The 2017 enterprise software un-predictions

Jon Reed & Brian Sommer Profile picture for user jonandbrian December 12, 2016
Had your fill of buzzword-saturated tech predictions? We've got your holiday tonic. Welcome to Brian and Jon's first annual enterprise software un-predictions.

Everyone does a predictions piece at year-end to delight and amaze readers. Instead, Brian and Jon decided to make a list of tongue-in-cheek, un-predictions to balance out all of the misguided punditry out there. Herewith are their visionary non-insights for the enterprise software industry in 2017:

Your un-predictions - the synergistic 17

  1. Maybe this will be the year Oracle doesn’t make a major acquisition. If that happens (Gartner probability of 0.000001), it could require IT industry analysts everywhere to actually write about insightful matters. Oh, the horror!!!
  2. "I’ll show you my algorithm if you’ll show me yours!" will become the most effective pick up line at HR trade show socials.
  3. A vendor, somewhere, will be unhappy with their position in a magic quadrant.
  4. Your mother will finally endorse you on LinkedIn.
  5. Executives of a high-flying startup will be caught exercising bad behavior.
  6. Finally, a vendor will get their predictive analytics tools to correctly forecast the Super Bowl winner.
  7. An executive will be taken by surprise during a keynote demo when Amazon Alexa tells them “I miss our late night talks.”
  8. Awkwardness ensues when an executive extolling the virtues of open source is asked to name the community projects they are involved with.
  9. WebEx will interrupt an online briefing to report that - for the first time ever - all parties to a vendor conference call got online on time!
  10. Your on-premises vendor will audit you and, surprise surprise, you’ll owe them more money! But by sheer coincidence, you’ll be given the opportunity to roll the balance into a purchase of their  "game changing, next-gen software suite!"
  11. A vendor will be taken aback when a customer tells them “I can’t wait to see what your expensive AI prototype can do for me!
  12. A software company will be acquired by a private equity firm that promises to help fund their next growth wave. Layoffs begin the week after the deal is done.
  13. Software executives will, repeatedly, thank each other for their leadership.
  14. An analyst firm will issue their brand new vendor ranking system:  the “predictive parallelogram.” A competing analyst firm, vowing not to be outdone, offers up their “tetrahedral pyramid of technology excellence”.
  15. A Unicorn will lose its lustrous valuation and become a unicorpse.
  16. An analyst will be admitted for exhaustion after a frenetic attempt to find a live enterprise blockchain project.
  17. Brian still won’t get a Facebook account.

2017 will be jam-packed with un-predictable events

At software user conferences in 2017, Jon and Brian predict that:

  • Finally, a tech conference keynoter WON’T take a selfie with the audience in the background.
  • A keynote speaker extolling the disruptive virtues of Airbnb will actually stay in one.
  • A celebrity keynote speaker will challenge attendees to "vanquish your fears, and climb your summit." That moment will be "transcendent" and "automagical."
  • During an on-stage software demonstration, a software vendor will manage to get the fabled blue screen of death (BSOD). Worse, they’ll somehow get it on an iPad.
  • This might actually be the year that real software, not PowerPoint slides, will be used for a software demo.
  • Analyst Holger Mueller will attend a vendor conference that wasn’t “well-attended”

And, what will happen at the companies that dare to use this software? Again, Jon and Brian gazed into their navels and see that:

  • A CEO will walk into a CIO's office, wave their phone and ask: "What is two factor identification?" (This replaces last year’s prediction where a CEO asks a CIO how to delete old emails).
  • Upon hearing his technology people want Java, a CEO orders them an espresso machine.

When in doubt, make up some $h%t

Brian and Jon are also expecting technology vendors to make up new words for 2017. Remember, this is the industry that gave us rightsizing in 1987,  whiteboarding in 1996, marketecture in 2005, automagical in 2013, showrooming in 2014 and omnichannel in 2015.

We’ll see new words in 2017. Words like:

  • Litigation-as-a-Service - This is when a non-innovative vendor tries to sue competitors out of existence.
  • BoB Cloud - Instead of creating a single, unified suite of cloud apps, a vendor buys a bunch of disparate cloud products, proclaims them “best of breed,” and glues them together via proprietary “integration software” with mysterious protocols.
  • Dear Jon Letter - What tech vendors write after they get a “Miss” in one of Jon Reed’s Hits, Misses and Whiffs columns.
  • Sommerizing - What vendors dread most: a mercifully short 20-page critique of their latest announcement via analyst Brian Sommer.
  • RevWreck - This is what happens when accounting departments fail to implement new Revenue Recognition standards.
  • Precipitation - What falls out of a bad cloud implementation.

It was at this moment that Jon and Brian’s crystal ball fogged up. So, please tell us what we forgot.  And, happy holidays!

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