I can’t help it. I enjoy the end of the year technology predictions, even though it’s hard to argue with this tweet from Merv Adrian:
By 2016, 99% of readers will be utterly sick of predictions.
— Merv Adrian (@merv) December 19, 2015
With that in mind, I recently participated in a SandHill.com Q&A on predictions and the year in review. Here are my answers and the links to the other responses on the Sand Hill site [updated on January 4th 2016 to add a new answer and more prediction links]:
Imagine that you have a time capsule to fill. What is the most important news item about a software company that occurred in 2015 that belongs in the capsule, and why?
The resurgence of Microsoft as a cloud company was big news in 2015. Under the leadership of Satya Nadella, the company has once again become relevant, despite a continued decline in PC sales. On its most recent earnings call, financial analysts noted that, “cloud is the epicenter of the growth story,” which represents the ultimate tipping point for enterprise cloud computing adoption.
Who was the biggest tech disruptor in 2015?
Microsoft’s resurgence is the biggest news of 2015, but Amazon, and specifically AWS, has done the most to disrupt traditional approaches to delivering (and purchasing) software in the enterprise. From AWS Aurora and Redshift for database management and data warehousing, to AWS GovCloud, which brings public cloud options to US government agencies, AWS continues to set the cloud computing standard for enterprise IT organizations and independent software vendors (ISVs).
Aside from the Internet of Things, which of the following software areas will experience the most change in 2016 – big data solutions, analytics, security, customer success/experience, sales & marketing approach or something else?
2016 will be the year of the data lake. It will surround and, in some cases, drown the data warehouse, and we’ll see significant technology innovations, methodologies and reference architectures that turn the promise into a reality. At the same time, big data solutions will mature (read: security, governance, metadata management) and go beyond the role of being primarily developer tools for highly skilled programmers.
In 2016, which software company will be the biggest game-changer for the long term?
From a cloud applications perspective, we continue to see Workday, ServiceNow and, of course, Salesforce expand their footprint and disrupt their markets. From a data management and analytics perspective, more and more Hadoop projects are moving into production with Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR while also looking to Spark and Databricks, which are gaining significant mindshare for real-time, in-memory computing as well as cloud-based deployments. Meanwhile, Microsoft, AWS and Google continue to push the boundaries of the cloud, each now offering data management / cloud analytics solutions. With that as the background, it’s difficult to pick one software company as the biggest game-changer for the long term. On the other hand, I have to give credit to Amazon for continuing to change the game in each market it enters.
Which software company executive will be in the news headlines the most during 2016?
Does Elon Musk count? The Hyperloop concept is amazing.
Which software company will be the biggest rainmaker in attracting new customers in 2016?
Is Netflix considered a software company these days? What about Uber? Amazon Prime is taking over, but I’m not sure if that counts either. Software is truly eating the world, which is why it’s now easy to confuse a car manufacturer, a media company, a retailer and a ride-sharing service as software companies in 2016. It’s software plus business model disruption and the right mix of timing that will lead to massive customer attraction in 2016.
What are the biggest risks for software vendors in 2016?
With so much hype around the promise of new technologies and disruptive business models, the risk is that the so-called unicorns become ‘unicorpses.’ (I’ve also heard the term ‘dinocorns.’) New technology platforms must demonstrate a fast time to value and quantifiable ROI or they will no longer be relevant.”
What are the biggest risks for software buyers in 2016?
Complacency – thinking that you can continue to just work with the same handful of legacy software vendors that you’ve known for 10-20 years and hoping that they’ll be able to deliver the level of innovation and agility that newer technology companies and technology platforms were built to deliver. Digital transformation is at the top of the hype cycle, powered by the promise of cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things; and software buyers must be open to new thinking, new approaches and new technologies.
Thanks to Sand Hill for the opportunity to participate in the series. Here are some of the predictions that I’ve enjoyed the most (so far) this holiday season:
- 2016 – The Year of the Connected Customer
- IDC predicts digital transformation will shape 2016
- Gartner Reveals Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users for 2016 and Beyond
- Tech predictions 2016: 4 business trends to watch
- Women In Tech Predict Major Change In 2016
- Frog Design Tech Trends
- Kellblog predictions for 2016
- 5 Data Predictions for 2016