We're just about to the end of 2012 (and according to the Mayan calendar, the end of time) so I figured it was about the right time to put together some thoughts on the year.
Let's start with Enterprise Social, which continues to mature. It was the first thing I was assigned to cover when I came to Forrester six years ago and it's been a great ride so far. Enterprise Social is at that stage of development where we remain hopeful, but in the cool gray of the morning we must admit to having concerns. It's a bit like a teenager that has always been a good, albeit quirky kid, that is now getting into a bit of trouble. Just a stage? A lot of licenses have been sold but adoption remains a challenge for many. Certainly, the promises of E2.0 we were envisioning six years ago have been elusive for most. That said, the patterns are emerging that indicate success can be found. Funny thing, success is aligned with good old business value. Who'd have guessed? As is often the case, the closer you get to revenue the greater the chance for success. Mobile sales people lead in terms of demand for social solutions because better access to content, expertise and collective action drives sales which drive better performance reviews and compensation. Will the rest of the enterprise follow? Well, that's the $64 question.
Microsoft bought Yammer and announced aggressive pricing and bundling as well as inclusion in their Volume Pricing model (as a former Microsoft employee I will tell you, this is a big deal). SalesForce continued to execute effectively with Chatter (remember that part about sales being the initial driver of social adoption?) . IBM closed a lot of those quiet "IBM" kind of deals and quietly grabbed an early market leadership position with Connections. Three powerhouse vendors with a lot of sway in the enterprise are getting ready to duke it out with hopes of taking a long-term market leader position. The market is still small and still emerging and there's every chance for an upset, but these three bring a lot fire power. Look for 2013 to be the defining year. We'll be kicking off the next version of the Enterprise Social Platform Wave right after the New Year and doing the deep, deep dive with these three and seven or eight of their best friends (yeah, right).
I got to continue doing research with John Rymer (just one of the many, many amazing Forresterites I get to work with) on SharePoint in 2012. We've been at this for about five years now. For the first time it appears that the continued growth trajectory of the product might be in jeopardy. At one point it seemed that SharePoint would grow to be the next Exchange in terms of market dominance. Now, soon to be published Forrester Research points to concern with adoption and usability. Certainly, the new 2013 release holds promise as well as the acquisition of Yammer, but once tiny vendors like Box have grown to a size and market position that they certainly have the attention of a market looking for alternatives. Meanwhile, consumerization continues as users just find stuff they love to use, like say Dropbox. Ping me back in comments if you're using it. Yeah, me neither. I'm just doing some testing. Look for the SharePoint research right after the New Year.
The hot topic these days? Portals! Who would have guessed? What's old is new again. Only now, they're social, collaborative, communication and content enabled and interact with line of business systems. Oh, and they're not really called portals anymore. Looking for a name. Anyone? Enterprise Digital Workplace? Yeah, sucks, I've heard. Whatever they're called I'm excited to start formalizing this trend in our research.
I did about 300 client inquiries this year and quite a bit of advisory work as well. Each time I interact with a Forrester client I come away thinking, "wow, they came to me for advice!". It's an honor to work with our clients and after six years, I still can't believe I get paid for this.
Happy Holidays! See you in 2013 (assuming the Mayans were wrong)