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December 22, 2011updated 19 Aug 2016 9:28am

CBR’s Top Predictions for 2011: how we scored

How accurate was CBR's crystal ball this year?

By Jason Stamper Blog

2011 predictions

Back in January this year we published our Top 6 Predictions for 2011. They were as follows:

1. Cloud computing will hit ‘Trough of Disillusionment’
2. This is the start of the non-PC era
3. Social networking invades the enterprise
4. ‘Private cloud’ computing will hit Peak of Inflated Expectations
5. Google has another go at social networking
6. Autonomy will be bought in 2011by IBM

So now as we near the end of 2011, we thought it would be interesting to assess the power of our crystal ball – what did we get right, and what did we get wrong?

1. Cloud computing will hit ‘Trough of Disillusionment’ – miss

Cloud had been at the peak of inflated expectations in Gartner’s Hype Cycle of Emerging Technologies for 2010, so we were sticking our necks out quite some distance on this one. When Gartner published its Hype Cycle of Emerging Technology for 2011, cloud computing had moved just past the peak of inflated expectations, but it wasn’t down in the doldrums of the Trough of Disillusionment.

However, you’ll notice that cloud/web platforms was indeed in that Trough, and furthermore when Gartner then released a Hype Cycle just for cloud computing public cloud storage and cloud/web platforms were very much in the Trough.

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What Gartner is really saying is that certain types of cloud computing are at different stages on the hype cycle. Some are in the trough, as we predicted. But we won’t chalk this one up as a ‘hit’ because we weren’t specific enough in our prediction – were we?

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

This was a fairly safe bet. As we noted in our original list, "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." Ain’t that the truth.

We also said, "these… things mean that device management, mobile security and data loss prevention will rise up the agenda too". Unless you’ve spent the year on the moon you will have seen the headlines.

3. Social networking invades the enterprise – hit

With many firms still barring staff from various social networking sites this was not such an easy guess back in January as you might think. But we got this one right – BT’s Customer Service Futurologist Dr. Nicola Millard said in November that social networks may be the best tools for business collaboration.

Atos’ CEO Thierry Breton obviously agrees – he said back in February that he wants his firm rid of email inside three years, instead using a range of real-time and social tools to collaborate.

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

In Gartner’s 2010 Hype Cycle private cloud computing was about mid-way up the Technology Trigger slope. We guessed right that by this summer when the 2011 Hype Cycle came out it would hit the Peak of Inflated Expectations.

Gartner now says of private cloud that, "Private Cloud Services may be over-marketed, but there’s substance behind the hype that CIOs need to understand." And of course, Gartner will help CIOs do just that. Or you could always gem up on private cloud in CBR.

5. Google has another go at social networking – hit

No great surprise here, despite Google having tried and failed several times, for example with Orkut, which it launched in 2004. But it was in June this year that, as predicted, Google launched Google Plus.

And how is it fairing this time around, its third major inroad into Facebook territory? Futurologist Robert Scoble told CBR "I still don’t think we have seen the perfect social network." And in September reported that posts by Google Plus users were down 41%. It’s not looking like derailing the Facebook juggernaut just yet.

6. Autonomy will merge with OpenText and be bought by IBM – hit (kinda)

OK, so Autonomy was bought by HP rather than IBM, and it had not merged with Open Text. But we stuck our necks out with this one back in January – Autonomy was on an upwards trajectory and there was no reason to think a sale was on the cards.

We can’t find another technology magazine that predicted Autonomy’s sale in 2011, and although we had to wait until August for it to happen, our crystal ball did us proud, we reckon. Autonomy didn’t buy Open Text but it did instead by Iron Mountain’s Digital business for the same reasons that it would have thought about Open Text.

We weren’t too far out with the thought that it could be IBM who would be Autonomy’s suitor, either. Some called HP’s Autonomy buy it’s "IBM moment", while it’s likely IBM did consider a move for Autonomy.

Shebly Seyfari, an analyst at FBN Securities described HP’s acquisition of Autonomy like so: "Without saying so, (HP) is saying ‘I want to be more like IBM’. What did IBM do many years ago? They divested their PC business and they got more involved in software."

While Rajeev Bahl, co-head of research, software and IT services at the Matrix Group said, also in August, he would, "expect both IBM and Oracle to take a good look at Autonomy. For HP it seems a less natural move given their lack of a database or enterprise content platform. For IBM, Autonomy fits well as a piece of their infrastructure offering alongside Cognos and DB2."

So there you have it. We’re giving ourselves 4.5 out of 6 for the accuracy of our predictions. But then again, we might just be accused of a little bias.

Merry Christmas to all of our readers.

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