first post about trends in the enterprise for the coming year, we looked at five forces that will rise in importance in 2010.In our
In part two, we picked five more trends that we feel will have importance in the enterprise for the year ahead. The more we look at the space, the more we see how mobile looms over all of these trends. It will help shape IT spending in the years ahead as smart phones and other devices increasingly become part of daily work life.
The use of API's will come on strong in 2010 as more companies adopt web-oriented architectures that reflect the growing importance of using social technologies as communication and productivity applications.
For instance. you may know OpenSocial as a consumer-facing service for Google gadgets to integrate with Ning, MySpace and LinkedIn. But its true potential may be in the enterprise. Just before Christmas, OpenSocial announced it had written a white paper on a number of enterprise vendors. The paper lays the framework for an API infrastructure that customers may use for integrating Google gadgets. Companies participating in the effort include Atlassian, SocialText, CubeTree, Cisco, IBM, SAP, eXo Platform, Alfresco and of course, Google. Each of these enterprise vendors is integrating with OpenSocial to extend its products and for purposes of interoperability with other enterprise vendors.
We expect that in 2010 more companies will develop API road maps to push information out to customers. We'll be watching companies like Sonoa Systems and Mashery as barometers for API adoption in the enterprise.
Web Oriented Architecture
The concept of web oriented architecture (WOA) first emerged a few years ago. Gartner's Nick Gall developed the concept and it has since grown in scope. Dion Hinchliffe recently wrote a WOA "un-manifesto," detailing the 17 principles that guide it. The future of WOA does not mean the end to service oriented architecture (SOA) but it does point to a shift in views about the way the Web works in the enterprise.
As he always does, Dion Hinchliffe accurately illustrates the concept:
WOA's influence can't be underestimated. Enterprise architects are looking to data-oriented services. Traditional SOA is still important to many organizations but the trends clearly point to the deeper availability of Web service components. And with this comes an increasing volume of applications that can be easily developed. Application architectures will be increasingly perceived as dynamic, configurable items, like pieces loosely joined.
Social media has to be one of the most over-used phrases of the year but it should not reflect on the increasing need for community management practices within the enterprise. We expect community management to become an increasingly valued role. You only need to look as far as the proliferation of API's to understand what is happening. As pieces of information spread to communities across the web, the need to create a stronger bond will only intensify. The idea being that as more communities engage, the need to service them will change. The processes for spreading and aggregating information will become further automated but people with communications and technical skills will be increasingly needed to keep the communities cohesive.
VoIP will move deeper into the enterprise. The days of closed, siloed telephony systems are coming to an end. The freedom of web-based communications will be far more clear to the enterprise customer this year as the sheer volume of applications and features enter the market. Again, this trend in many ways stems from the move to WOA in the enterprise. The move is to the web. Voice will also heed the call.
A number of factors point to this trend. Google's intentions to enter the enterprise are pretty clear. Google acquired Gizmo5, the web-based service for making calls from your computer or your mobile phone. This is a service that Google is expected to provide as a business service. Bandwidth.com recently unveiled its nationwide voice IP-network. Skype is making a play for the enterprise. Cisco and Skype have a partnership to offer Skype's service to customers. Avaya is said to be close to a deal with Skype.
The signs are all there for VoIP to be a trend to watch next year.
The Big Sync
Finally, cloud computing will continue its pace as a trend to watch. But with it will come a battle that will leave some players bruised and battered. Microsoft has to be the most vulnerable. Joe Wilcox of Betanews makes an interesting point about this in a post about the need for Microsoft to do a better job in syncing mobile devices to the cloud.
Syncing has real importance with the advent of the mobile enterprise. Take the Blackberry as an example and its ability to sync to your email. Now, we have applications that update all the time. Syncing is critical in order for these applications to work on your mobile device. Wilcox makes the point that Google seems to get this and has done a good job in providing the ability to sync on the mobile. Ironically, this is in large part thanks to Microsoft, which licensed its "ActiveSync," technology to Google. Soon after, Google used ActiveSync in "its e-mail, calendar and contact synchronization from its cloud services to iPhone and Windows Mobile handsets," writes Wilcox. "Google also used the technology to provide Exchange Server sync with Google Apps, so that businesses could use the hosted service instead of Outlook."
Google has it right. Apple seems to get it. But Microsoft does not have a clear path for syncing updates across a wide network of applications to a mobile device connected to the cloud.
As we look deeper into trends, it's evident that Google is getting a lot of attention. But the attention is deserved. Google took advantage of the recession to invest in research and development. Microsoft keeps promising big things but its direction is confusing.
How data is accessed and delivered is the name of the game in 2010. It's a disadvantage to keep information in a silo. Monolithic applications and static documents will be less valued, replaced by a mobile enterprise fueled by web-based services.
We saw massive adoption of the social Web in 2009. Next year will be the year where WOA and mobile technologies become core parts of the infrastructure for the enterprise.