3 Predictions You Should Ignore for 2013

If you’ve been on Forbes this week, you’ve undoubtedly seen the first wave of 2013 predictions popping up. Yes it’s that time again, when industry pundits and prognosticators announce their picks for the “next big thing” in the coming new year.

Some have it right. Not to be a buzzkill, but others seem to be heralding trends that are either too soon, too late — or just plain wrong. So, here are a few that I think won’t come true in 2013:

#1: BYOD is the next big thing

Last time I checked, BYOD was no longer an emerging trend; it is already mainstream.

By the end of 2012, nearly 50 percent of all mobile carrier subscriptions in the United States will be smartphones, which equates to over 170 million smartphones in use. Something tells me that most people are not carrying one smartphone for business and another for personal use. We know that a good portion of these subscribers are using one phone for both.

In fact, according to an Enterprise Strategy Group survey, 88 percent of all enterprises allow their employees to use their personal devices at work (and by the way, 84 percent already do anyway).

However, there are new emerging trends relative to BYOD — Bring Your Own Apps (BYOA) and Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE). BYOA refers to the third-party apps that are being accessed over the corporate network on personal devices, while COPE devices are company-owned devices which employees can use for both personal and business purposes.

I predict the tools required to manage BYOD devices will experience hyper-growth in 2013, as only 11 percent are managing these devices for security and compliance, while 91 percent say they plan to.

#2: CIOs are going the way of the dinosaurs

Many pundits have the CIO dead and buried. The argument is that IT decisions and influence will move to executives in the areas of spend, like the Chief Sales Officer (CSO) or the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In fact, according to Gartner’s Laura McLellan, CMO’s budgets are now larger than the CIO’s — and growing. There are even rumblings from analysts that these departments will soon staff their own technologists; “Chief Marketing Technologist” is a new title I’ve heard mentioned more than once.

The fundamental flaw in this thinking is that IT decisions made in silos will lead to siloed operations — impacting efficiency, customer satisfaction and ultimately, profitability. Didn’t we all just spend the past decade trying to fix that very problem? It’s like asking companies to revert to the past, to before we figured out how to implement integrated systems that provide a holistic view of the business’s entire operations including customer, sales and financial systems.

What we’ve seen is that it’s this type of seamless operations that sets great companies apart from average companies. And the reality is that it can only be realized through dedicated focus and an overarching IT team.

That’s why if I’m sure of nothing else, it’s that the role of the CIO will be safe for another year.

#3: Big data will get really big, really fast

There’s no denying that big data is hot. I’m not questioning that. What I am challenging is the notion that everybody is ready for big data today.

Those of you that have read my earlier articles know that I am a big fan of big data. But, like many, my definition of big data is probably different than yours. I believe that big data is the idea of gleaning actionable insights from the vast and growing amounts of corporate data. Exactly what those insights are vary by company and department.

You see, big data is not some off-the-shelf solution that you can buy and install. It’s not like you can ask your favorite technology provider for a couple of “big data’s please!” Big data projects are inherently custom and complex.

So big data projects may not be for every company. Companies need to first determine which critical business questions remain unanswered and whether the data exists to answer them. Many companies will decide that there is not a requirement for an involved big data project. Others will want to proceed but ultimately won’t have the capability to do so.

It is this lack of know-how or skills gap that will ultimately keep big data deployments on the wish list for 2013.

Of course, that’s assuming the Mayans got their predictions wrong too — and we’re all still here come December 22nd to continue debating the “next big thing.” What do you think?


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