Staring into the magic crystal ball: enterprise tech trends in 2011

Let’s play an old wise seer and attempt to predict the future of enterprise technology:

1/ “Tablet Mania” will continue, but not in the enterprise, at least unless…

After it has become evident that Apple sells its iPads almost as fast as they manufacture them, there have appears lots of hypnotized iPad killers’ producers with dollar signs in their eyes. Despite being an interesting form-factor it’s doubtful iPad (or any other tablet) will make huge impact in the enterprise unless some major shifts happen.
First off, towards ability to easily create content. Imagine the target enterprise user – an average worker….pecking away at the finicky onscreen keyboards of the current tablet – looks like only a true tablet devotee can stand it and love this. Average worker mostly composes emails and documents, gives presentations and other daily boring things called work rather than watches HD video or reads eBooks. To become a natural choice for enterprises tablets should be more about handwriting recognition, a gesture-based operating system, ease of navigation.
Secondly, to truly be useful at a corporate level there should be made a shift towards collaborative software. This means users should be able to easily share documents with a roomful of tablets, view and annotate each other’s materials, and then store the results in a format as natural as a paper notebook.
Purely from a financial point of view when many companies provide their employees with a laptop and a smartphone it will be pretty difficult to “squeeze” a $500+ device into their purchase basket as well. Perhaps it’s worth thinking about some budget form factor combining a laptop replacement: with wireless keyboards, mice and docking stations, etc; and a pure tablet format.

2/ Location-based services make headway

The tools – ubiquitous GPS-enabled phones – are finally in place, and individuals are ready to share their location. For B2C companies it means that the race to offer location-tailored advertising has begun and heats up. Also it opens the door for more creativity in enterprise applications, especially for various sales and promotion tools. Be careful to make any initial location-based applications user-friendly and beneficial, rather than big brother-style tracking and monitoring tools.

3/ Attack of smartphones: from the CEO down

Thanks to Microsoft all iPhones, Androids and Windows Phone 7 devices can now talk to the nearly ubiquitous Exchange mail server, so people from the CEO down are going to want their smartphone integrated with enterprise services, otherwise they will be forced to carry a boring dedicated work phone. That’s why enterprises will seek to create a supportive and device-independent policy around allowing personal smartphones to access corporate email and other services.

4/ Simply saying “cloud” with breathless reverence won’t impress anymore

The hype surrounding the cloud will definitely subside: while the best vendors thrive all the rest will dwindle, all to the betterment of the industry at large. Delicately saying “cloud” with breathless reverence won’t impress anymore, sure, financial benefits and increased service levels will still do.

These are some major trends. What is your point of view about them? Could you add some more trends to the list?
Will be glad to see your comments here.

Thanks in advance!