Looking Back at 2010 - In 2010

Forecast season is upon us. Yeah, yeah, Christmas and Thanksgiving season too, but this is forecast season.
Written by Paul Greenberg, Contributor on

Forecast season is upon us. Yeah, yeah, Christmas and Thanksgiving season too, but this is forecast season. Did you ever think about the etymology of forecast? I think this is broken down the following way.  Fore - as in comes to the front.  Cast as in wizardry and witchcraft and casting a spell - in other words, about the same level of science that goes into some sort of predictive model. Forecast. Voila.  I'm sure that any true philologist will be utterly entranced by my discussion of this word's proper roots.

In order to make room for my 2011 forecasts and so that you can understand the profoundly scientific methodology and approach that I'm taking in this effort, I've once again refined my what I see as rather brilliant (in the sense of light blinding me so completely I can't see anything) formula for the future that I am willing to share with you under any of the creative commons licenses you care to apply to it.

Here it is with a complete revision history - changes/improvements are in bold red.

2009: The Original

eu + gw (l*bl)/i = fw, where eu = eye use; gw = guesswork; l=luck; bl=blind luck; i=intuition and fw = forecast wisdom.

2010: 20x Improvement in Accuracy

(eu*cl) + gw(l*bl)*ts/20 = fw where eu = eye use;cl = contact lenses; gw = guesswork; l = luck; bl = blind luck;ts = total speculation; and 20 of course equals the amount to decrease the inefficiency by because I want to.

Key improvement for 2010: By adding contact lenses, and replacing intuition with total speculation divided by 20, we decrease the inefficiencies by 20x, thus improving the accuracy by 20x.  Logical. I'm so proud.

2011: Increased But Conservative Long Term Forecasting Accuracy

(eu*cl*(ew/2)) + gw(l*bl)*ts/20 = fw/2 where eu= eye use; cl = contact lenses; ew = extended wear contact lenses; gw = guesswork; l = luck; bl = blind luck; ts = total speculation; and 20 of course equals the amount to decrease the inefficiency by.

Key improvement for 2011:  By making the contact lenses extended wear, the long term accuracy of the forecast increases.  Once again, a breakthrough in forecasting methodology, unparalleled in the 18th century. What do you mean this is the 21st century? Yeah right. I believe THAT. I'm leaving. Get me my horse.

One final note before we move onto the look back. I invoke the Pundit Immunity Clause.  For those of you who don't know it, it reads in its newly rewritten 2011 version:

"All pundits are immune from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and slings and arrows fired at them by outraged patrons when their forecasts go south.  Despite the failures, We are still permitted complete access to all Pundits Lounges at airports across the world even when the failure rate exceeds 80% But if it exceeds 90% the wi-fi is no longer free."

See, we have skin in the game. Ha.

Okay, now the time to look back at how I did in 2010 - even though the year isn't over. Honestly, enough of it is over and I am so over the year that I think there will be little change post-Thanksgiving. But then again, that's a forecast isn't it?

The format: The 2010 forecast and then my assessment of how I did - which needless to say is totally biased, since I'm assessing me.  Unlike my forecast for 2011  which will be split between ZDNet and PGreenblog so I can publish both halves on the same day, this will be on both blogs - but in full on each.  The Watch List will be multiple posts and also duplicated not split on both blogs.  So be there or be square as some unknown wag once said.

Okay, I've probably exhausted both all my means to procrastinate and all your good will, so I guess we'd better get down to it.  I present to you - the look back at 2010 and how I did.  The ratings are in the same format as last year - mostly. The ones that show I already miss the baseball season. As always, the highlighted particular forecast, my written assessment of how I did with it and some ratings designed for all audiences of all types to understand.  The numbers in the front of the forecast was my confidence in how likely the forecast was to be on a scale of 1-10.

