Once again we have come to the end of the year and as always it’s a time for reflection, as you may be aware, I attend a lot of seminars and events throughout the year and I speak to hundreds of prospects, customers, analysts and journalists during these events and through my day to day business. And with this in mind I would like to share with you a few insights that I have gained during the year.

So here are the 5 insights I have gained that are relevant to our marketplace in 2010, which I believe will affect 2011.

  1.  SOA is not dead

There has been a lot of deliberation and debate throughout 2010 around the suspected demise of SOA. Through the year again and again I have come to the realisation that SOA is not dead, it is still a very strong architectural standard especially in organisations where interoperability is required. Why then did anyone think it was dead? I think the answer is quite simple, 2010 saw the small and medium enterprises embrace SOA but as their requirements were limited they did not require the entire stack thus this seems to have passed under the radar. The best evidence that SOA is alive and kicking, I think, will be its increased use in 2011 to integrate between enterprise and the cloud and to enable enterprise mobility.

  1.  Android is the future?

As much as it pains me to write this, as an Apple and iPhone evangelist, Android is where the future of mobile application development lies. 2010 has seen Android sneak its way to the forefront of the smart phone market and I believe 2011 will see this grow and grow further. Why is this? In the business to consumer market it is currently much easier for developers to make money in the Android market rather than the iPhone market. With Android your app has hundreds of competitors where as with iPhone it has millions, thus the choice is to become a big fish in a little pond or a small fish in the ocean and as it stands more money can be made by the big fish. In the business to business market the Android hardware is more cost effective and the developer environment is far more simplistic, not mentioning that the deployment process is a piece of cake in comparison to Apple’s

  1.  ERP has changed for the better 

I am sure we all remember how ERP’s were touted with the promise of a one stop shop to take care of the entire business, sadly as we know this was not the case. Then along came SOA with the promise that we could mix and match as required- again this failed. However 2010 witnessed the realisation that to make the most of your ERP system you should and could extend your core business to mobile and disparate workforces making this core application available to everyone from field representatives to outsourced resources.

  1.  Who will benefit from the war of the application giants?

As with the years preceding, 2010 saw a significant step up in the war of the application giants but an unlikely winner has begun to emerge: the niche ISV. Again and again this year I have seen ISV’s with very targeted, niche applications slip through the elephants legs to beat the giants. This will continue to occur again and again where the niche players have better functionality, richer user interfaces and better overall capabilities. The outlook is definitely not all doom and gloom and in these uncertain times we see more and more ISVs move to the cloud and using APaaS (application platform as a service) to go global without significantly increasing their cost base. So in 2011 the Elephants had better watch out as the fly is coming and is well armed.

  1.  Have Private Clouds failed?

2010 saw many large enterprises take their first steps toward the cloud by attempting to develop private clouds, however most have failed in this endeavour. This begs the question why? Are all private clouds doomed to fail? I would say definitely not, I believe the vast majority of these projects failed simply due to how they were approached. In each case the balance between what the enterprise was willing to share and what they did not want to maintain in-house clashed with IT departments trying in vain to protect their empires. I would suggest that until enterprises get the balance right and are prepared to give up some of their control, they will never see the right ROI. 2011 will see the launch of the second phase of this move and I can only hope that enterprises will learn from their mistakes and this new phase will be more successful.