Top Trends for 2004

Top Ten Trends for 2004

It's All About Productivity Now. Dramatic Productivity Gains from New Technology Dominate the Landscape.

By Sam S. Adkins, Senior Director of Technology Analysis, Workflow Institute

Customarily, the Workflow Institute distributes reports and updates only to members. This one's on us, to celebrate our debut. This is our abbreviated forecast. For the full version, go here

  1. 2004 will define XML and Web Services. Companies that have Web Services strategies now are well positioned to tap into the second wave. The first wave was dominated by integration. The second wave will be dominated by productivity gains achieved by using Web Services to automate tasks, save time and increase output with fewer resources. Medium-sized and small businesses will be able to afford the new services previously available only to enterprise companies.

  2. Enterprise Application Integration accelerates. EAI absorbs several distinct product categories. Knowledge Management gets completely absorbed as a technology by Enterprise Content Management and Enterprise Integration Management technology.

  3. Productivity gains from new mobile technology explode. Primarily in the healthcare and field service industries, the productivity gains using mobile technology will be dramatic. The initial productivity gains from initial deployments in 2003 have been impressive and have sparked a brush fire of adoption as customers adopt the technology to increase productivity and decrease costs. In the healthcare industry, the technology is eliminating a spectrum of medical errors such as diagnosis, medication and prescription errors.

  4. Real-time Managed Collaboration and Workflow Automation start to converge. The convergence of collaboration and workflow begins to dominate corporate and government business practices. Once highly unstructured and completely unmanaged, new collaboration technology will harness Instant Messaging, Web-conferencing and application sharing.

  5. The broad adoption phase of Workflow Learning begins. The early adopter concept phase is over. Workforce Optimization, Automated Performance Management, Workflow Learning and Workflow Analytics merge. Workflow automation dominates the Enterprise Application Integration conversation. The convergence of managed collaboration injects immediate productivity gains. Informal Learning dominated by real-time contextual Workflow Learning becomes the overwhelming focus of corporate workforce development initiatives.

  6. Simulation reaches adolescence and identity crisis phase. The proliferation of simulation technologies continues in several distinct technology sectors including business process management, workflow modeling, gaming, educational publishing, military training, product lifecycle management and business intelligence analytics. Cost-effective, low bandwidth virtual reality technologies will explode as massively distributed multi-player gaming grows exponentially across the planet. Interactive Flash and video on smartphones and tablet PCs become common.

  7. Social Network Analysis Technology is commandeered for productivity. Business2.0 identified Social Network Analysis as the technology of the year for 2003. In 2004, it will become apparent that the technology can be harnessed to improve productivity and cut costs. Automated expertise mining and presence awareness will converge with the technology. In this case, it won't be the technology itself that makes the difference. As an enabling technology it will provide expertise maps with live human experts lighting up the switchboard of the network. Human expertise will shine.

  8. The battle for the single business process interface intensifies. There is a fierce battle being fought by several major vendors now vying for the new single business process interface. Each sector and industry leader has a different approach. Enterprise Content Management vendors are advocating "content-based applications".

  9. Agent-based technologies dominate the entire spectrum of technology innovation. Intelligent and smart software will grow in prominence. It will be identified as the ONLY way to offset the Information Tsunami crisis that is approaching the business world. Self-healing networks, autonomous computing, predictive software, adaptive workflows, vigilant security software and self-assembly chip technology will become common.

  10. The Information Tsunami becomes the top business challenge driving technology innovation. Information is doubling every 18 months and the growth rate is accelerating. The wave cannot be stopped so it has to be conquered. Technology, particularly agent-based software, is the only alternative. Time will become the metric that dominates all automation technology.

For a more comprehensive version of our predictions, go here
Posted by Jay Cross at December 23, 2003 02:24 PM | TrackBack

Fantastic site. Thank for this resource!

At the risk of sounding like I'm carping, all of the trends are listed as being number "1." Is this intentional?

Thanks again,


Posted by: Stefan Keydel at December 23, 2003 08:18 PM

Stefan, get a better browser.

Posted by: jay at December 23, 2003 09:17 PM


Not a really helpful response. From my Mac, and for the record:

  1. Numbering works fine with IE.
  2. Numbering works fine with Firebird.
  3. Numbers are all 1. with Safari.

Strangely enough, my OL list works fine, in Safari, in preview mode. I'm inclined to wonder what it is about your coding which causes Safari's renderer to choke.

Posted by: jowo at December 26, 2003 08:46 AM


Forgive my cattiness.

The code on this particular entry was generated from a template but I don't see anything that should bamboozle Safari. It all seems rather straightforward. Can you see sequential numbers here?

  1. one
  2. two
  3. three
Posted by: jay at December 26, 2003 10:20 AM

safari problems.

I have the same problem.
all the numbers in the top trends show as "1".
But in the three points list you just made, it shows ok.
1, 2 then 3...

Posted by: anonymous at January 21, 2004 03:18 AM

not bad

Posted by: photo paris hilton at June 30, 2004 04:08 AM

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