The 2011 Look Back at 2010

(7)Social Marketing technologies and strategies emerge as important aspects of corporate thinking - IF you took this at the surface of it - meaning that you read it with the emotion of the first sentence I think I could probably claim a major victory. But, in the interests of honestly, transparency, authenticity, and all 2010 social buzzwords, in the actual piece I saw an explosion of social marketing in 2010 and that didn't happen. 2010 saw the integration of features and functions that could be called "social" into existing marketing automation suites like Eloqua, or Oracle in their loyalty marketing programs, or even email marketing applications like Silverpop added powerful sharing features etc. Customer interaction engines, like Infor's Epiphany, added dynamic engines that monitored customer's live digital behaviors and adjusted marketing offers accordingly for example. While not strictly social marketing when it comes to sharing or campaigns on major social sites like Facebook per se, these customer interaction engines are monitoring behavior of the explicit social customer, deriving live insights and then using them to push real time marketing offers.  We did see, on the strategy side, a huge upsurge of interest in how to develop strategies and programs that took advantage of the social customer's historic behaviors.  In fact, Marketing Sherpa, in their 2010 Social Media Marketing Benchmark Survey, that every industry across the board planned on increasing their budget for social marketing this year. Almost no one in any industry was going to decrease it.  So, in that regard I was pretty damned right. Almost. Sorta. RATING: Double to left field, one run scores, but Gardner holds up at third. Left-Brainer: 3.75/5.0; Right Brainer: "Not...too....shabby" (Adam Sandler, Hannukah Song)

(9)Mobile CRM becomes a top priority for business and technology vendors - even more than 2009. It did just that. But I'm not sure what it got us.  For example, SAP, in 2009, had a commitment to a partnership with Sybase's iAnywhere platform - now they own it because they bought Sybase. The mobile platform is worth about $400 million of the acquisition.  Salesforce has a mobile Chatter application which consolidates activity streams to whatever mobile device floats your boat. REST APIs are being developed or have been developed by companies like Oracle so that Siebel and the iPad can work together, etc. who are ordinarily focused around service oriented architectures (SOA), are usually created for mobile applications.  Not only that, the operating systems on the table are now digging deeply into RIM's once dominant market share, making the variety of platforms out there - even including Windows 7 Phone, peeps - intriguing for enterprise software cos. I'm not going to say much more since I need something for my actual forecast which will once again predict this - but suffice to say there is no question that the interest rose in mobile everywhere. In fact, Nielsen says that mobile is the fastest growing technology in history when it comes to usage.So there. RATING: There's a line drive to right field, its off the top of the wall! Jeter rounds second he's heading to 3rd....and he's in there with a triple!  Left-Brainer: 4.25/5.0; Right Brainer: "No time for losers, we are the champions...to the end." (Queen, We are the Champions)

(7)Technology companies embrace "social" versions of multiple parts of the enterprise value chain including (and especially) CRM, SCM, and maybe even ERP. This kind of depends on how I interpret it. IF (and I use the word IF in HUGE capital letters) , you take the other parts of the enterprise - the parts behind the firewall - and call "social"  the collaboration features, then I'm spot on. Though frankly, the debate over Enterprise 2.0 and Social Business, which is about as smart a debate as the one that we had as to what SCRM was, meaning not, might derail what I'm saying.  But that aside, companies across the globe in the B2C space more than B2B but in both are working in in internal communities. Oracle, recognizing that this is a true trend, has done an amazing job by integrating enterprise collaboration into their Fusion applications. It's not a plug in or something awkward. It is seamlessly integrated throughout the applications regardless of which app we're talking about - HCM a.k.a. human resources or CRM or Supply Chain. This is in recognition of the social nature of businesses that is now in its early to maturing stages.

