Last week I had the pleasure of attending the IDC Directions conference in Santa Clara, California. I say “pleasure” because it turned out to be a great event. Sometimes one goes to an event and is overwhelmed with self-serving, high-browed mumbo-jumbo, but this was an event where I felt educated, listened to and engaged with. Great job IDC!

My interest was three-fold – cloud content collaboration, marketing, and an overall interest in where the industry is going. I came back with great insight into all three.

Cloud content collaboration

My fundamental take-away is that the old-guard is changing. Legacy is declining, cloud is advancing. IT attitudes to the cloud are continuing to progress – far more IT leaders are now comfortable with the cloud (55%) than just two years ago. Now, 27% of cloud content services can replace SharePoint or act as lightweight ECM, and SharePoint adoption continues to decline. This is something that the Huddle team has always advocated. The appetite for cloud continues to grow across business and cloud services are increasingly viewed as a strong, viable alternatives to traditional legacy on-premise solutions. Nothing really new here.

Something that resonated with me was commentary around “productivity gains driving change”. The three top drivers for moving to the cloud for content collaboration were stated as:

  1. Seeing productivity gains
  2. Security challenges
  3. Cost reductions

I agree that productivity improvements are transforming how teams collaborate together, while cloud computing obviously drives cost reduction. Security is critical – and I believe that the fundamental approach enterprises need to look for is a closed security model that protects their assets from accidental sharing or employees leaving.

Another topic I enjoyed was a discussion around “seamless collaboration at all times” and the need for “informal communications” as a more prevalent way of working together. It was interesting to hear IDC make a stand and state that the market for standalone social apps is going to go away. I have always believed this and struggled with social “for the sake of social”. It doesn’t mean social is going away – it just means that we’re embedding it within our collaboration processes to get our jobs done.

Marketing and CMOs

I spent some time chatting to marketing colleagues as it’s always of great interest to understand what they’re working on and how they’re tackling the ever increasing wave of technology choice! We had a great discussion over lunch and it was suggested that marketing leaders focus on mastering a core set of technologies:

  1. Web (moving quickly from status to dynamic and personalised)
  2. Email (bread and butter technology that everyone needs)
  3. Analytics (get the data, understand the data, focus on the data)
  4. Social monitoring (get out there, see what’s happening)
  5. Content (from purpose-built to a content farm being used in different ways)
  6. Collaboration (helping teams work more effectively together).

Interestingly, metrics to drive marketing seems less relevant than I’d appreciated. The marketing leaders of today seem to be saying “we know this is the right thing to do” and are no longer so maniacally focused on measuring everything that moves.

Marketing is a function built on four fundamental pillars:

  1. Data (collecting, analysing, real-time and predictive)
  2. Collaborating (with teams internally and externally)
  3. Content (written, audio, increasingly video)
  4. Engagement (through face-to-face, digital and social engagement with prospects and customers)

The future of the industry

IDC makes a big play on its definition of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd platforms. We’re apparently now deep into the 3rd of these – characterised as “cloud”, “big data / analytics”, “mobile” and “social business”. IDC did a good job of outlining these and projecting where the new major battlefields are going to be. A few items that caught my attention:

  1. The core is super-scaling and cloud infrastructure will grow 2X in the next 24 months
  2. We’ll see a major consolidation of cloud infrastructure providers resulting in six to eight major global IaaS providers
  3. We’re just at the beginning of a revolution in internet-connected “things”. This edge is hyper-extending (using IDC’s words) and will fuel a major explosion in killer apps impacting every industry on the planet.
  4. Platforms are consolidating and developers will be hosted on top of about six major platforms
  5. It’s all going to be about data – 80% of new cloud apps will be “big data intensive”
  6. We’ll see a massive growth of industry platforms that will totally disrupt their own individual industries. One in three companies will be disrupted in most industries due to the emergence of an “Amazoning” effect in every industry
  7. We will see a 10X increase in new killer apps – most of which will be data intensive.
  8. The 3rd platform is going to be the springboard for digitizing and then materializing everything from advanced cognitive systems to robotics and even 3D printing

Convenience will trump… everything

I found this concept very interesting. In the middle of one keynote they asked for a show of hands relating to “is privacy more important than relevancy”. I was surprised to see in a pretty full auditorium that the audience was split roughly half and half. I’m not sure what I was really expecting. In this day and age of NSA and Snowden, may be a greater nod towards privacy? According to IDC’s research age matters as under 35s will go with relevancy, while over 35s go with privacy. This aligns with some researchHuddle ran last year on security. It seems that younger generations are less concerned about security, which is something I find very worrying!


I found the IDC event exciting, informative and dynamic. It’s always good to get out of the office for a few hours and see the “big picture”. It helps refine your thinking and gives you the opportunity to ponder. The world is clearly moving forwards with increasing pace. Data is the new currency, collaboration is the new team-working, content is king and engagement is everything.

I look forward to seeing what the next year brings!

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