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January 13, 2011updated 19 Aug 2016 10:05am

CBR’s Top 6 Predictions for 2011: back to the future?

As the world of IT moves back to centralised computing and tablet computers enjoy a renaissance, CBR outlines our top 6 predictions for the coming year.

By Jason Stamper Blog


Here are CBR’s top 6 predictions for 2011. Agree, disagree or have any better predictions? Leave us a comment below, and we’ll add the best ideas to make our list into a Top 10. How’s that for crowdsourcing?

1. Cloud computing will hit ‘Trough of Disillusionment

While CBR believes that cloud computing holds much potential for cost-cutting and more agile IT, billing and service delivery, 2011 will be the year CIOs start to cover their ears when it is mentioned.
According to Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2010, cloud computing was at the Peak of Inflated Expectations but teetering on the brink of that Trough of Disillusionment. While the 2011 Hype Cycle has not been published at the time of going to press, we’re pretty confident that cloud computing will be heading down into the doldrums when the latest research comes out. Over-hyped, misunderstood, and a catch-all for all sorts of technologies that have little to do with the initial concept, it’s time the industry got real about cloud. We did our bit to cut through some of the hype with the article ‘Why cloud is no panacea‘ in September. The good news for cloud is that after the Trough of Disillusionment most technologies can expect to start creeping up the Slope of Enlightenment, and we see no reason why cloud won’t do the same.

2. This is the start of the non-PC era

Analysts have said that 2011 will be the first year that over 50% of computing devices sold will be smartphones, tablets and non-PC netbooks. "2011 will mark the tipping point as the growth of applications for non-PC items outstrips traditional software sales and consumers embrace a wider variety of devices," says Peter O’Donoghue, head of Deloitte’s technology industry practice.
For enterprise IT, there are a number of considerations here: firstly companies will be under more pressure to let staff use the devices that they prefer rather than the devices the company deems it necessary to support; mobility is the name of the game and staff will demand access to all their corporate resources on the move if they haven’t been given them already; and sadly these two things mean that device management, mobile security and data loss prevention will rise up the agenda too.
Vast numbers of companies will buy their staff tablets in 2011; vast numbers of tablets will be ‘lost’, ‘stolen’ and broken this year too as companies discover they are more desirable and fragile than their predecessors.

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3. Social networking invades the enterprise

Facebook is already the most-visited website in the world, while Twitter is adding 300,000 users per day. Staff are already logging on at work which some companies consider a headache and others consider at worst a sign of the times, and at best a legitimate way of keeping in contact not just with friends but colleagues, partners, suppliers and customers.
This year you’ll hear of more companies removing the blocks on social networking use at work, and you’ll also hear more from companies that can use some of the same paradigms to give companies their very own social networking sites that are kept safely behind the firewall.

4. ‘Private cloud’ computing will hit Peak of Inflated Expectations

Just as cloud computing is reaching bottom as far as the hype relates to the reality, 2011 will be the year almost every company talks about their ‘private cloud’ strategy.
Essentially doing what cloud did but delivered more ‘privately’ by a third-party provider or delivered by the organisation itself to its own departments, offices and subsidiaries, private cloud appeases many concerns CIOs have about the broader cloud computing: namely around security and governance.
Most consider virtualisation a stepping-stone to private cloud and those that haven’t already started virtualisation are sure to in 2011.
It’s not without its detractors, however, and 2011 will see more direct scrapping between ‘traditional’ cloud providers (can you believe there is already such a thing?) and private cloud providers. You’ll also see more companies that simply sell hardware and software say they are optimised for private cloud, whatever that means.

5. Google has another go at social networking

Ever since Facebook looked like it would become the most viewed website on the Internet – a goal it has now achieved – Google has been worried. Worried enough to make a series of acquisitions and try and topple Facebook’s strangle-hold on the personal networking market with initiatives like Latitude, Wave and Buzz. So far, so disappointing.
But Google’s reliance on traffic to sell advertising (it’s primary business and revenue driver) means that Google can’t afford to leave this market to Facebook and others. While an out-right acquisition of Facebook is unlikely (Facebook is valued at around $50 billion) rest assured that Google will build or buy more social networking traffic this year.

6. Open Text and Autonomy merge, then IBM buys the combined firm

A long shot perhaps, but Canadian content management mavens Open Text and British meaning-based computing and search firm Autonomy were rumoured to be as-close-as-this last year: a merger would make a certain amount of sense, too. Autonomy has already won the enterprise search wars, and Open Text would value its technology patents and European presence. Meanwhile Big Blue regularly makes big software acquisitions, and these two could be contenders individually or together.

Agree, disagree or have any better ideas? Add your comments below.

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