You are here

2013 Predictions from the World of Data

Let me open by stating what I’m not: I’m not one of those psychic data scientists who can predict the future – although sometimes I wish I had gone to the same school that Nate Silver did! However, my hindsight has always been phenomenal!  It’s been a year of immense change and one thing I can predict with 100% certainty for 2013 – more change!

It’s become an annual tradition at this time of year to share technology predictions and trends that we should pay attention to in the coming year.  They have already started coming through thick and fast – see here for predictions relating to B2B MarketingSocial MediaIDCGartnerTech and even Jim Cramer! I’ve been thinking about this lately and I want to share my top predictions. 

1. The CMO rules (the CIO!)
OK, so maybe a little far-fetched. But, as a CMO, I think it’s a cool prediction. There is no doubt a massive debate is raging about the CMO spending more on technology than the CIO.  Look at how much focus has on the CMO at their recent Dreamforce conference.  I wrote about this in my recent blog entitled “The CMO’s new BFF – Data”.  Many analysts such as Gartner have been extremely vocal about the fact that CMO’s will soon be spending more on IT than the CIO.

2. Marketing becomes the new black
Enterprises realise that the modern IT buyer is more intelligent than ever before, because they research online in order to self-select innovative solutions. The role of Marketing expands in order to engage with these buyers in both digital and inter-personal dialogs before, during and after the sales engagement.  The classic 4 P’s of marketing (Product, Place, Price & Promotion) are now joined by two new P’s (person to person).  Take a look at this great infographic from McKinsey showing the evolution of digital engagement.  Marketers look at leveraging new collaborative cloud apps and data to drive greater productivity and engagement through both digital and interpersonal dialogs. Technologies such as Master Data Management rise in importance to the CMO together with new analytical tools to deliver customised content into the end-user.  However, a word of caution – marketers must remain focused on the basics as per this article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “Marketers, go back to basics”.

3. However … Social enters the trough of disillusionment
OK, so this may cause people to sit up and debate!  I believe that social is an incredibly powerful tool when used well and we are all being pushed to re-think the customer journey in a social world – unfortunately many companies still need to understand and leverage it effectively.  As such, Enterprises look for hard quantitative metrics in using social media and pull back from the incessant drive to tweet, blog and talk online while getting nothing done.  They begin to realise that it is more important to actually get the job done by using new collaboration solutions than simply tweet because it feels good. A recent Black Friday report from IBM suggested that Twitter in fact referred absolutely zero of the Black Friday traffic – which I find rather surprising given how much focus is placed on “social”! So we are going to enter a trough of disillusionment brought about by “social fatigue” that will be short-lived.

4. Cloud becomes the new black seems to do no wrong as they continue to eradicate on-premise CRM and build out the platform. Workday seems to be on top of the world replacing on-premise HR. The next big thing will be intelligent collaboration across enterprises as old-fashioned technologies like SharePoint come under the gun. Underpinning all of this is the need for cloud data integration and cloud master data management.

5. However … Cloud drives IT governance into the shadows
Cloud applications are often adopted by shadow IT in business functions precisely because they’re so easy to use and business doesn’t want IT to slow them down. But as critical data and business processes are now shifting to cloud, IT must find ways to enforce some governance (e.g. providing centralised cloud-based data integration services to cloud apps) without squashing business agility. Welcome to the era of Hybrid IT!

6. Data becomes the new black
Enterprises realise that everything comes down to data – whether that be for new analytics, driving customer acquisition, enhancing customer service or driving go-to-market strategies. Data roams everywhere—different applications, inside and outside your firewall, in the cloud, across social networks, the World Wide Web, in enterprise systems, on mobile devices and in mainframes. Harnessing this data and extracting relevant meaning from it all will become like the proverbial search for the needle in the haystack.  Data Integration grows in importance as Enterprises seek to bring meaning from this mass of data, no matter where it roams. Enterprises will realise that the traditional world of Application silo’s no longer provides competitive differentiation (whether on-premise or in the cloud) and will understand that it is the data held inside the applications that provides the only clear competitive differentiation of value.  Focus on unlocking the value of this data will rise as CIO’s increasingly realise that they Need to Take Control of Customer Data in order to deliver to the business a trustworthy and authoritative view of enterprise data.

7. However … Hadoop won’t make the tea!
Hyperbolic claims that Hadoop will replace databases, or ETL, will be tempered with the reality that Hadoop isn’t a hammer and that all data isn’t a nail. Hadoop is undoubtedly a great innovation in Analytics, but that’s all it is. 2013 will be the year in which enterprises realise that the world of traditional data will continue and Hadoop will simply augment reality with complementary capabilities.

8. Big Data Solves Crime & Enhances Society
Big Data use cases will explode during 2013 as enterprises move from the theory of Big Data to the practical use of Big Data to make the world a safer place and a healthier place. This will include the analysis of vast amounts of data to better track down cyber-criminals while leveraging data to enhance border security and cut-off channels through enhanced anti-money laundering techniques.  Big Data will play a pivotal role in driving health initiatives as well as enhancing the delivery of new and safer drugs.

9. However … Big Data moves beyond data scientists
Big data becomes democratised as tooling evolves to make it more accessible to the masses, instead of being dependent on a scarce group of expensive data scientists. Especially since 80% of the work isn’t the analysis—it’s the basic data integration and data quality.