In my prediction last year I mentioned:

In 2012 practically all electronic devices will be internet based. As people progressively learn to explore and mature the use of this technology, the growing impact on business models and collaborative working models will trigger new rules of survival in the new internet-based global economy. Successful organizations will transform accordingly.

I also mentioned a number of factors like “Changes in political systems, environmental concerns and issues, climate changes and natural disasters…” that would create additional pressure for the development and use of internet-based technology and software systems.

The year 2012 has confirmed (without a shadow of doubt) that organizations of all types are changing their business models to adapt and leverage the intensive use of Internet and related devices that promote mobility and “virtualization” of working processes.

However, in my opinion, this past year has further revealed two major trends. First, Internet performance improved below the expectations — especially in developing countries, like Brazil, where economic activity is booming and upon which much of the practical usefulness of mobile technology depends. Secondly, there is a growing concern with Internet control, security and therefore a trend for increasing restrictions.

A significant (and desired) improvement of Internet performance requires significant investment in infrastructures. As major players are currently affected by the economic crisis in the developed countries, they seem more concerned with cost efficiency and increasing their profit from developing economies, rather than investing heavily in new infrastructures. In some of the BRICS countries like Brazil, Internet performance is so poor that one can hardly speak using mobile VoIP solutions like Skype and Viber (amongst many others).

On the other hand, the emerging negative side effects of globalization in the developed economies are raising concerns that may encourage more control and restrictions over Internet-based business processes. Not to mention the extreme caution that other major growing economies like China are considering over the free use of Internet.

Despite these trends, the commoditization of Internet-based services, especially cloud and instant messaging services will continue to grow. These products and services are less dependent on real-time fast Internet performance and will continue to evolve and influence ongoing changes in business models and processes.

My prediction for 2013 is therefore a slowdown in the IT developments that depend on high performance and free Internet, and a shift of concern (back) to security and related control systems and software. Products and services that can exist in the current scenario of Internet performance will continue to mature and perhaps bring about some interesting novelties in 2013 – with mobility continuing to be the major theme.

Is this a reverse process, or a permanent limitation, to the intensive use of Internet-based solutions and business processes? I don’t think so. In my view, this is a natural reaction to ensure the necessary balance between speed and agility on one side, and control and security on the other side. The focus of IT developments and business process will always alternate between these two concerns.

[Editor’s Note: This post is part of the annual “Cutter Predicts …” series.]

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Alexandre Rodrigues

Alexandre Rodrigues is a Senior Consultant with Cutter Consortium's Business Technology Strategies and Agile Product & Project Management practices. Currently, Alexandre focuses on the implementation of organizational Project Offices and Earned Value Management Systems.

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