How to Spot Technology Trends

A common question is: “How do you spot trends in the marketplace?”  Well, it’s hardly an exact science — actually not a science at all, but more of an art form.

It involves keeping your ear close to the ground … looking at a variety of sources for small bits of data and anecdotal evidence of what is taking place. Then you have to separate out the noise from the valuable signals.

Over at the MidMarket Innovators site I have a post up that outlines two ways to track trends in information technology.  One of them involves using a Job Trends tool at SimplyHired.com:

“For instance, at Simply Hired.com, a search engine for jobs, you can use the Trends tool to map out employment trends for various terms. I chose an IT concept that is growing in popularity over the past year: cloud computing. I wanted to see whether cloud computing is just a trendy term, or is actually growing as an IT architecture and deployment strategy.

As you can see, jobs requiring skills in cloud computing are up 224,337% since August of 2007 (as of this writing). That’s a large jump – evidence that organizations are staffing up for cloud computing.

Is a tool like the Employment Trends tool a definitive answer? No, of course not. It’s just one small bit of information.”

I also discuss using survey data. Read the whole thing: Are You Keeping Up with IT Trends in the Marketplace?

11 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

11 Reactions

  1. What’s the other way to track trends in IT? Doing surveys?

  2. That looks like an interesting tool to play around with. It may not be 100% but at least it gives you a good idea at how things are trending. I’ve always been curious at how trends are predicted.

  3. Fascinating tool. It’s a clever way to confirm your sense of changes that are taking place or things that are becoming more important.

  4. I am with Martin, what is the other way? It would also take a long time to go over all the different jobs and see the trends.

  5. Martin and Butler Consultants,

    There are a lot of ways to track IT trends. If you look at the full article, you will see that I cover 2 ways. Another way is to read surveys of IT executives about their plans to invest in certain technologies. Those surveys give you something to benchmark against.

    The surveys are better for getting a list of key technologies. A Job Trends tool like the one at SimplyHired.com is better for confirming and comparing a few known technologies.

    There are other ways, too, to see what’s trending. Reading annual reports and/or analyst coverage of large public companies to see the sales projections for specific technologies or product lines is another popular way of seeing what is happening in the marketplace.

    So, those are just a few ways.

    Lots of data points will show what is trending upward and getting more popular in the world of technology.

    – Anita

  6. Anita,

    Thanks for explanation. I read the full the article and saw the mention about surveys. I went back and searched for an old blog post on trends. I found a post from 2005 there Inc. Magazine has a piece on macro trends. Do you have any tips on publications that are following IT trends?

    Here is a tip for trend “spotters” in the telecom & mobile industry: http://www.springwise.com/telecom_mobile/

  7. Hi again! ;)

    I went to Springwise and found another interesting site. http://trendwatching.com/

  8. Google Trends works well too… A little secret: I love playing with it most of the time. ;)

  9. Hi Anita,
    I have happened into SimplyHired’s trends tool before and spent a ton of time playing around with different terms. Like you, I’m a bit of an information junkie. I think it was also here that I read a post about using Google Trends (from the Google Labs) and have that site on a regular visit list. The thing I’ve taken to using is the Google Insights for Search beta tool most frequently.

    As a slightly unrelated aside, I have been using a visual search tool called oSkope from time to time and did a search for cloud computing, selected Amazon, and it tosses up onto one page all of the book covers for that term. Kinda neat. The relationship to this post would give a reader a glance at dozens or hundreds of books, which would give an idea as to the popularity as well, although slightly lagging. 50-60 books came up for Cloud Computing.
    http://www.oskope.com/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



Seen a great marketing campaign in 2013? Nominate for the 2014 Small Business Influencer Awards.