Reviewing Gartner’s predictions from 2010

Is it nearly three months since I last updated this blog? I don’t know if other bloggers have the same challenge I find – often issues come up which I want to blog about, but then my thoughts get interrupted, and then the urgency to blog goes away, and that opportunity is lost. Anyway, I now have the issue, the time and the urgency.

I recently found a report by the Gartner analyst organisation from 2010 with some predictions, most interestingly for 2012, but some beyond that. Predictions, like forecasts, are mostly going to be wrong – some in a small way, others in much bigger ways. If your organisation has a sales and operations planning activity, one of the key elements is feeding actual data back into the forecast, so you can see where the forecast was wrong, if incorrect assumptions were made, and most importantly, how you can make more accurate forecasts. I have never seen or heard Gartner do that with their forecasts. So here am I to do it.

Gartner’s top end user predictions in 2010 were:

  • by 2012:
    1. 20% of businesses will own not IT assets
    2. India-centric IT service companies will represent 20% of the leading cloud aggregators
    3. Facebook will become the hub for social network integration and web socialization
    4. 60% of a new PC’s total life greenhouse gas emissions will have occurred before the user first turns on the machine
  • for 2013:
    1. mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device
  • by 2014:
    1. most IT business cases will include carbon remediation costs
    2. more than 3 billion of the world’s adult population will be able to transact electronically via mobile and Internet technology
  • by 2015:
    1. internet marketing will be regulated
    2. context will be as influential to mobile consumer services and relationships as search engines are to the web

How are those forecasts looking? For their 2012 predictions, the only one that might be argued as being accurate is number 3 – Facebook. However, even that could be questioned; consider that Saleforce is pushing Chatter as its social network, and Microsoft recently bought Yammer to beef up SharePoint in the social space. Number 1, the cloud prediction, was clearly driven by analyst hype, and is wrong at the moment, so why doesn’t Gartner review this and give another (maybe more realistic) forecast?

The 2013 prediction is interesting because it is definitely coming, I’m just not sure that it will be by next year.

A lot can happen in two years, ask anyone who thought Groupon would be big. So for 2014 I am prepared to accept the second prediction about how many people will be transacting electronically. I doubt the prediction though regarding carbon remediation.

The predictions for 2015 still seem to be extravagant, but who knows what will happen in three years where the Internet is concerned.

Am I being unnecesarily harsh on Gartner about their prediction accuracy? I would be interested to hear what others think.

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