Now that 2013 is done, it is time to review my predictions from January last year. For those keeping score, I had six January predictions for Technology in 2013:
6. 2013 is the year of the ‘connected house’ as standards and ‘hub’ products achieve critical mass. Score: Yes! – A half dozen hubs were introduced in 2013 including Lowe’s and AT&T’s as well as SmartThings and Nest. The sector is taking off but is not quite mainstream as there is a bit of administration and tinkering to get everything hooked in. Early market share could determine the standards and the winners here.
5. The IT job market will continue to tighten requiring companies to invest in growing talent as well as higher IT compensation. Score: Nope! – Surprisingly, while the overall job market declined from a 7.9% unemployment rate to 7.0% over 2013, the tech sector had a slight uptick from 3.3% to 3.9% in the 3rd quarter (4Q numbers not available). However, this uptick seems to be caused by more tech workers switching jobs (and thus quitting old jobs) perhaps due to more confidence and better pay elsewhere. Look for a continued tight supply of IT workers as the Labor department predicts that by 2020, another 1.4M IT workers are required and there will only be 400K IT graduates during that time!
4. Fragmentation will multiply in the mobile market, leaving significant advantage to Apple and Samsung being the only companies commanding premiums for their products. Score: Yes and no – Fragmentation did occur in Android segment, but the overall market consolidated greatly. And Samsung and Apple continued in 2013 to capture the lion’s share of all profits from mobile and smart phones. Android picked up market share (and fragment into more players), as well as Windows Phone, notably in Europe. Apple dipped some, but the greatest drop was in ‘other’ devices (Symbian, Blackberry, etc). So expect a 2014 market dominated by Android, iOS, and a distant third to Windows Phone. And Apple will be hard pressed to come out with lower cost volume phones to encourage entry into their ecosystem. Windows Phone will need to continue to increase well beyond current levels especially in the US or China in order to truly compete.
3. HP will suffer further distress in the PC market both from tablet cannibalization and aggressive performance from Lenovo and Dell. Score: Yes! – Starting with the 2nd quarter of 2013, Lenovo overtook HP as the worldwide leader in PC shipments and then widened it in the 3rd quarter. Dell continued to outperform the overall market sector and finished a respectable second in the US and third in the world. Overall PC shipments continued to slide with an 8% drop from 2012, in large part due to tablets. Windows 8 did not help shipments and there does not look like a major resurgence in the market in the near term. Interestingly, as with smart phones, there is a major consolidation occurring around the top 3 vendors in the market — again ‘other’ is the biggest loser of market share.
2. The corporate server market will continue to experience minimal increases in volume and flat or downward pressure on revenue. Score: Yes! – Server revenues declined year over year from 2012 to 2013 in the first three quarters (declines of 5.0%, 3.8%, and 2.1% respectively). Units shipped treaded water with a decline in the first quarter of .7%, an uptick in the second quarter of 4%, and a slight increase in the third quarter of 2%. I think 2014 will show more robust growth with greater business investment.
1. Microsoft will do a Coke Classic on Windows 8. Score: Yes and no – Windows 8.1 did put back the Start button, but retained much of the ‘Metro’ interface. Perhaps best cast as the ‘Great Compromise’, Windows 8.1 was a half step back to the ‘old’ interface and a half step forward to a better integrated user experience. We will see how the ‘one’ user experience across all devices works for Microsoft in 2014.
So, final score was 3 came true, 2 mostly came true, and 1 did not – for a total score of 4. Not too bad though I expected a 5 or 6 . I will do one re-check of the score when the end of year IT unemployment figures come out to see if the strengthening job market made up for the 3rd quarter dip.
As an IT manager, it is important to have strong, robust competition – it was good to see both Microsoft and HP come out swinging in 2013. Maybe they did not land many punches but it is good to have them back in the games.
Given it is the start of the year, I thought I would map out some of the topics I plan to cover this coming year in my posts. As you know, the focus of Recipe for IT is useful best practice techniques and advice that works in the real world and enables IT managers to be more successful. In 2013, we had a very successful year with over 43,000 views from over 150 countries, (most are from the US, UK, India, and Canada). And I wish to thank the many who have contributed comments and feedback — it has really helped me craft a better product. So with that in mind, please provide your perspective on the upcoming topics, especially if there are areas you would like to see covered that are not.
For new readers, I have structured the site into two main areas: posts – which are short, timely essays on a particular topic and reference pages– which often take a post and provide a more structured and possibly deeper view of the topic. The pages are intended to be an ongoing reference of best practice for you leverage. You can reach the reference pages from the drop down links on the home page.
For posts, I will be continue the discussion on cloud and data centers. I will also explore flash storage and the continuing impact of mobile. Security will invariably be a topic. Some of you may have noticed some posts are placed first on InformationWeek and then subsequently here. This helps increase the exposure of Recipe for IT and also ensure good editing (!).
For the reference pages, I have recently refined and will continue to improve the production and quality areas. Look also for updates and improvements to leadership as well as the service desk.
What other topics would you like to see explored? Please comment and provide your feedback and input.
Best, and I wish you a great start to 2014,