But on the other hand, Social ERP?  Nah. Not yet. So how'd I'd do? Depends on the whole "glass half empty or half full" thing.  RATING: A fly ball deep right, to the wall and...caught. But Granderson tags up and scores from third easily. Left-Brainer: 3.00/5.0 Right Brainer: "I'm sorry, but i'm just thinking of the right words to say(I Promise You; I know they don't sound the way I planned them to be (I Promise You); But if you wait around a while I'll make you fall for me(I Promise You); I promise , I promise you I will." (I Promise You I Will, When in Rome, [Thank you, Martin Schneider])

(8)Companies are moving toward creating ecosystems to fill out social CRM portfolios -Looking aback on this one, I suppose this was my way of saying, companies are looking to integrate to provide best of breed solutions since most companies - technology companies that is - are realizing that they can't do it alone.  That said, vendors like CDC Software came out with the opening stages of a suite - that would be Pivotal SCRM - and other vendors like Oracle and salesforce.com are slowly and somewhat piecemeal, putting the full monte in place, so technology partner ecosystems aren't the only game in town. But the social vendors like Lithium, Radian6 etc. are all realizing that they need to integrate with traditional CRM systems and InsideView continued its relentless drive to integrate with everything including the basil plants that are growing inside varying foodies homes - and they've been a happy success accordingly with integrations to most of the CRM standards out there.  So I'm still right but the suite side, which I sorta poo-pooed and Gartner predicted was the way to go with this statement "Gartner believes that by year-end 2011...disparate approaches will combine to form social CRM suites.", is also on the table.  RATING:  There's a drive down the left field line into the corner and it bounces into the stands for a ground rule double for Posada, leading off the third inning.  Left-Brainer: 3.75/5.0. Right Brainer: 'They were right, I was wrong; True love didn't last long; As the June light turns to moonlight; I'll be on my way, hey." (I'll Be On My Way, The Beatles)

(9)Open Source as a factor in CRM will no longer be a differentiator -I nailed this one.  When was the last time  you heard that open source was a key criterion in the selection of an enterprise CRM package.  Even when it was a selection criterion for small business, it was because it was cheap, not because it was open source. Even SugarCRM doesn't emphasize anywhere nearly as much as they used to.RATING: There's a long drive....at the wall....at the track....see YA! A 3 run homer for Mark Teixeira and the Yankees take the lead. Left Brainer: 4.5/5.0 Right Brainer: "Step to the rhythm of a sho-nuff winner (winner) i been here before (yo!) i ain't no beginner (word)..." (Too Legit to Quit, M.C. Hammer)

(7)Customer service becomes the leading pillar from traditional CRM to adopt Social CRM practices and behaviors and technologies - I was right when I said, "In a certain way, this is a trend that doesn't matter much, since the value of Social CRM strategy is built around what your company and customers need in particular to engage - which may or may not be customer service."

The reality here is that customer service has been the driver for most Social CRM initiatives, primarily due to the social customer's proclivity toward activism.  They either call you with their problems or queries - a customer service problem or they complain about you on social networks and in communities that you don't control - a customer service problem. Either way, the new channels are forcing companies to rethink how they perform their customer service operations. For example, Intuit is training core customer service reps in how to facilitate community activities or how to respond to problems on Twitter. This is not uncommon. Its no coincidence that the new players in SCRM are entering through customer service - check out Cisco's recent announcement of Cisco Finesse along with Social Miner. Get it? Customer service IS it. RATING: Another deep drive....GONE! Robby Cano, dontcha know, puts a ball that has to be 400 feet or more into the left centerfield seats and it's a three run homer for Robby. Left Brainers: 4.75/5.0 Right Brainers: "Oh,oh,oh,oh,oh,oh,oh,oh;I'm,I'm,I'm,I'm,I'm really,really Hot,Hot,Hot,Hot,Hot." (I'm Really Hot, Missy Elliot)

