Every year we see the same cycle of predictions on the use and future of technology in the industry. In many areas the predictions are absent of relevance to one industry or another, let alone impact certain sized organizations. I have to chuckle to read the array of them from conventional wisdom ones like balancing supply and demand to organizations through efficient use of S&OP and organizations moving from reporting to intelligence. Even one that predicts IT will shift twenty percent of their technology use in the enterprise to cloud computing in 2010 is stretching it a bit -- even if its an interesting technology strategy.

Worse yet, is that they are not based on a solid base of methodical research across business and IT or evaluating the technology they are predicting. All of these are the same in that they are either generic or not tangible enough on what you need to do. Specifics are important to know when advancing from where you are with information and technology in your processes and the people who operate them.

I am not trying to be the Grinch, but let’s be real; we need to take a closer look at what we need as individuals and teams that operate within organizations.

Assessing your current environment and what is possible with technology for business needs will help develop a map of advancement to achieve at the start of this decade. I am personally very bullish on the potential of technology this year but do believe that we need to be more pragmatic about technology predictions and focus on what we need to do to improve in iterative time cycles like month to month. The days of multiyear technology projects are over, and it is imperative to add value every month and quarter that develop our competencies to the next level. As a seeker of those nuggets of insight you might want to skip over rhetoric and look for more fact-based advice that can help your organization.

In the coming weeks, Ventana Research will roll out recommendations for what your organization can do to maximize the use of enterprise software and technology across business areas like finance, operations, customer, sales and marketing along with IT. These will help you better optimize your strategies and plans along with saving you money and time to ensure you get to the next level of leadership as we found in our 2009 Ventana Research Leadership Awards. I would make sure to look at what other organizations have accomplished, what can help you innovate and optimize use of technology for business to be smarter and faster than others which is why our firm launched a new service called Ventana OnDemand to provide timely and bite-sized advice and education to make effective and informed decisions. If you depend on technology predictions from IT analysts or others you might find yourself increasing your risk of failure or recommending something that your organization is not ready to accomplish. Unless they are based on methodical research and experience across hundreds or thousands of companies that have been measured, the predictions are interesting opinions.

Let’s all hope for a successful 2010 and work collaboratively to advance business efficiently in their use of technology that can improve processes and resulting performance.

Mark Smith Also blogs at ventanaresearch.com/blog.