Top 5 Tech Trends For 2011

Big ideas heard at the InformationWeek 500 conference include a renewed focus on innovation, the importance of data visualization, and the ongoing agony of maintenance fees.

Alexander Wolfe, Contributor

October 22, 2010

3 Min Read

The biggest impediment towards E2.0 surviving beyond the hype phase is that its quantifiable benefits remain unclear. Perhaps that's more true when you're talking generalized usage -- such as an activity stream for everything you're doing -- than it is for social tools directed at specific, tightly targeted, purposes.

Here, the canonical example is what has shown can be done on the customer-relationship front by smartly monitoring Twitter.

At the InformationWeek 500, I saw a second interesting example, in a meeting where SuccessFactors discussed its acquisition of social-collaboration software provider CubeTree. SuccessFactors is tightly integrating CubeTree's tools into its own business-execution software. The latter is itself something of a new category, in that SuccessFactors is working to raise traditional human-resources-planning tools onto a more strategic plane. So in some sense you have a dual-pronged attack here, with two new areas combining to potentially deliver more value than simply the sum of the component parts.

The Internet Is making us stupid. Sitting down to write this column, I initially thought my riff on Nicolas Carr's new book, "The Shallows" was going to be simply for the purpose of stretching out this article so I wouldn't have to headline it "Four Trends. . ."

I speak of Carr because he spoke at the InformationWeek 500. His talk wound its way through the not-very-disruptive thesis that rampant multitasking has rendered us all incapable of tending to any task which takes longer than the making of instant oatmeal. However, his discussion was engaging, perhaps because he peppered it with quasi-academic references -- the invention of the printing press, blah, blah -- or maybe because he seemed like a thoughtful and decent guy.

So why am I mentioning this? Well, as the infamous Imus once said about rapper Eminem: "If we're talking about him, it means he's over." Similarly, if everyone now accepts that the short attention span fostered by the Internet is having deleterious effects, then maybe we're all ready to step back from our Blackberrys for a bit and do some longer-term thinking.

Speaking of which, I already detect rising social approbation for obsessive e-mail checking in meetings; this wasn't the case only a year ago. So maybe there's hope. And, hey, if this isn't a message to Google to rethink Instant Search, I don't know what is.

What's Your Take?: Leave A Comment

What are your top tech trends for late 2010 and 2011? Let me know, by leaving a comment below, which will in turn stoke the discussion with your fellow readers.

Recommended Reading: Top 5 Reasons Windows Phone 7 Will/Won't Succeed Wolfe's Den: Top 5 Enterprise 2.0 Roadblocks Cisco Quad Exec Talks Enterprise 2.0 Video: SAP Demos StreamWork At Enterprise 2.0 IBM Adds Heft To Enterprise 2.0 Top 3 Pluses & Minuses Of Enterprise 2.0

Follow me on Twitter: (@awolfe58)

Alex Wolfe is editor-in-chief of

About the Author(s)

Alexander Wolfe


Alexander Wolfe is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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