(9)Public Sector CRM becomes pre-eminent and actually helps drive the private sector.  Weeeeell, not exactly.  I guess I was still awash in optimism about the still somewhat fresh Obama administration. But its amazing what bureaucracy can do and as the saying truly does go, "old habits die hard." For example, as Brian Komar, Executive Director of Outreach for the Center of American Progress told me in a recent conversation - the culture didn't change and thus even with new media directors up the wazoo at the White House, sites like Recovery.gov, which had a chance to be an important site for constituent knowledge and involvement, put up data rather than told stories.  In other words, with a few exceptions like Casey Coleman, GSA CIO and several of her ilk, the public sector has been bogged down despite large numbers of social initiatives by multiple agencies.  But there are two things to be aware of.  First, the public sector is still a big market for SCRM-ish things. The desire for constituent engagement remains.  The intent is still there. It just hasn't unseated the entrenched practices in the way that it needed to for it to be successful. Second, the locus of public sector initiative is shifting from the federal government to the state and local level where the bureaucracies are still onerous but ultimately far less toxic.   So I didn't do too well on this one, so I will hang my head.  I was so certain.  And so not right. RATING: The runner on third, representing the tying run, leads off.  Cervelli swings and misses, he struck out, stranding the tying run on third. Left Brainer - 2.5/5.0 Right Brainer: "I'm cryin'.  I'm cryyyyyyyyyyyyyin." ( I am the Walrus, the Beatles)

(8)Cloud Computing skyrockets to forefront of interest as #1 choice for business infrastructure/platform. This was a pretty bold prediction only partially mitigated by the (8) I gave it rather than a (10).  Cloud computing most certainly has become an important priority with even the largest enterprises considering a move of some of their systems  and operations to the cloud.  The number of excellent cloud providers is increasing from Amazon to now the full blown cloud platform Microsoft Azure. Even Oracle, the bastion of on-premise history, announced in a painful way, the Exalogic box, a cloud based server that provides companies with a private cloud capability with a price starting at $1.075 million.  Salesforce.com's third quarterly earnings call was so wildly success that its stock price rose 18% the day after the call - largely, according to pundits due to their deep commitment to the cloud services that they provide. In fact, cloud services are estimated to reach $45 billion by 2013 by IDC, up from 2009's $17 billion. RATING:  Sabbathia winds up, the pitch...a called strike three. Inning over. Three up, three down.  Left Brainers: 4.25/5.0  Right Brainers: "They say I'm crazy but I have a good time; I'm just looking for clues at the scene of the crime; Life's been good to me so far." (Life's Been Good, The Eagles)

(6)Niche success in Outlook-based social CRM in 2010 - I don't need to spend a lot of time on this one. For some reason, there is still a lot of interest in Outlook integration.  Aside from the most obvious players i.e. Microsoft to smaller Outlook based leaders  like Avidian, the larger companies continue to support Outlook integration.  Oracle announced the integration of Oracle CRM on Demand with OutlookPivotal integrates with Outlook, even salesforce.com integrates with Outlook now.  What more can I say?  The reason I was right about this even beyond my imagination is that Outlook is as familiar as the cast of Glee on late night talk shows.  RATING:  There's a line drive that clears the right field fence and Nick Swisher puts a game winning, walkoff home run into the right field stands in the 14th inning. The Yankees win. Thhhhhhhhhe Yankeeeeess WIN! Left Brainer: 4.75/5.0 Right Brainer: "I'm king of the hill, top of the heap" (New York, New York, Frank Sinatra)

(8)Governance, compliance, regulation begin to increase presence as transparency, open initiatives grow Look at what I said about the Public Sector. Multiply by minus three and you have my results for this year. Open initiatives grew and were stalled.  Transparency in government didn't get a whole lot further than it did in 2009.  Sigh. RATING: There's a high popup behind the plate, Mauer throws off the mask and he makes the play, ending the rally, ending the game. Left Brainer: 2.0/5.0.  Right Brainer: "Nobody don't want me; I'm so sad so lonely; But I'm always landing on my feet." (So Sad, So Lonely, Matchbox 20)

