Monday, December 09, 2013

Predictions from 2004, where are we today !

A decade back almost to the date of writing this passage I had presented to my then management team the rolling 3-year Business Technology plan and hazarded predictions for the future. The plan had components of what we would focus on and required endorsement of business projects which would in turn get budgetary approval. The predictions were another matter; while a decade back opinions about IT were subdued, they did challenge some of the thinking and conventional outlook at that time.

It is not typical to make predictions as a part of an IT strategy or annual plan, at least I have not seen or heard of any, but it has been a trend that I have followed which makes life quite interesting for everyone on the table. It also creates a discussion on which technologies we should explore and invest time in. Some have followed the technology hype curves published by leading research companies while some have been an antithesis to them, my view as I saw the applicability within the enterprise or at times a hunch.

So here’s the original unedited list of 7 published in December 2003.

Web-tone will replace dial-tone. Almost everything will connect to a web service. Well we never got a web-tone though everything now connects to the Internet. Almost all calls and chats and collaboration use the web in some form or the other. Conventional voice communication has been losing minutes for a long time now and is not differentiable from VOIP traffic.

Software distribution will reduce significantly with all applications moving towards the Browser. Some of this was aided by thin client technologies and then the move towards browser enabling most front ends. However that did not last too long with the mobile demanding attention. Starting with WAP and other protocols, with HTML5 now almost all content is moving to the browser

Centralized computing will drive down costs. Well to some extent the centralization did happen with most client server applications dying away. But the new disruption happened with the highly virtualized data centre moving into the Cloud. Everyone promised that costs will come down with higher utilization and buying only what you want. The debate on this one is still on.

Portable devices will outnumber desktop devices. I am kind of proud of this one ! Mobile devices are indeed outnumbering the desktop or for that matter desktop and laptops combined. My prediction did not envisage the tablet and the phablet, it was based on higher speed data connectivity of which I kind of had a sneak preview in my telecom stint.

The distinction between the computer and the network will be eliminated. Maybe I was following someone who claimed that network is the computer a lot more than I would say now; the computing device and the network are intertwined integrally and feed of each other pushing the barriers to levels that were un-imagined earlier.

Skilled senior level manpower will be extremely difficult to find. I wish I was wrong on this one, but it has been indeed extremely difficult to find good senior staff across domains and expertise. I wonder why with so many people joining the industry globally, the available talent should go up. So where do people fall off during the journey that makes it difficult to find them ?

The computer is the next generation Idiot Box. With the computer changing its conventionally accepted avatar and TVs getting smarter, we being enamoured by smartphones and changing them ever so often, I think the devices we use are making us dumber. The computer is slowly getting distant from the user moving away to the cloud or getting into our hands in a 5-6” form.

I can’t say I got all of them correct, neither was I way off. A few years back I wrote about predictions and why they don’t matter anymore. Every year brings a new flavour and then half way through we find ourselves in a wave that we had no clue about. These get named as disruptive innovation and get into the hype cycle which all of us love to follow. No predictions now, let’s get down to some work.


  1. Good to see the analysis of self predictions. Most of the time predictions are based on our own self desire for that event to happen. Predictions are biased with the knowledge & preferences of one self. It is always an thrilling experience to visualize, dream & then see it becoming a reality, so keep predicting.

    1. Thanks Sanjay, I would probably also take some of my predictions from the past and continue to review reality of today !

  2. A good timely recall & sharing with all, your own decade back penned-down budgetary thoughts. Instead of looking at success ratio of predictions, it is interesting to realize & practice person's own prediction capability!

  3. Totally agree with your prediction on network as the computer and the the device changes ... where do you see the market going now beyond tablets or a google glass..

  4. I think you should continue with the predictions because each of these areas have evolved and they are relevant. VoIP got transformed into "Things-over-IP", Mobility exploded way beyond what people had imagined then, SaaS fundamentally is not new but transformed from ASP concepts etc. Some of the new entrants are Big Data, BSM/ALM transforming into DevOps etc. However what is important to notice is that all these are being pushed big time by the consumerization of technology and trends in consumer space and we have to stay very close to it . Some of the indicators to be read cautiously will:
    1) How Internet-of-things in my context will care for my people (employees/customers/non-customers)?
    2) Big Data is there but how do I enable my business to help my people using the least amount of data?
    3) How does connected crowd help my business?
    4) Eco-Innovation to make the world greener etc.

    1. Prabhas,

      Each of the topics you mention merit a post, will put them into my pipeline.


  5. O.I.C....! Interesting Arun.... So you are endorsing that fact that the CIO community is well read about the technology trends, dares to dream and then struggles to make the dream come true...! Congratulations, as in your case - you are more or less there...bravo... keep it up...!