Skip to main content

Forrester’s list of tech trends indicates stagnation

As my regular readers know, I love a good list of things to ridicule. Generally speaking, these lists show up in December and January, and they tend to either predict the coming year or lament the past year.

These sort of lists are decided using a different method to all the bogus lists of top 100 executives, which tend to be pure speculation dreamed up by editors over lunch.

So, I was pleasantly surprised to see a list in February that I could comment on: Forrester's top 15 emerging technologies to watch. With a list this long, in an era where there are probably only two or three technologies to watch, I figured this would be worthwhile to tear apart.

Let's begin.

Right off the bat, the folks at Forrester cheat the game. They list "mobile apps" and "mobile platforms" as number one and two, despite the fact that one cannot exist without the other. They should be combined as just "mobile technologies." Never mind the fact that this trend emerged a decade ago and skyrocketed with the iPhone back in 2007. FAIL.

The number three trend is "Big data platforms for real-time analytics." Maybe this is a trend, but is it really the third most important? I guess it is when there are no overwhelming trends at all.

Then comes number four: The cloud. Gee, shocker.

Number five is "Infrastructure as a service," including the hybrid cloud. Hey, wait, this is essentially the same as number four. Another cheat. FAIL

Number six is "Business event processing and rules platform." Isn't this the same, in essence, as number three?

Next comes number seven: "Big data platform for batch analytics?" Really? These are all bogus "emerging" technologies.

This continues in the same vein. They are all mainframe initiatives done mostly in the cloud for all sorts of data manipulation, mining, and analysing. This is also known as a grand rationale for using often unneeded services.

All this can eventually be boiled down to four actual trends: Cloud, mobile, social, and data. These are all major trends that began immediately after the dot-com bust around 2001, making them all over a decade old. And if you really want to take these back further than 2001, I think that's easy to do.

Curiously, before these trends began to emerge, everything was moving towards individual empowerment, with desktop computing being in the middle of the revolution. By moving away from this primary trend (mobiles hangs on to the remnants), the entire industry has suffered, and for good reason. These "new" trends are counter-revolutionary and hark back to the pre-1980s mainframe and distributed processing eras. Thus, any real progress has been stopped dead in its tracks and once-promising developers now work on variations of the flashlight app.

It's too bad, but there is only one major trend here: Stagnation.