With the threat of another recession looming, businesses will have to refocus where they concentrate their efforts and budgets in 2013.

Reconsidered Priorities

Harsh economic times and the threat of a recession will make most executives focus on short-term cost reductions to please their disappointed shareholders. Cutbacks on IT-budgets will force them to put value-creating IT-initiatives such as collaboration on hold.

Business intelligence will get a new boost as executives want to create a sense of being control in times of uncertainty, only to realize later on that what they really should have kept an eye on is the constantly changing consumer behaviors and perceptions of their brand and products, and that they should have focused more on achieving agility than control.

The Diminishing IT Department

Business stakeholders will continue to adopt and buy SaaS in order to achieve their objectives and get the work done. The COO, CMO and business managers will drive business development with IT and gradually make the CIO and IT department irrelevant in this respect.

There will be increasing coordination on the business side since more and more business stakeholders see potential synergies and want to reap the benefits of shared financing, but they will turn to external consultants rather than to the IT-department both to establish the required governance structures and to set their digital strategies.

A Platform Shift

Despite the harsh economic times, quite a few organizations will start upgrading to SharePoint 2013 during the next year. The integration between Yammer and SharePoint is one major reason, as business stakeholders have gotten used to sharing and discussing on shared spaces online, and it’s a key use case for mobile devices.

The golden age for SharePoint integrators will continue, but their services and skills will need to shift from platform implementations to development of services and solutions. This will be the last time that most -- especially mid-sized -- organizations take on a major migration initiative just to put a new platform in place.

They already know how the benefits of buying infrastructure as a service, and after experiencing the usual pains with upgrading a platform, they will look at buying the platform as a service as well. There simply is no time for business to wait for infrastructure and platform implementation projects to finish in order to get started with digital business development.

Digital business development needs to be a process that is never stalled by such things as upgrading to a new version of software, or installing a new server. Organizations will feel confident buying the platform as a service now that they can buy it directly from vendors such as Microsoft, Google, Oracle and IBM, and private clouds will kill the last resistance to cloud computing among legal and security people.

Editor's Note: Want to compare these predictions to Oscar's 2012 predictions? Social Business 2012: Say Hello to the Lean (Social & Mobile) Information Workplace