Last year, we saw three trends making lots of noise and a fourth one closely following – Cloud Computing, Big Data, Mobility, and Social networking for the enterprise. Let me comment on each one as we enter 2013.
In cloud computing, the focus shifts to Platform as a Service (PaaS) as SaaS is now accepted into the mainstream. CRM and HR applications dominate the space with SalesForce.com and Workday as leaders. Microsoft, for example, is evolving its Windows Azure from a PaaS to Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). Last year, it added persistent-state virtual machine support to Azure, allowing it to accommodate a wider variety of software, including Linux. Microsoft also introduced Hadoop for Azure and support for MapReduce. Amazon’s AWS stack now blurs the boundary between PaaS and IaaS. SalesForce.com wants to be a PaaS player via its Force.com platform for developing any SaaS offering. Besides CRM/HR cloud apps., we have seen emergence of financial apps for midsize companies – Adaptive Planning, Anaplan, Host Analytics, and Tidemark are some example companies.
In Big Data, the focus will shift more to analytics and data visualization. The other key trend is “data in motion”, where capture and analysis can be done for split-second decisions. The post-Hadoop era has started and we see a host of new players offering near-realtime data reduction and analysis. This trend will accelerate. A set of NewSQL players (not NoSQL) are adding scale and performance to Postgres or MySQL, that can also be offered as a cloud service. Relational databases like IBM’s DB2 and Oracle will dominate the enterprise space, given its long years of proven robustness and reliability. However extreme scale in the order of petabytes will attract newer solutions.
Mobility is a given, thanks to the outselling of iPads over PC’s. Last year iPad sales exceeded Lenovo’s number of PC sales. Cloud computing assumes user devices like iPad, Android, and smart-phones for users. Apple boasts over 700,000 iOS applications. Microsoft has a lot of catching to do with its slow sales of Surface RT. Going forward, every enterprise application must design its UI to the form factors of mobile devices. This will be a price of entry for any vendor. Gone are the drop-down icons on Windows as UI.
Social networking has grown a great deal for consumers, but enterprises are still struggling to figure out the proper usage and business benefits. Social will come into the organization through the back door (much like how PC’s entered the business during the 1980s and 1990s). A communication director may test out a company page on Facebook or customers complaining about or praising your company on their Twitter profiles or traditional enterprise applications being updated with social capabilities, there will be social. Hence it may be worthwhile your company should have some policy around social. I think enterprise applications will integrate more social features. Someone said that Facebook will matter less, but Twitter and Pinterest will be of more significance.
Welcome to 2013.