The turn of the year is a good time to take stock of things and consider what’s next. In an effort to do so, TMCnet has interfaced with some of its favorite analysts and other partners. This one is with Mark Ricca, partner and senior analyst of IntelliCom Analytics.
Who is the most interesting person in tech this year, and why?
“Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. For the first time in several years, Apple hit a couple of speed bumps related to the timely delivery and buyer acceptance of their products. Consequently, Tim Cook is being scrutinized and compared to Steve Jobs. I'm betting that Tim Cook will redeem himself and Apple in the next few months.”
What was the biggest tech failure in 2013?
“The disastrous launch of healthcare.gov, the online portal to sign up for the Affordable Care Act. This Healthcare Act was intended to be a model for 21st Century social programs enabled by modern technology that was user friendly and reliable. It was anything but! Lessons learned include: Measure twice, and cut once; test and re-test all systems under realistic conditions and have a Plan B backup plan.
What were the three most important tech developments of 2013, and why?
“The continued advancements in these three technology areas:
Smartphones: The power of these devices and wide range of useful applications are unbelievable. Stay tuned for further developments.
Cloud solutions: We’re an industry that tends to overhype things. Some cloud solution providers would have us believe that their offers will create world peace and cure world hunger. But peel back the hype and you will usually find some pretty impressive cloud solutions in the marketplace that provide security, maintenance and capital expense avoidance.
Big data: The majority of companies in the world today are not suffering from a lack of data; instead they are challenged by an abundance of data and a lack of intelligence. Enter providers recognizing the need and opportunity that have solutions that can tailor the big data into relevant and meaningful intelligence.”
What was the top startup of 2013?
“I’m going to provide a different perspective on this question, and cite an established large corporation that has reinvented itself. In my opinion, reinventing a large established corporation can be as difficult as launching a startup. The corporation is National Cash Register (NCR). The company was founded in 1884 as a manufacturer of mechanical cash registers. They dominated that industry segment, launched a computer business, were acquired by AT&T in 1991, and spun off in 1995. A few years ago, they recognized that the two drivers of revenue and profits in the technology industry were software and services. Today, NCR offers a very impressive range of services, in addition to its traditional ATMs and point of sale offers.”
What was the most noteworthy acquisition?
“Again, I’m going to provide a different perspective on this question, and cite an established large corporation that has and will continue to make a large number of acquisitions each year. The corporation is Google. They have all of the [attributes] needed for successful acquisitions: an insatiable appetite for growth, a clear vision for business growth, a strong management team and deep pockets.”
What are your top three 2014 predictions for our industry?
“Continued industry consolidation via acquisitions.
As the economy improves, there will be a gradual but consistent increase in replacements and upgrades of IT products, software and services by businesses in all size segments and industries. There’s a lot of old stuff out there that needs to be replaced.
Increased focus on all forms and flavors of security. More personal and business information goes across networks and into databases every month. The mischief-makers are sophisticated and persistent. Constantly improving security is essential.”
If there’s just one thing related to tech that businesses need to know going into 2014, what is that one thing?
“Truly understand every-changing customer needs, expectations and preferences before launching a product or service. The build-it-and-they-will-come approach is very dangerous.”
Edited by Cassandra Tucker