Summary: It looks like it’s part of the good manners for strategic thinkers to use the personal crystal ball and unveil the predictions for the coming year in December. Since I consider myself to be a strategic (though pragmatic) thinker when it comes to the new mechanics for information and knowledge work I don’t want to fall short here. So hold your breath and enjoy the read:

My top 6 for 2013

  1. Enterprise 2.0 will stand more for a different kind of working and less for the ‘network’
  2. The CIO department will become an interpreter & productivity enabler
  3. Social software growth will slow down
  4. If you’re not in the cloud you’re not digital
  5. Windows 8 will become a grown up workplace for early adopters
  6. Google+ will become a kick ass workplace for small & medium enterprises

Enterprise 2.0 will stand more for work and less for network

First it was the adaption of 2.0 – not even “social” – services in business context. Wikis, blogs, communities where the new way of capturing, developing and distributing content. With the stelar success of Facebook and Twitter came social software that promised unlocked potential through connected expertise, experts and a transparent dialogue.

My prediction is that 2013 will be the year in which “social” will be present in the context of productive work. First companies will lay the foundation for a new excellence in receiving, enriching and re-using information. This will not happen in the “I want to share this with all of you my beloved colleagues” mode but in the “after they got it done it simply became the DNA of our work and attached itself to similar challenges”. Social will stand for a “mode of connecting” intellectual assets – pro-actively and reactively. I believe that social will be an extension and node at the same time. We will see the first real development of socialised business IT.

See also: Is social maybe only the extension of existing assets?

The CIO department will become an interpreter & productivity enabler

Some say that with the introduction of cloud services the IT department will loose importance. I actually believe that the CIO department – like future editors in the media business – have to re-invent their role. It will be less about delivering on the requirements (or rather demands) of business stakeholders. It will be about coaching the business to ask the right questions and identify a set of solutions that will not just be beneficial to some.

The CIO department will coach the business to identify what prevents them from delivering on their objectives and promises. Together with the business they will find the right balance between proprietary and open solutions, between on premise and cloud, between customised and OOB.

I believe that – despite the continuously increasing savvyness of business stakeholders – synergetic, evolutionary and value focussed solution design requires expertise. Less in the bells and whistles of a particular solution than in the ability to quickly understand, evaluate and decide for the right thing.

Social software growth will slow down

It might be a bit bold but I actually believe that the corporate Facebooks and Twitters will – despite ramping up new bells & whistles and interfaces to ERP & Co – experience a slow down in growth. The “new platform” for a lot of new conversation and everything else as well does not sound good to me. I don’t want to mention names but all the clones of social media services will experience challenges in justifying their value for money. Because it’s taking the second step – connecting people with shared subjects – before the first one: connecting people with common goals (and enabling individuals to be efficient in day to day operations).

See also: Deliberately provocative – social software is only the echo of a trend

If you’re not in the cloud you’re not digital

Seriously… In 2010 a industrial manufacturing CIO said to me (and I quote): At some point the savings will compensate for the risk. That will be the day where 85% of our stuff will be in the cloud.

If a company does not embrace cloud based solutions it will not be able to profit from the substantial potential the “new way of working” has to offer:

  • proper mobility (and I don’t mean an iPad for everyone *yawn)
  • talent acquisition and retention with new work/life balance concepts
  • executing on the concept of “networked enterprises”
  • bridging the external and internal use of social mechanics

At this point I want to set one of my most naive statements with regards to security in stone: ‘If you ask yourself if major cloud service provides are secure ask yourself the question: how will the founders and investors feel about a forever and ever full stop for the business after a substantial security leak?’.

Windows 8 will become a grown up workplace for all the early adopters

This one hurts…really. I’ve always been an Apple fanatic. The Apple store is my church and I still think that I am more productive on my MacBook Air than on a Lenovo whatever. BUT… Windows 8 is a revolution. It’s not an OS. It’s the introduction of a cross-device workspace. It will – in the long run – deliver information workers everything they’ve been asking for for so long:

  • transparency and easy capturing of “need for action”
  • convergence between me, us and private in one secure place
  • multi-tasking when it really makes sense
  • situation based information retrieval and management

Delivering value on Windows 8 will simply happen through the concept that was introduced by Apple with the apps on iPhone. Little containers that concentrate the users attention on just enough stuff – with the opportunity to dive in, switch or combine.

Good by heavy business applications. Hello light weight little productivity helpers.

Google+ will become a kick ass workplace for small & medium enterprises

I cannot help to add this here after Communities (or basically open and closed groups) were just recently introduced. I’ve been waiting for that for a long time. Despite the fact that there is no proper integration with Google Drive as a document/collaboration repository yet I think that this is it. If you run a small/medium sized company this is your place to work. Productive, connected and always available (online/offline is solved in Google Drive…). Full UCC suite in the cloud. Secure access to your stuff from any device.

Furthermore: with Google being the masters of search information work automation will sneak into that workplace sooner or later. To match relevant content and protagonists (in all directions) shouldn’t be rocket science for the scientists in the Silicon Valley.

So what do you think…what’s your take?

4 comments

  1. Depending on how broadly you define “workplace”, I believe small companies will maintain a healthy amount of distrust for permitting any cloud-based software provider from having end-to-end control over SMEs data. It was not too long ago that Yahoo! eroded the trust of many SMEs by occasional failure of small business services/tools. Loss of data cripples an SME. Google’s SME tools (e.g., mail) have been more reliable but the same institutional fear of the mid-90s MSFT juggernaut has migrated to fear/mistrust of Google. If Facebook was not so walled-garden-esque and internally focused (the way Yahoo! was a decade ago) there would be similar fear of its control over SME data if they catered to the SME market.

    1. In this context I would define “workplace” as the environment for information workers to be productive and “get work done”. I have to admit that in my opinion SMEs in particular will be the ones to adopt cloud services. From my experience it’s the concerns around privacy and data security that prevents large organisations from migrating to the cloud. The majority of SMEs will not face the same level of compliance issues. The level of integration of Google’s ecosphere, up-time (it’s almost 100%) as well as the pricing of their suite will be other big pro-arguments. Plus: let’s be frank…it’s more likely that your IT dude kills the mail server than (at this point in time) any large cloud service provider to experience full data loss.

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