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2013 Predictions 2013 Predictions!

2013 promises to be an amazing year for the advancement of certain technologies, and I truly think the end of others. Here are some of my predictions for 2013 for IBM Notes and Domino, trends in enterprise and consumer technology, and more.

IBM, IBM Notes and Domino, IBM Connections

  1. Prediction:

    2013 will see continued silo enhancements to IBM Notes and Domino and IBM Connections. These teams are both working with amazing products, but I'm continually shocked that their efforts are so independent of each other.

    I don't think it's going to help that the marketing and sales efforts of both solutions often cannibalize "Notes" and "Connections" shops (and let's be honest, it's more Connections going into "Notes" shops that we see). That just causes customer confusion and a complete lack of faith in the platform.

    Corrective Action:

    IBM Sales and Marketing really needs to understand the power of each platform, and I'm not talking about the Community-facing divisions of Sales and Marketing -- they get it (for the most part). I want to be able to talk to a local branch ICS sales associate and have them tell me how Notes and Domino can address collaborative business needs and explain how Connections can be leveraged to bring social enablement both to your enterprise AND to your existing technology investments / in-house solutions.

    Think that happens now? I see the big push from the ICS product portfolio behind Connections... but it's being marketed completely wrong for existing organizations to take full advantage of the features and capabilities of the platform. The true strength of Connections is offered via the Connections APIs, which can be used to instantly (and seamlessly - if done right) bring social networking to any existing enterprise solution that allows HTTP access.

    I want to see a mini-campaign around leveraging Connections APIs via Sharepoint to socially enable the content stored there.

    I want to see a mini-campaign around using IBM Notes and Domino as a secure content delivery system with add-on collaborative features. Let's see an externally-facing

  2. Prediction: IBM will understand "social".

    Now that's a loaded statement... but one that I'm going to try to defend here.

    IBM has come out swinging with IBM Connections, which quickly established itself as the enterprise social platform.

    Watch live streaming video from ibmwebcastgermany at

    ... but why do most new social networks fail? While there are many factors, I think the main factor (which supports my point here) is that any social network that operates in a vacuum is destined to fail.

    There are four main social networks -- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ -- each serving their own purpose. Facebook allows you to share your real world via an online presence. Twitter allows you to share your immediate thoughts and actions with those within your circle of interest (and as a by-product gives you a pulse of what is happening around the world at any given moment). LinkedIn allows you to maintain your professional information and allows for work-related engagements. Google+ ... well, let's be honest, it's the Hangouts.

    Google+ almost proves my point actually. Even with simple ease of adoption/sign-up, ease of use, and some really cool features (of COURSE a company that's perfected the search engine gives you the ability to quickly tag and search for specific content), only a fraction of people with a Google account actually USE Google+. The fact that Android adoption is on the rise and how integrated Google+ is to the latest versions of the Android OS should show you just how bad the adoption numbers truly are.

    And why? I suspect it's because Google+ is such a silo when it comes to the social networks. Twitter and LinkedIn are very integrated, and Facebook -- the current King of the Social Networking Hill -- is the place where most people spend their day already.

    Google+ feels like this shoe-horned "oh I gotta check this other site now" network. And that's the biggest issue that I think faces IBM Connections as an enterprise social network.

    The majority of the IBM Connections implementations that I've seen tank (and when they tank, they tank hard) are due to lack of adoption. People just refused to change their day-to-day routines. There was no true incentive for them to use the Files facility in IBM Connections when they could just email the latest presentation (or more often save it to a common network share).

    The fix here is tricky: you need to give people incentive to truly adopt IBM Connections and make it part of their day-to-day routine. The best way to do that, in my opinion, is to leverage the Connections APIs and begin surfacing the social capabilities of the platform through exiting solutions.

    Otherwise it's not "social". What you've given people is an out-of-the-way place to store their stuff that they could either just as easily store somewhere else or that they see no immediate return on their investment to maintain.

    This isn't about badges or confused gamification tactics being applied to enterprise technology - it's about making the solution routine. It's about realizing that you're not the destination, but that you enable the user's eventual destination.

    I predict that IBM will understand this in 2013. Historically, the mention of Google, Microsoft, or any other competitive vendor was akin to summoning Voldermort. Solutions Integration -- the ability to play nice with others -- will be a huge selling point, and I think that'll ultimately drive IBM to understand that social is about enablement.

  3. Prediction: IBM Notes and Domino XPages will (further) evolve.

    Now that the vast majority of us has gone beyond creating our "Hello World" XPages-enabled NotesDatabase demos, I think 2013 will bring a new age of solutions using XPages.

