The Holidays are here and with them all the yearly summaries and forecasts. It may be a good idea to go back a year and check how many oracles have seen this slowdown coming..
As I look ahead to 2009, I see a few clear trends for web technology areas that are providing value in these rough economic times and are maturing to the point that companies cannot ignore anymore.
Gartner published their list of strategic technology trends for 2009 a few weeks back. They highlight Cloud Computing, Web Oriented Architecture, Enterprise Mashups and Social Software and Social Networking.
Here are 5 additional web technology trends that will be important in 2009, in no particular order:
- Actionable Web Analytics as part of Enterprise BI and Dashboards.
Web Analytics in many organizations is still an orphan with no real parents. Every department looks at its data but rarely does it get a strategic priority as an indicator of business trends and business intelligence asset. Investment in web analytics allows for customer insights, marketing spend ROI, conversion optimization and can impact the bottom line. As companies invest in sophisticated BI and analytical dashboards, web based data that is not transactional is usually not there. Integrating web traffic and user interest data into these systems can result in new insights and better actionable data.
- Phone Browser Compatibility
Mobile computing is booming. About 13M iPhones were sold so far, and the support for location and browser that both the Android, Blackberry and all Microsoft based smartphones are offering, the percentage of traffic to web sites coming from phones is already in the 3%-10% range and will only increase. These are not the early 00’s WAP/WML jokes but full HTML browsers. Still, these special browsers are very different from the full version used on PC’s and Laptops. Bandwidth is still a challenge and their support for Rich Applications such as Flash and Silverlight is lacking. If you have a fancy Flash based site, your users will most likely not see a thing. Companies that have ignored it so far will have to adjust their sites or redirect mobile traffic to a mirror mobile optimized site.
- Location based services
Continuing from the previous point, these mobile devices have GPS included and location based applications can drastically impact the user experience. Either as an iPhone/Android application or websites, the ability to share location information and get back location specific data about local services, other people, events, sales or anything else adds a new dimension to mobile applications.
- Increased reliance on open source infrastructure products and technologies
Free is always a powerful word. Strong and reliable open source environments allow companies to create a robust e-commerce infrastructure with little or no proprietary platforms. The excellent Apache OFBiz for example, provides strong open source modules for e-commerce, ERP, CRM and many others. Alfresco offers a great content management solution and multiple open source development environments are available. The case for Enterprise Open Source web environment is getting stronger every day.
- Approaching Social Networking and Collaboration in a Strategic way
Everyone now realizes the power of social networks and is rushing to get in, establish a FaceBook page, a Twitter account and get’s their PR to sprawl the web to “engage” people. Internally, companies are haphazardly trying various collaboration methods. We see a maturity process happening through 2009 that will force companies to look at all their collaboration points in a strategic way and tie them to business goals and processes. This new approach will transform them from toys to tools and will establish their place and value in the new order.