Top 10 Business Trends for 2012By Guy Currier | Posted 2011-12-07 Email Print
Baselineâ€™s exclusive annual research study of midsize and large organizations reveals the 10 trends that will play a significant role in enterprises in the coming year.
Most trends lists are created by â€śexpertsâ€ś who brainstorm, discuss, and argue until they reach a consensus as to what the big topics and market developments are going to be. Baseline decided a few years ago to make primary research the foundation of its annual trends report.
By asking several hundred business and technology managers at North American organizations with 100 or more employees to tell us whatâ€™s going on in their workplaces, we get representative viewpoints that provide objective, proof-driven insight into what the stories will be in the coming year.
In October, we fielded our survey to 422 of these managers, across all sectors in the United States and Canada. We asked them about their technology investments, strategies and commitment levels; the degree to which those levels might rise or fall; and the support levels from various stakeholders (IT, users, executives and finance professionals).
What we didnâ€™t ask survey respondents about was â€śtrends,â€ť per se, because itâ€™s the aggregate of the individual players in a market that constitutes a trend. Our analysis is based on what respondents know most about: whatâ€™s going on in their own organizations. Thatâ€™s how we determined the top 10 trends for this article.
We have a sound basis for selecting these trends and provide an impartial way to compare the strength of each trend against the others. In a few cases, weâ€™ll highlight trends that few others are seeing or indicate where the buzz of today is going to fade tomorrow.
To accomplish this, our analysis of the research results doesnâ€™t look only at whatâ€™s popular or even whatâ€™s growingâ€”though it does begin with that. To have â€śbuzz,â€ť a trend has to have highly accelerated growth.
So, for example, you might be surprised to see that virtualization didnâ€™t make the list for 2012. Virtualizationâ€™s strong growth and popularity has remained stable in our study for three years, but this yearâ€™s survey results showed that 2012 will be a â€śsteady-onâ€ť year for virtualization, not a buzz year, so itâ€™s not listed as a top trend.
Meanwhile, a trend first hyped several years agoâ€”unified communications (UC)â€”didnâ€™t make our trends list until last year, at No. 10, where we said it was â€śfinally showing signs of life.â€ť This year, as part of a broader trend in communications, itâ€™s reached the No. 4 position. We were able to hold off on including this technology three years ago because our data showed it hadnâ€™t reached the tipping point. Last year, UC did, and, this year, itâ€™s coming on strong.
How Last Yearâ€™s Predictions Fared
In â€śThe Top 10 Tech Trends of 2011â€ť (Baseline, November/December 2010), we did pretty well with our forecast, with six real hits and only one clear miss. Our favorite hits include â€śEnd Users Gain More Control,â€ť predicted long before all the current buzz on consumerization; â€śVDI Adoption Takes a Breath,â€ť which at the time we published, wasnâ€™t really imagined; and â€śBI Trumps Crowdsourcing,â€ť which turned out to be true in a big way. Our miss? â€śInterest in Cloud Computing Refocuses on SaaS,â€ť which was No. 6. SaaS adoption has certainly continued, but all the buzz has been elsewhere.
Predictions for 2012 (click on links for more information)
Trend 2: The Marketing Tech Revolution
Trend 3: Network and Wireless Build-Out
Trend 4: Advanced Communications
Trend 5: Business Intelligence and Big Data
Trend 7: Development of the Customized Cloud
Trend 8: Security Investments Remain Strong
Trend 9: The Consumerization of IT Continues
Trend 10: Hardware Investment Continues
To download a PDF of our Top 10 Business Trends for 2012, click here.