Deloitte's top 10 tech trends in 2013: Plenty of good advice but timetable might be off

Deloitte has outlined 10 tech trends to watch out for in 2013, but some of them seem past their prime already, while others will require much more time to flourish.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

With the first month of the year more than half over, Deloitte chimed in with its predictions for the top 10 tech trends we'll see in 2013.

Included in the global consulting firm's fourth annual tech trends report, Deloitte has broken these down into two categories: Disruptors and enablers.

The New York-headquartered company defined disruptors as trends that will create "sustainable positive disruption" for IT departments, while enablers are supposed to be technologies that CIOs have already invested in but deserve another look.

Certainly, a few of the topics on the list could be agreed upon by anyone. (For instance, if you don't think the mobile workforce is a lasting development, you're kidding yourself.)

But a few of them strike me as either implausible, outdated--or both.

Here's a rundown on Deloitte's 10 predictions for the year, followed by my takes on each of them. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section below.)


  • "CIOs as the postdigital catalyst: Catalyzing value from the elements of mobile, social, analytics, cloud, and cyber."

My reaction: This is a very (and too) poetic way of describing that the CIO will figure out the value of all of these elements--presumably via the accumulation of big data. Certainly, figuring out how to monetize big data is going to be a big issue this year, but it's unclear yet as to whether or not this can even be done in a year yet.

  • "Mobile only (and beyond): The enterprise potential of mobile is greater than today's smartphone and tablet apps."

My reaction: "Mobile only" might be a bit of a stretch for many companies based on security reasons alone, but it's undeniable that mobile needs to be addressed and accepted as a given method for getting work done from now on.

  • "Social reengineering by design: How work gets done is no longer constrained by 19th-century platforms."

My reaction: Again, more poetry. Social media is still being toyed with in the enterprise world, but based on reports from Dreamforce 2012 alone (being that Salesforce.com is the purveyor of the social enterprise/revolution/business, etc), it's clear that a lot of companies still don't understand what this means and how to use social within the workplace yet.

  • "Design as a discipline: Inherent, pervasive, and persistent design opens the path to enterprise value."

My reaction: Deloitte goes on to explain in the report that this includes building better user interfaces for employees. In clearer terms, researchers could have just said the consumerization of IT. This definitely needs to be a priority for CIOs and IT. We've already seen many employees just drifting away from IT-imposed, legacy apps to ones they would prefer to install themselves. We also know the security risks involved, so this is the year to meet in the middle and figure out a compromise.

  • "IPv6 (and this time we mean it): Ubiquitous connected computing is straining the underlying foundation of the Internet."

My reaction: This one is a bit more complicated as Deloitte further defined it as an "urgent" issue being that IP addresses are interwoven with networking apps and infrastructures, but we're running out of addressable space. However, being that Deloitte also acknowledged there isn't a "drop-dead date" for IPv6, we could be waiting awhile on this one.


  • "Finding the face of your data: Fuse people and technology to discover new answers in data-- and new questions, too."

My reaction: This basically goes back to the idea of monetizing big data and deciphering what it all means. It's an ongoing issue that will be talked a lot about in 2013--and will be ongoing in terms of verifiable action.

  • "Gamification goes to work: Drive engagement by embedding game mechanics in day-to-day business processes."

My reaction: This one seems outdated already. Gamification in the workplace has been talked about and toyed with over the last two years, but it's debatable how much of an impact it has made. There are some communities where it might work (more within online developer and engineering circles), but it just hasn't made the splash it should have by now. It's just one aspect of the bigger social picture.

  • "Reinventing the ERP engine: Revving up data, hardware, deployment, and business model architectures at the core."

My reaction: Again, another fancy way of saying that business models and legacy systems need to change in the face of things like new customer preferences, more traffic, and better technologies that get things done at a cheaper rate. Certainly, these are things to be discussed, and we'll likely see much more action on these fronts than we did in 2012, but they still take a lot of time (and money) to address.

  • "No such thing as hacker-proof: If you build it, they will hack it. How do you deal with that?"

My reaction: Deloitte suggests taking a more proactive approach than ever before in the face of online threats, and that is always good advice from now until the end of time.

  • "The business of IT: After reengineering the rest of the business, IT's children deserve some shoes."

My reaction: Despite having the most difficult-to-understand tagline, the point is actually rather simple: the value of IT is going to be determined by how much it can improve the efficiency (and cost savings) of every other department within the business. We've already seen this topic come up in 2012, and it will continue to be at the forefront of IT priorities over the next few years amid a heavily changing landscape in enterprise technology.

One of the strongest drivers for this will probably be mobile, being that it entangles the BYOD (bring-your-own-device) trend as well as security and privacy concerns, but also potentially big productivity and efficiency gains.

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