Gartner's Not-Out-of-the-Realm-of-Possibility Predictions for the Decade Ahead
Insurance Experts' Forum, January 14, 2010
What's ahead as we pull out of the recent recession and into the next phase of growth? These can be difficult to predict—just as nobody coming out of the 1980-82 recession foresaw the impending PC revolution, or nobody coming out of the 1990-92 recession foresaw the rise of the Web and dot-coms.
Analyst firm Gartner issued its list of predictions for the years ahead that may seem outlandish, but predictions about the PC and Web booms would have seemed outlandish before their times. I also added some observations pertaining to the potential impact on insurance companies.
By 2012, 20% of businesses will own no IT assets. Gartner says many companies will rely on cloud at the back end, and let employees work off their own laptops and devices. Not likely for the insurance industry, which is risk-adverse to the idea of sending data off-site into the cloud.
By 2012, Facebook will become the hub for social network integration and Web socialization. This already hasn't happened? I've heard of companies using Facebook as their intranet. Insurance companies can make use of this resource and other social networking sites as well.
By 2014, most IT business cases will include carbon remediation costs. Companies are already looking hard at energy costs that result from IT, and thus the growth of strategies such as virtualization and internal cloud computing. Insurance companies with large data centers may benefit from more closely monitoring energy consumption.
Internet marketing will be regulated by 2015, controlling more than $250 billion in Internet marketing spending worldwide. More regulation will be a result of efforts to tamp down spam. As Web marketing is now a huge channel for many insurers, they need to pay heed to perceptions about Internet marketing, and make sure messages are well-targeted and informational to customers.
By 2014, over three billion of the world's adult population will be able to transact electronically via mobile or Internet technology. Gartner predicts that by 2014, there will be a 90% mobile penetration rate and 6.5 billion mobile connections. Phones will overtake PCs as Web access devices. At the same time, advances in mobile payment, commerce and banking are making it easier to electronically transact via mobile or PC Internet. This is an area of opportunity for the insurance industry, particularly when looking to reach younger consumers. But it also calls for Web site redesigns—to the simpler side—that can accommodate these smaller form factors.
One thing that should be noted is that Gartner's predictions are all based on technologies and services that currently exist and support proven business models. But it's sometimes difficult to see the future that's unfolding right in front of you.
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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