Since my return to The Drill Hall, home of Rufus Leonard, I have been bombarded by numerous tweets, e-newsletters and RSS feeds describing what the next best thing is going to be in 2011 technology trends.

From the public launch of Quora, primed as the new Twitter, to the statement that location-based services will lead the way as 2011 technology trends. I could have sworn I read an article describing the lack of take up of the very same technology just before Christmas?!

Under pressure?

These trend predictions are all very well and good but the majority appear to be nothing more than a finger in the air or just a bit of fun. The problem is that they distract people from the tools and systems that truly can deliver. By highlighting the next big fad, more and more businesses feel pressured into keeping up to date and covering all number of new platforms, scared that in this switched on world they may be left behind or overtaken by their competitors. Brands are constantly being told that they must ensure a strong presence online to promote and defend their business. But in spreading ourselves thin we are all at risk of missing the benefits that are right under our noses.

Better the devil you know

We are far more likely to find the winning formula by running an audit of our current systems and tools, those that are proven, successful and continually evolving. By looking with a fresh pair of eyes at the challenges we face and the existing tools around us, we can find the solution has been with us from the beginning. It would be true to say that this only works if such services have kept up to date themselves and are continually adapting and progressing. Huddle achieves this through the regular introduction of new aspects to their product; from the new more intuitive tasks through to one of my favourites, the media viewer.

We have a theory about chaos

At Rufus Leonard, we ensure that we are at the forefront of innovation. However, we also continue looking at ways to use proven new media and social networking tools to improve internal communications and the way that we work together. Our use of Huddle has traditionally been as an extranet portal with document management and to this extent it has been superb. However, we have done the product a disservice as it offers so much more. To overcome new challenges faced by our clients and the drive to improve our own working practices we have gone back to Huddle to adopt more and more features. From online image libraries to the bespoke use of the Huddle API, we are finding new and exciting ways to develop our ways of working and ways of communicating with one another.

Back to the future

It would be quite easy to throw a new flash tool at the problems we face on a day to day basis, but would that be the right answer? I very much doubt it. 2011 is the year of adopting the platforms and services that were being heralded as ‘the next best thing’ in 2007/08. Those that have proven themselves, matured and evolved to be the real heroes of digital in 2011.

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