/08.  Further price increases could have significant implications for the global economy

2) Greening/Climate Change:  Helping companies comply with Governmental Climate Change initiatives.  Increased focus on climate change, the use of  natural resources, and fossil fuels  have caused numerous government agencies and industry leaders and the public  to initiate various Green Initiatives, which are focused on the optimization of resource usage for both societal and economic reasons.   Example trends to watch:  Carbon Management, Water Management, and Climate & Weather Modeling

3. Globally Integrated Enterprise:  What will an enterprise in the 21st century look like? The best-of-breed globally integrated enterprise will be architected (1) to deliver competitive offerings by leveraging low-cost and/or specialized capabilities of its global partner network, (2) to foster innovation by collaboratively harnessing the expertise of its global workforce, and (3) to deliver locally-differentiated products and services to its global customer base by packaging multiple offerings.  This will require transformation of existing enterprises in terms of their processes, information technology organizational structures, governance models, workforce education, business agility and resiliency, etc.

4.  Business Architecture:  We’ll see more and more attention on innovation in business model design.  It’s quite clear that this is the path to the most sustainable kind of competitive advantage.  That’s one of the biggest reasons you hear the buzz around Service Oriented Architecture (or SOA).  If you want to be that kind of rapid-response, global player, SOA is the way clients are going to drive more and more flexibility into their application and business process base, and that flexibility is fundamental to business model redesign.   But you can’t just focus on implementing SOA, you need to first design the business model.  We expect to see a whole new profession of business architects and business model consultants.

5.   Emerging Markets:  The GDP in emerging countries continues to outpace that of developed nations.  The BRIC Countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China will continue to represent remarkable opportunities in terms of Outsourcing and IT spending.  It should be noted that business models in these countries are different than in mature economies, allowing businesses to leapfrog to new infrastructure technologies. 

5a) Africa: Africa, and its population of over 900 million, has worked its way into the global dialogue on economic opportunity. And while there are still many obstacles to be overcome, Africa is fast becoming a legitimate force in the global economy, thanks in part to an abundance of natural resources, a steadily growing economy, and some long-awaited political stability. 

6.  The Increasing Power of the Consumer:  Web2.0 tools and the growing integration of technology into every aspect of life – home, office, home office, family, car and recreation – will profoundly impact business technology.   The control of technology is shifting from corporations to individuals.  This will result in ‘consumerizing’ business IT and creating an entirely new consumer to business (C2B) as well as business to consumer (B2C) marketplace.   Examples include:  Apple iPhone, Amazon, Healthcare performance ratings, mobile search.

7.  Social Networking:  Social networks are webs of personal acquaintances made through common interests or circumstances.  Social networking applications are solutions that are predominantly designed to enable interaction between groups of individuals through the association of individuals either to each other or to a vertical domain. Social networking services are tools which allow users to represent and extend their social networks online.  We expect more hype surrounding social networks in 2008 as industry leaders attempt to find a way to make money in this space.

8.  3D / Virtual Worlds:  Virtual worlds will become a powerful tool and a driving force to what many are calling the 3-D Internet – one that is open, immersive, innovative, and social …  and that enables new or transformed applications that impact our business and societal progress, many we haven’t even imagined as yet.   In 2008 we expect to see a number of announcements on new consumer oriented virtual worlds that appeal to niche segments.

9.  Viral Marketing:  Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness, through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to computer viruses.  Viral promotions may take the form of funny video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, images, or even text messages.  Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message exposure and influence. 

10.  Mobility is Poised for the Next Phase:  Perhaps one of the biggest trends to watch is Mobility.  There is so much on the near horizon that makes this an exciting space to watch.  In 2008 we’ll see new devices, new infrastructure technology, increased focus (if there can be more) on digital content, new mobile search and advertising capability, and new enterprise mobile solutions. 

11.  Prediction Markets:  More corporations are setting up their own prediction markets hoping to tap into the wisdom of employees.  Prediction markets are being used to let employees weigh in on a range of matters, from product launch dates to sales growth to economic forecasts. Prediction markets are speculative markets created for the purpose of making predictions.  Assets are created whose final cash value is tied to a particular event (e.g., will the next US president be a Republican) or parameter (e.g., total sales next quarter).  The current market prices can then be interpreted as predictions of the probability of the event or the expected value of the param
eter.  Other names for prediction markets include information markets, decision markets, idea futures, event derivatives, and virtual markets.

As always, I am interested in your thoughts.  What trends did I miss?  What trends are important from your perspective?