"I confess that in 1901, I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years…Ever since, I have distrusted myself and avoided all predictions." -- Wilbur Wright, 1908
With none of Wilbur Wright’s humility, here are my predictions for some significant business developments in 2013.
Microsoft’s acquisition of the Yammer will be a game changer in the enterprise social space.
Even though Microsoft’s integration plans are not yet clear, it is certain that Yammer social capabilities will be integrated into Office, making it a compelling offering for many organizations. Furthermore, Microsoft’s low price point for Yammer will force competitors to react or disappear.
Mobile social business becomes real for the mainstream business worker in 2013.
According to Forrester Research, 28 percent of workers already use three different devices for work. And that number will surely grow significantly in 2013. Interestingly, a big driver for mobile is the ability to work inside the office but away from the desk, for example in meetings and in other buildings. This need to stay connected while on the move will fuel the growth in the use of mobile social technologies, in the office and at home.
On a related note, the explosion of tablet sales will force IT departments to deal with the reality of the iPad at work
by extending smartphone BYOD programs to the tablet. Apple has already shipped 100 million iPads, and another 100 million are projected to be sold in 2013. According to Forrester Research, the greatest needs for the tablet at work are to access business applications and to access team document sharing applications (like SharePoint). Forget about Facebook and Twitter, the focus will be on enterprise applications to do real work.
As "mobile social" catches on through BYOD programs, organizations will realize the need to provide consistent user experiences to business applications across all the devices used by workers, both in the office and on the road. This need is driven by the fact that changing user behavior is the biggest impediment to the adoption of new technology. While early adopters may tolerate inconsistent user experiences to gain the benefits of ubiquitous social connectivity, mainstream users need easy and consistent user experiences to be productive. Organizations that provide a simple, consistent user experience will have a significant competitive advantage.
A new player will emerge in enterprise social.
In addition to SharePoint, IBM Connections, and to some degree Jive, another player will emerge to compete, first in niche markets and then in more broader markets.