(6)Enterprise 2.0 and Social CRM will begin to merge as a concept and strategy; integrate as technologies and toolsets -Not only has this process begun, but I got to keynote the Enterprise 2.0 2010 Santa Clara conference about convergence of none other than....E20 and SCRM! The merger of the two became enough of a subject to justify that speech and an SCRM track co-chaired by the inestimably smart Sameer Patel and me at a conference which has never thought about that before.  In addition, companies like Socialtext, the enterprise level wiki provider announced an integration with salesforce.com. On the other side of the fence, salesforce.com blew away even there own estimation of the success of their enterprise collaboration tool Chatter with, according to salesforce on its third quarter earnings call, over 2/3 of their customers adopting it. Couple that with the integration of collaboration tools with Oracle Fusion apps, including CRM and we are seeing a trend here that I think will only escalate in 2011.  Oh, yeahhhhhh!  RATING.   At the wall, at the track, SEE-YA! A-Rod puts one into the upper deck in left field. That's GOT to be 450 feet.  That might be the 5th home run for the Yankees today. Left Brainers: 4.5/5.0 Right Brainers: "Now that's the way (Uh-Huh, uh-huh), We like It (Uh-Huh,uh-huh); That's the way (uh-huh,uh-huh) We like it (That's the Way We Like It, DJ Cool)"

(7)REST continues to gain especially because of mobile opportunities What can I say? When I'm wrong, I'm dead wrong. When I'm right, I'm killin' it.  This is another one that I killed.  Pretty much all the significant vendors have announced REST APIs, even when their architecture is based on a service oriented architecture.   Think SAP here. Oracle here. Everyone here.  Because mobile is so hot, and the REST API is used to connect and pass information to mobile platforms, REST is what is being hammered out in the high tech development steelworks.  RATING: Gardner drives one into the right centerfield gap.  He's got at least a triple...wait, he's going to try to score, the throw to the plate and he's....SAFE! An inside the park home run for Brett Gardner as the Yankees continue their assault on the... (fill in your least favorite team - unless you're a Yankees hater)  Left Brainers: 4.5/5.0 Right Brainers: "I didn't know I was pretty,'Til I took a look at you; An' I'm rollin'Yeah Yeah Yeah I'm a' rollin'." (Rollin', Maria Daines)

(10 Gazillion)Yankees repeat in 2010 as world champions - F---ing Rangers.  RATING:  The pitch to Miranda, STRIKE THREE and Cervelli's going...he's OUT! A strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play.  Left Brainers: 0.0/5.0  Right Brainers: "Too many teardrops for one heart to carry on" (96 Tears, Question Mark and the Mysterians) OR "You telling lies thinking I can't see; You don't cry cos you're laughing at me; I'm down (I'm really down); I'm down (I'm down (I'm really down); How can you laugh when you know I'm down; (How can you laugh) When you know I'm down." (I'm Down, The Beatles)

Overall, I've made that famous little boy dictum status. When I was good, I was very, very good, but when I was bad, I really stunk up the joint. This year is probably defined more by extremes than any other year in recent memory, but then again, when you hit 60, recent memory extends only as far as an hour ago.   Who are you people again?

So that's it for the look back at 2010 even though 2010 isn't over quite yet.  But its over enough for me.  Now, next time you hear from me, minus an interim post perhaps or two, it will be with the forecast for 2011 - and there are some surprising trends that I'm beginning to pick up that I think will be of interest to you.  Then the Watchlist.

Watchlist Update

On the Watchlist candidates... a brief update. I have 37 requests for inclusion that come directly from the companies or their advocates.  So far, of the ones that I've gotten, there are two new ones that I'm including:

  1. JitterJam
  2. Spigit

There are 2-3 others under consideration.  So the list is now bigger by two.  We'll see where it takes us. Watch for further candidate announcements after.  November 30.  Or before.

One final note: Congratulations to my young social media star friend Maria Ogneva, She was married last week and that came on the heels of taking a new job as Director of Social Media at Nimble November 1.  Great times for Maria and it couldn't happen to a nicer person.

See y'all later.  BTW, you can use my forecasting formula if you want.  At your own peril.

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