Global CIO: Cisco's Top 10 Predictions Intriguing But Lack Context

A top Cisco voice exec's views aren't startling but should give CIOs plenty to think about.
3. Intercompany Communication and Collaboration. Larger organizations will seek to apply the same productivity enhancements they found for their employees amongst their networks (e.g., suppliers, distributors, agents). Same question as in #2: what if my networks don't have these latest goodies? Does Cisco have plans in place to help foster these internetworked networks? What's a ballpark investment to get into the game?

4. Smartphone Acceleration Continues – global mobile subscriber numbers will grow and smartphone adoption will accelerate faster than regular non-smartphones. I agree completely—what are the two primary ways Cisco is helping its customers' mobile workforces be more productive and innovative? When enterprises think of Cisco's role in this space, what images will come to mind—or will the screen be blank?

5. Select Emerging Market Acceleration. Larger organizations in India and China will accelerate growth fueled by their economies returning to higher global export and domestic demand . . . . Most notable, though, will be continued mobile phone adoption; subscriber growth across India and China in 2010 will exceed the total U.S. population. Does Cisco have Strategic Migration Plans and product to help customers plan their own conversions from the current clunky stuff to these all-digital networks? Examples of great success stories? Share them!

6. Consumerization of IT. The trend toward employee-directed technology spending will continue as IT departments embrace community-support models and begin to experiment with creative budgeting solutions. Dead-center perfect analysis.

7. Connected Device Proliferation. . . . an increasing number of mobile computing devices will support employee collaboration. The fourth and fifth generation of netbooks will be released . . . . we’ll see more creative bundled pricing models. This will offer lots of advantages but will also create some headaches: what are they, and what form does the Advil take for CIOs looking to minimize their impact? By what percentage can CIOs expect these advances to lower the price of compute devices?

8. Voice and Video Stream Interpretation. We will see significant enhancements in real-time and historical analysis of voice and video streams particularly in the areas of transcription and key-word spotting. How will this help the CIO of a trucking company, an insurance company, a retailer? Is this a cost-cutting opportunity, or is this an investment—and if so, what's the projected ROI? Who's buying this stuff, and why?

9. Policy. Organizations will look to standardize the application of policy rules across the enterprise in response to tightening regulation and the ever-broadening complexity of the IT environment (driven, in part, by the a few others trends mentioned earlier in this post, such as smart phone adoption, the consumerization of IT and intercompany collaboration). So wait a minute—all this whiz-bang stuff is going to lead to more complexity instead of less, more regulatory obstacles to deal with, and more bureaucrats to oversee all this stuff? A lot of CIOs might see that and be tempted to say, "If that's the cure, I'll take the disease!" What's the tradeoff that makes it all worthwhile?

10. Customer Collaboration. Organizations will continue to evolve the way they interact with their customers, responding to the ground swell of demand for consumer / vendor engagement in public arenas such as social networking sites and specialized forums. We expect to see early majority adoption of social customer care (what we call customer collaboration) solutions among larger organizations. This is a fascinating prediction and should be #1 at the top of the list—isn't this what all the promise is really about?

It's awfully easy to sit here and offer a critique of someone else's work, and that's surely not my intention because I think O'Sullivan's list is engaging and helpful. But Cisco is not just a run-of-the-mill cable-maker; rather, it's one of the most powerful and influential IT suppliers and innovators in the world. When Cisco executives speak, lots of people listen—and at this stage in the business cycle, CIOs are listening for business context, deployable ideas, links to existing strategies, and a sense of is this a game-changer or a bumper-sticker.

I hope the folks at Cisco will take another whack at this and offer an extended version—dare I say Cisco's Top 10 Predictions 2.0?—infused with that type of actionable context that CIOs need but more importantly want. Because you've got a big audience, and as 2010 gets underway, every IT vendor's got a story—some just have much better endings than others.


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GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

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or write to Bob at [email protected].