    While there are still things that are holding us back from the platform's true potential (eg., XWorks not being able to consume and natively use OAuth as Domino Authentication is really the only thing holding XWorks back from being the go-to solution for every IBM Notes and Domino developer who has an idea for a great SaaS offering.) I think the majority of us now understand what XPages can do. I think 2013 will be the year we go beyond RAD with XPages.

    We've already seen some truly amazing solutions. If you're in doubt, look no further than the last developer contest. But 2013 could be the year where everyone starts thinking outside of the This is a Notes application paradigm and starts considering what real world business issues could be addressed via the platform.

  4. Prediction: There will be no App Store

    I still believe that the only successful platform app store is one that is vendor-maintained... and I don't see IBM stepping up and giving us a medium for delivering consumer-priced solutions to market.

    It's sad, as I think a consumer marketplace is exactly what the IBM Collaborative Solutions platforms need, but there is too much confusion as to who the target audience is for such a thing (and sadly, that's really where the conversation around this topic seems to start and stop).

    Until then, I think we'll see more ICS platform developers take their extra hours and weekend warrior their way through submitting applications to established marketplaces like Google's Play.

General Technology Predictions

  1. Prediction: You will know what RWD stands for...

    RWD, or Responsive Web Design, is the latest thing. You will be expected to at least consider RWD frameworks - like Twitter Bootstrap - in your development projects.

    I've mentioned this before, and I'll mention this in an upcoming article on RWD for IBM Notes and Domino XPages, that you really need to take more than simply using a framework into consideration when you discuss Responsive Web Design. The term that you should really become familiar with is Progressive Enhancement.

  2. The Future of BlackBerry...

    ... will be decided in 2013. I'm really looking forward to the BlackBerry 10, as the device looks like a killer device (and certainly makes the iPhone 5 look old by comparison).

    But the adverts that I constantly see about RIM offering to pay for and supply experts to help port Android and iOS apps makes me worry that other developers have abandoned the BlackBerry OS as a viable mobile platform.

  3. Prediction: HTML5 vs. Native Mobile OS Applications

    Facebook might have gone native for iOS and Android based on numerous complaints on speed and performance, but I predict they'll be the exception that proves the rule: HTML5 will be a major player in cross-platform mobile device application development... especially for enterprise application developers. With a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies that most organizations have today, going HTML5 is the only cost-effective mobilization effort for enterprise application developers.

    Thus, if you don't know HTML5, CSS3, and the latest standard web development (and especially mobile web development), I'd recommend you get started.

  4. Prediction: Individual blogs will die...

    I predict that 2013 will see a drastic downturn in enterprise blogging due to enterprise social media and social networking adoption. The main reasons that an enterprise blogs is 1) to get information out to their customers and 2) to engage their customers while showing a more "personal" face to an organization. While I think there will still be blogs (for those that currently don't engage is social networking nor subscribe to social media for their crowd-sourced news and information, I do think that blogs will at least start to die in 2013.

    From our community, just consider the information fragmentation that occurs with all of the blogs out there. It's amazing for search engine indexing great reference information, but the same can be achieved with higher page ranking sites that employ multiple subject matter expert authors.

    Consider SourceFed: started just a year ago by YouTube phenom Phil Defranco, SourceFed has become one of the most subscribed-to YouTube channels out there.

    Collectively, the SourceFed writers/hosts/personalities have created an amazingly entertaining (and informative) news network that manages to engage their followers in a truly inspiring way that, despite their talents, the individual writer/host/personality could not have built by his/herself.

    I see individual blogs melting away as those content authors can just as easily maintain their individual Twitter / Facebook / et al presence while being a part of something with more gravitas -- giving said content author more exposure and ultimately more time to spend on their individual expert contributions.

So let's recap: IBM will get "social", but not the need for an ICS marketplace. You'll take XPages beyond their currently conceived limits while also having to master HTML5, CSS3, and Responsive Web Design Frameworks. Some of you will join forces (Captain Planet-style, I'm certain) to create content networks for your contributions... but I honestly doubt you'll be writing any new blogs from your BlackBerry 10 devices.

Of course, these are just predictions. I could be totally wrong.

Like / +1 / Share this post and comment below, and here's to an amazing 2013!

About the author: Chris Toohey

Thought Leadership, Web & Mobile Application Development, Solutions Integration, Technical Writing & Mentoring

A published developer and webmaster of, Chris Toohey specializes in platform application development, solutions integration, and evangelism of platform capabilities and best practices.

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