As it start approaching calendar year end and incidentally it is a completion of first decade in this century. Last weekend, i sat down and mulled through some of the technology metamorphosis that i got to witness during the current decade and what can possibly unfold in next couple of years. With my little wisdom, could compile some observations in this write up.
This was a decade when many IT pros woke up looking to see if year 2000 DATE problem is solved (Y2K) and working in production.
2000-2001 was a year that saw major up-tick for doing business on internet. It was a year when techies who can do something around JAVA made it to US. However it finally ended in to a DOTCOM bubble making millions loose job and many going back to their homes. During those days, when many used to tell me that Java is going to die, i used to wonder how cum the only comprehensive programming language which helps one to program on internet can die (with due respect to Asp, PHP, CGI Perl, etc.). However this was first time i got to witness and experience the optimism-pessimism extremes.
2002-2003 was a year of industry consolidation. ERP implementations that began post 2000 were seeing some mixed results. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) became critical and several large Enterprises were looking to integrate their back office system with off the shelf CRM packages to improve customer touch points. Customer engagement, satisfaction, retention started becoming the priority of enterprises.
2003-2004 was a period when Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) trends were main stream and lots of Enterprises were seen spending to integrate their systems. B2B and B2C integration was the flavor of the day. Internet based architecture were graduating with more selective approach being taken than what was seen in early 2000.
In around 2004-2005 need for ensuring various compliance enforcement such as BASEL II, etc. became mandatory for several enterprises. Business Intelligence, Reporting which was around for years became increasingly crucial and integral part of business to get unified view into business.
EAI ultimately evolved in to a more solid trend in year 2005-2006 through Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Around this time, several software vendors aligned their offerings to make their products SOA enabled, compliant, friendly, etc. Enterprises were considering large SOA implementation as the necessity to open up their systems to ensure agility. It was also a time of merger and acquisition (M&A) and hence being SOA friendly/ready helped. Enterprise IT started embracing Enterprise Architecture for ensuring standards, governance, reuse, etc. as an important function to have.
By 2006-2007, Content Management, Portals and associated offerings slowly became the necessity of the day to ensure organization of unstructured data. Objectives were to build unified aggregated view through portals, ensure compliance through records management, execute friendly search on content. Mash-ups were considered to improve productivity. Social Networking web sites started seeing success and started becoming must have identity on web for individuals and professionals. Expressions through blogs started becoming one of the effective ways to share thoughts. Ability to capture end user feedbacks, and ratings became an important dimension in ensuring effective marketing and sales. Some of this and more got encapsulated in to an overarching term referred as Web 2.0
2007-2008 was a year when global economy was hit with another major crisis, commonly known as "credit crisis". This was a year that will go down in history where large investment banks collapsed like pack of cards, largest number of job losses witnessed ever. Credit got nonexistent, growth seemed like horizon. Investments in IT were literally frozen, new initiatives were non-existent and existing initiatives were finding hard times to move. To make matters worse, Satyam's fiasco questioned integrity of people running business, financial audits and various "compliance" related processes. It once again reinforced Corporate Governance is THE key aspect of running business.
Shadows of tough times continued in 2008-2009, environment demanded optimizing investments do more with less; doing things better, cheaper and faster; which to some meant being Innovative. Innovation became the most important theme across businesses.
In tough times, it was important to get at least "nature" on our side. Global warming that caught every body's attention in 2006-2007, peaked steam in 2008-2009 when urgent measures to check and control carbon footprint was/is considered the most important priority for the sustainable future.
With all the uncertainty in business environment as businesses were still grappling with the hit from credit crisis in 2008-2009, Large Capex (Captial expenditure) was absolutely NO-NO; Sustainability was as important as ever. The need for "pay as you use", operations management through remote data centers were once again becoming the need of the hour. Models like Software as a Service (SaaS), Cloud Computing seemed to be right fit for solving the prevalent IT issues of IT being cost centers; dealing with systems that gets frequently outdated and needs upgrades, large upfront investments, etc.
Year 2010 saw a mix of recovery with concerns of "Double-dip recession". The enterprises continued to consider new IT investments with a microscopic evaluation. Investments in Cloud computing models are being piloted.
Trends for next decade
Enterprises that have invested on the above mentioned mega themes such as Service orientation, Content Management, Business Intelligence, etc. will be able to better evolve their IT landscape for the benefits offered from IT trends in the coming decade.
As more and more pilots starts seeing results, in the early part of coming decade, Cloud Computing will pick up enterprise adoption and has potential of becoming one of the important paradigm shift in providing IT as service.
2000-2010 saw tremendous adoption of mobile devices, internet access on mobile became common thing in latter half. Several sites and applications were built and became accessible through mobile. As smartphones sees wide adoption, more interesting and widespread applications on mobile will become one of the key trends in early part of next decade, especially in India as the 3G services start rolling out.
High Performance Computing
High Performance computing has been around for a while but hasn't been fully exploited and applied for large set of common problems because of unaffordable and costly servers. This will change with processing power getting cheaper and cheaper; multi-core servers becoming order of the day; and further technology break throughs. More and more complex computation problems can be potentially solved faster, and cheaper.
NVIDIA is already setting the new standards in Visualization and GPU computing. 3D gaming, simulation, healthcare, fluid dynamics are rapidly benefiting from the usage of NVIDIA, CUDA technologies (http://www.nvidia.co.in/page/home.html).
Visualization technologies have tremendously evolved during 2000-2010, browser based User Interfaces were found continuously catching up with ever improving thick client interfaces. Microsoft is building significant strength in this space through continuous improvements in technologies, and devices such as Silverlight, Surface, etc. 3D viewing is slowly catching up and can become order of the day in the coming decade. Again NVIDIA like technologies will have crucial play here.
Very Large Datasets and Data Mining
Data has been growing exponentially. Additionally compliance requirements to keep data for certain period of time is slowly becoming the critical ask for every business. Very Large Databases will become the way of life for every small, large businesses. Large data sets can make decision making time taking and confusing.
Data mining though around for quite some time, hasn't been extensively used or applied to make intelligent fast decisions because of lack predictable algorithms. We should be able to see significant new innovative data mining algorithms which can help hasten decision making across various problems.
2000-2010 was a decade when Microsoft released several products to penetrate in to Enterprise IT space. Microsoft displaced significant Java market share through .NET; and ORACLE with SQL Server; Content Management with Sharepoint (http://blogs.forrester.com/application_development/2010/02/forrester-databyte-application-platform-adoption-trends.html) and continues to maintain leadership in desktop OS and Office products. It was a decade when Google got listed, and grown from strength to strength with its ever improving search offerings. Apple in the beginning of decade was completely written OFF, has caught up with iPod, iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc. and in May 2010 surpassed Microsoft on total market cap (share price * no. of shares) (http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-05-26/apple-overtakes-microsoft-in-market-capitalization-update3-.html).
It was a decade when about one third of period was spent in recession and remaining in consolidation and growth. If 2007-2008 was a period of large financial Institution bail outs then 2010 has turned out to be year of economy bail outs. US Central bank's action of printing more money and pumping liquidity into economy is seen as delaying inevitable by some leading economist. However there is a hope that this phase of extreme pessimism will also pass and strong growth will return.
With the winds of uncertainty and rays of hope, How 2011-2020 pans out will be a trillion dollar guess, who will catch up, what trends will die and what will be dominant remains to be seen as we are just days away from entering into a fresh decade.
There is so much to reflect on and so much to look forward, however would like to take a pause here.
Kindly feel free to log your views.
Wishing you and your families, friends, near and dear ones a very Happy Christmas; and Healthy, Happy Prosperous New Year and New decade!!!