I haven't done this before, so I won't offer to eat my hat if these don't come true, but here are my Top 10 predicted developments for 2007 (in no particular order):
- Web 2.0 technologies will begin to appear in serious enterprise apps, as vendors incorporate wikis, blogs and RSS feeds into their applications, starting with CRM and other consumer-facing apps. This will take some of the steam out of those independent Web 2.0 vendors who are primarily peddling features, not products.
- There will be very few high-value exits of Web 2.0 companies, but probably many more investments, leading to an eventual VC bust (in 2008?) not unlike the dot-com bust of 2001 (but smaller).
- Actual adoption of Microsoft's new Vista operating system will underwhelm and Microsoft's hare price will begin to suffer as the market realises that -- as Gartner has put it -- this may be the last ever release of Windows as we know it. What will be next: componentised Windlets competing with Googlets, Teqlets and Kapow robots?
- We will see the first serious cracks in the indomitable Googleplex -- how many wheels will in fact come off? Investors beware....
- Multimedia content for mobile phones (3D games, video, etc) will start to come of age, but more slowly than anticipated. It will take some time yet to overcome the many usability hurdles.
- Business software for the SME market will get a major boost, as vendors attack the midmarket with new, scaled down applications. To access this huge but historically elusive market, software vendors will develop their Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings, while IT services firms will create BPO offerings from packaged software.
- Offshore technology vendors -- not content to do pure services work -- will continue to push into Western markets with their own product sets, like Infosys has done with Finacle and i-flex with Flexcube. These are some of the fastest-growing application businesses in the world, and they are bad news for incumbent vendors with high cost structures (as if the SaaS and Web 2.0 news wasn't bad enough).
- Expect to see lots of new applications for small vertical markets. The combination of SOA and Web 2.0 technologies makes it easy to build apps for the long tail of micro markets.
- Consolidation in the WiMAX market will begin as the large chip and equipment vendors jostle for a piece of the infrastructure build-out. Still too early for actual services of any scale though...
- The line between information services and software functionality will become increasingly blurred, as more managed services effectively bundle both. We see this already with data services vendors adding workflow functionality (like Reed, Lexis et al), and with software vendors adding valuable content to their offerings (as in the conmpliance market, for example, see FRS Global).
There you have it. I'll do a reckoning in 12 months time. In the meantime let me know if I've killed any sacred cows...