I didn't attend LeWeb this year, but judging by the chatter, one of the more discussed talks was given by Forrester's CEO, George Colony who outlined three "thunderstorms" approaching the tech & business world. I just finished watching his talk, and thought it would be interesting to outline portions of his talk with my take layered on it:
Thunderstorm 1: The Death of The Web
You'll have to watch the video (above) to grasp the full intricacies of what George is putting forth, but essentially he's making a call that app economies which have the potential to tap both processing power and the cloud, will change the Web and move it away from a network/browser model to something which leverages devices, apps and the cloud in a more powerful way.
My Take: Scale & Sustainability vs. Experience
I get what George is saying and claiming the death of anything gets headlines, but really what this will likely come down to is user experience vs. sustainability and scale. Apps already show promise of providing better experiences than browser/network, but a question remains how scalable it is for enterprises vs. consumers. While HTML 5 is already working on a more stable browser experience, apps are often dependent on OS systems. What's more probable is that the Web as we know it doesn't die—but loses dominance in the consumer area specifically. For businesses specifically, the demand will be formed around what model scales and can be sustained globally over time.
Thunderstorm 2: Social Saturation
Social is running out of hours and people meaning there is finite demand to meet the current glut of social start-ups and networks competing for our attention, usage and loyalty. As a result, we are moving into a "post social" world in which we see the demise of platforms like Foursquare which don't offer enough value to survive. The post social web will see new or evolved players who offer efficiency and value.
My Take: Value Is In The Eye of The Beholder
I think George is right on the bubble assessment but claiming that social platforms will move away from the Foursquare's of the world to platforms which offer concrete effiiencies and value is debatable. Both Twitter and Facebook emerged and evolved as different tools from which they started. Essentially the free market will demand what happens here, but it is likely that the ones who succeed will look more like a Kickstarter over yet another photo/location sharing network.
Thunderstorm 3: The Enterprise
George cited that 72 percent of enterprises are either interested in or already implementing social technologies as part of how their business operates. He cited a number of players in the enterprise space such as Salesforce, IBM and Microsoft and hinted that these could evolve and new players could emerge as well. He also noted that one of the core reasons enterprises are interested in social has a lot to do with their customers (the primary focus of enterprise social as he puts it).
My Take: Social Business
George isn't just talking about the internal social enterprise, he's talking about extracting business value from social, like more efficient employees, better business decisions made from data and data analysis, and improved products and services informed by customers to give a few examples. Most organizations are in their infancy of figuring out how to get real value from a newly connected environment and I agree that it's going to take a changing of the guard over time but there are massive opportunities. He's essentially describing social business, which over the next 10 years will need to be executed upon.
Great talk overall, highly recommend viewing it.