Big Data

Tech trends for 2012: Where career potential lies

Nucleus Research, Inc. has released its top ten tech trends for 2012. It pros should take a look at the predictions to see if there is any career potential.

Nucleus Research, Inc. has released its top ten tech trends for 2012. We're seeing a lot of the same predictions from the Gartner Symposium so IT pros would be wise to check these out for possible career enhancement.

1. The Productive Enterprise

Nudged by the ready adoption of Facebook, many enterprise software vendors are incorporating social capabilities to their apps. But, according to Nucleus, for every organization that has successfully adopted social capabilities, there are two that struggle to make it work. The biggest concern is that social media will leach productivity (like Facebook does) without adding to the collaboration wanted. Savvy enterprises will find a way to align social tools to support clear business purposes.

2. The cloud will change development

The cloud has made development faster and more iterative. When changes can be made on the fly, companies can deploy once and then adapt an app as business needs change. As we go forward, the cloud will make development more virtual. Crowdsourcing efforts and the integration of social networking tools into the dev environment will provide opportunities for developers no matter where they live.

3.  SAP will reemerge

SAP revenues have gone up and the company has introduced innovations in areas like mobile device access. According to the report:

We've started to see real traction with Business ByDesign. This is partly because customers that have growth aspirations are also risk averse given the economy. Also, cloud delivery makes BusinessBy Design less onerous to support than traditional ERP deployments.

Nucleus also cites last year's exodus of top-level executives to be a good thing for its future.

4. Going big

Nucleus thinks that tech buyers are increasingly "going to look at big vendors with an 80 percent solution versus a best-of-breed application that must be managed, integrated, and negotiated separately."

5. More ways for everyone to manage big data

Nucleus recognizes that although big data is definitely being overhyped, "companies will soon make smarter decisions using analytics to comb through huge amounts of data." (I recently ran a piece about how to get started in the data analytics field.) The report says that this is one area where we'll continue to see innovation, like integration of field-programmable gate arrays.

6. Capital will move from labor to technology

While the unemployment rate will continue to hover near 10 percent, Nucleus sees technology hiring going up. A recent Nucleus survey (Nucleus Research 106, Nucleus 2012 IT spending survey, September 2011) found that technology spending is winning hands down. And there will be the need for people to support those technologies and to train end-users.

7. Smarter software

Nucleus says, "We expect to see more intelligent applications that search for and push information related to what workers are doing directly to their desktop, a rise in usability for analytical and text mining tools whose capabilities were previously only for the gearheads, and presence and location monitoring to drive new ways we interact with enterprise software."

8. Labor will get optimized

Nucleus claims that workforce management software will change to show which employees are the most productive, show up on time, and create the least scrap. "Workforce management vendors such as Dayforce and Kaba are now delivering this data to managers by combining analytics tools with data gathered at time and attendance kiosks." Slackers, beware!

9. Healthcare investment

Although the technology for moving paper health records into electronic form as been around for a while, Nucleus says that the availability of low-cost secure cloud applications such as those from Digitech Systems will drive significant investment in 2012.

10. Renewed focus on customer experience

Nucleus says it continues to see str5ong investment in CRM and related applications. They expect to see more investment in analytics, activity monitoring, and big data crunching as companies aspire to "the prefect combination of targeting, touching and treating their customers."

The full Nucleus Top 10 Predictions 2012 research note is available at


Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.


