Happy New Year to all! I wanted to write a piece about the technology areas I will be following and focusing on during 2010 adding more detail to my post on investment trends and themes from a couple of weeks ago.
1. SaaS: This will remain a core area of interest for 2010 because of its accelerating adoption by corporations of any size and the variety of business processes being implemented by SaaS applications. I expect that during 2010 we will see more companies focusing on (and more investments in) vertical SaaS applications. We will leverage our firm’s expertise in healthcare IT, energy (carbon accounting and smart grid are great areas for SaaS and mobile application innovation), government and e-learning (applications that automate aspects of workforce retraining) to focus on companies developing applications that target these verticals. Finally, I expect to see more activity in SaaS application marketplaces. Following the success of SFDC’s application marketplace other SaaS vendors are starting to develop their own ecosystems and marketplaces. We’ll see what models will develop and where opportunities exist for private companies
2. BI/Analytics: This is another area where we will continue to focus on. As SaaS BI moves to the mainstream I am looking for new investment opportunities in two types of companies. First, companies that provide analytic tools, e.g., web analytics, yield optimization, e-commerce analytics to name a few, to support the performance-based advertising efforts of online advertisers and publishers, as well as analytic applications to better support branded response e-commerce. Second, companies focusing on collaborative BI and analytics and particularly applications focusing on collective intelligence and social analytics.
3. Big Data collection, management, and data mining/processing: I have often written about big data and focused mostly on the opportunities it creates for BI and reporting. Up to now I had been interested and following the developments in column-based databases and in-memory databases both of which provide structures that accelerate reporting and OLAP operations. Moving from big data BI to big data analytics necessitates the ability to perform data mining operations efficiently. For this reason more recently I have started spending time on NoSQL databases and MapReduce implementations. These databases will have the potential to create significant innovations that will allow users to better manage big data. MapReduce implementations can provide new ways of processing and mining/analyzing big data, as several early adopters have already demonstrated during 2009.
4. Security: The security market continues to experience persistent attractive growth (2-3 times the overall IT growth). CIOs indicate that corporate security initiatives are some of the ones that are least likely to be cut because of the problem of ongoing, evolving threats likely will never be fully countered. Of particular interest are companies working in technologies around governance, risk and compliance, data security platforms, and identity systems.
5. Mobility: While we don’t invest in systems and devices nonetheless the new mobile devices that will be introduced during 2010 have the potential at spurring a wave of software innovation. Tablet computers, most importantly Apple’s, are eagerly anticipated. We also expect new e-readers, including the one from Barnes & Noble, and new smartphones, particularly Google’s direct entry. I also believe that cloud computing will start impacting mobile platforms, e.g., mobile payment platforms, cloud services, and the resulting user experiences. So, I’ll be following this area more so than I did during 2009.