Technology SMACdown Coming in 2013

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The concept of SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud) has evolved from a proof of concept to a technology platform that every IT department must take into account. Nucleus Research looked at key business pressures and the constant technology changes that every company struggles to manage, and we are betting on the following trends to SMAC companies upside the head in 2013.

Social Performance Management Takes Hold


More companies are adopting social collaboration technologies in areas like HR and performance management and companies from Salesforce.com to SAP are picking up or developing social performance management and gamification capabilities.

Add this tech trend to the influx of millennials -- who are used to constant praise and encouragement -- into the workforce, and we see social performance management as both an important productivity driver and liability for companies with poor performers and managers.

When a performance review happens in a company-wide application on a daily or weekly basis, instead of at quarterly reviews, both sides have a more clear and consistent path to argue for -- or against -- termination.

The Customer Experience Arms Race Continues

Marketing and acquisition spending around customer experience management reached a fevered pace in 2012, even for many vendors not traditionally considered as CRM market players.

Nucleus expects this will accelerate further in 2013 as companies seek to take advantage of the 80 percent of ROI potential that has yet to be delivered by CRM. We expect some real shifts in perceived market leadership as well, as customer experience requires a broader set of social and analytics technologies and capabilities compared to basic CRM.

BYOD Will Decline as Enterprise Mobility Grows Up

The hype behind BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is that it is cheaper and drives more productivity than traditional corporate-procured mobility.There is no doubt that the need for mobility is continuing to increase in the workplace.

However, the reality is that the support costs, compliance risks and usage reimbursement typically lead to a higher total cost of ownership with no discernible Return on Investment or productivity gains.As enterprise CFOs take a closer look at the true pros and cons of BYOD in 2013, they will seek to pursue the most fiscally responsible option -- corporate-based accounts.

A Big Data Interpreter in Every Village

In 2013, the biggest value proposition for Big Data will not come from the trendy topics of social media or governance, risk management and compliance (GRC).Instead, Big Data will help companies that have greedily latched onto every piece of data that they can grab from customers, partners, markets and the outside world and stored them as a dragon's den of accumulated treasure.

Learning Opportunities

With the emergence of Big Data search and analysis tools to support Hadoop distributions and other large data repositories, these data hoarders will finally gain the ability to filter and translate these multi-terabyte and petabyte stores of data on a daily or weekly basis to gain valuable insight on their existing revenue producing operations.

The Year of the Edge Application

The cloud is now a mature enterprise technology and is often seen as an advantage that allows for multi-tenancy, dynamic processing power, and variable storage based on the needs of the organization. Nucleus has seen that cloud-based deployments average 1.7 times as much ROI as comparable on-premise deployments and we expect this trend to continue in 2013.

Software as a Service has made it increasingly easy to add new applications and functionality at the drop of a hat.As opposed to traditional add-ons or third party solutions, these applications can be plugged into the core enterprise applications, just like apps on a mobile device. The pre-built connections with ERP and the delivery in the cloud will eliminate the need for IT to manage them and worry about what’s going to happen when the next upgrade is being installed.

In addition, many companies that made large investments in enterprise applications over the last 15 years are not planning to make a big move any time soon, but they need more capabilities than their old enterprise application provides. At the same time, both core ERP vendors and others are seeking to sell applications that leverage and extend ERP into other areas such as supply chain and collaboration.

This perfect storm of opportunity and need will make 2013 the year of the edge application and highlight the ease of integration (or lack thereof) of existing enterprise applications.We’ll also see increasing attention on the potential of the partner ecosystem to deliver value with more digestible edge applications.

Image courtesy of UltraViolet (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: To read more by Hyoun, check out How Social Human Capital Management Can Benefit the Enterprise

About the author

Hyoun Park

Hyoun Park is the founder and chief analyst at Amalgam Insights, an analyst firm focused on managing the data and finances of enterprise technology. Our key focus areas are on bridging the value gaps between analytics and AI, improving business planning, and cutting out the 30% excess cost in poorly managed IT environments.