It used to be standard wisdom that having someone else manage your data center was a stupid expensive idea. Facility management meant that you couldn't really manage your own IT in your business successfully. Back in the day, it made sense -- sometimes. Pierce County had less than stellar people in their data center and hired CSC. The last straw was when one of the operators printed eight boxes of Assessor / Treasurer bills on payroll check stock. Drives would have a head crash and the operators would see the read errors, only to move the packs from one disc drive to another... repeatedly... until all 10 disk drives had to have the heads replaced and the packs had to be replaced as well. They transitioned out of that and things seemed to go well for awhile. Nevertheless, Empire Building became the rule of the day with the two managers in IT controlling millions of dollars a year and 85% of the people -- all while they locked down IT for their own advantage and being -- in defiance of the law against conflict of interest -- married to each other. It is in the last year that the chickens have been coming home to roost in this coop where the foxes are on guard, paid for by tax payers. It has occured to County Management that outsourcing a lot of the very expensive IT components to the Cloud could make very good sense and save tax payers a lot of money. All sorts of studies have been commissioned and, actually, outsourcing, using the Cloud and buying Off-The-Shelf packages for strategic systems makes a lot of sense to run more efficiently and save a lot of mony. That poor little computer room on the 7th floor of the County City Building down the hall from the Executive's Office is out of power, out of room and out of air conditioning. So much could be cheaper with fewer people. Ah, but now, who does the research and who makes the decisions? Who looks at the truth? Who does the evaluations? I had a year of that before I was RIFfed. I told them up front what it would take in my detailed report. They would not listen and went out on their own. They spent plenty of money. And do you know what they found? They found that my figures were right on the money and decided that they weren't going to pursue it any further. On the way out, I was told by the Director to outline a solution to Payroll / Personnel and Budget / Finance. I did and it is 16 pages of details of exactly how to do it. If it were possible to attach the report, I would submit it to you folks so you could see what you think. I also was commissioned to do a study to determine what Open Source Database they should use, since Sybase is costing them an arm and a leg. Well, not them... the taxpayers. I gave them the right solution. The Development Manager had other designs, since he codes applications along with his job as Manager. The point here is that there is an opportunity to make things more streamlined, efficient and have an acceptable ROI. The problem is politics. With foxes guarding the chicken house, the IT management is counting their eggs as they are hatching and decided that they are the ones to make the omlets from now on -- saving their careers while tanking the County IT. The point here is that the above initiatives are worthwhile in many cases. It just depends on whether the decisions are made by honest business people or by narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths and very selfish nutcases.


This assumes that there will be off-the-shelf (OTC) packages which can speak to at least 80% or more of applications needed to run a business. It makes little sense to reinvent payroll / personnel and budget / finance when specialists have made successful businesses supplying those services for the past 25 years. Best of all worlds is to have much of the infrstructure on The Cloud if those niggling questions about security can be resolved. Perhaps the front office business needs an IT staff of developers specializing certain software, but it might be possible for companies like SAP providing the necessary components. There are two big heartburns. SAP is one example -- it is expensive for a company to make a transition and past experience is that to make the transition successfully, it typically takes about $100 million, as in the case of major Fortune 500 companies. It would be so much better if SAP were to supply turn key solutions hosted outside the company buying the services. The other major stumblingblock to OTC and outsourcing is the transition. It is not only expensive, but in the short term, it can be unbelievably disruptive. Very smart professional project managers need to guide such efforts with no scope creep with a very strong hand with an extremely committed businesses. Half hearted attempts badly planed are roadmaps to disaster and anyone who pursues a sloppy transition is going to pay dearly. Doing the right thing for the long term takes a lot of courage and costs more than just money. The rewards are many, if only the transition occurs decently and in order.


"The cloud has made development faster and more iterative." In how far is that ment to be an (exclusive) feature to the cloud? Can someone explain?

Matthew Moran
Matthew Moran

Sure, I may be a broken record.. but.. the next hot technology and career trend is "business acumen and communication skills". Like it or not, there is still a big gap between the IT Professional and business owners and executives. Back in 2003 KPMG and Computer world had found the more than 78% of managers felt their IT pros did not speak about business in business terminology. More than 48% indicated an actual distrust of the IT professional. Mostly due to confusing jargon and a belief it was used to hide budget and timeline overruns. Certainly it is important to be aware of new technologies and keep skills up to date - but skills can be improved fairly rapidly - ie: programming is programming - but the ability to digest a business challenge and connect the dots with and for management is the killer app.


I'm new to the IM Security field so I hope this is not a dumb question. This may deviate a little from point number 2, The Cloud but ties in with point number 6. What makes the "cloud" so much better than a traditional infrastructure? Is it less vulnerable to malicious activity and attack? Are the cost savings, ROI, data confidentiality, integrity and access that much greater? I know you only mention it from a Dev perspective. I'm not being sarcastic, I'm asking an honest question. It seems to me the "cloud" will cause downsizing in IT/IM.


I'd like to read your report. Can you email it to me?


I agree that the cloud will downsize but only if the IT staff does not prepare for it. People hear the buzzword 'cloud' and they want it. the slick M$ commercials about the cloud make it sound really nice. so if the IT staff does not learn virtualization (at least an understanding of how it relates to the cloud) then people will look for those that know it. Of course this is just my opinion.

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