What's next for business applications in 2010? IDC Predictions 2010, a new report by IDC's Chief Analyst Frank Gens, is saying this is the year for "socialytic" apps, a "new mashed-up generation of business applications that leverage social and collaborative networks and derive insights from them." (IDC is a sister company of CIO publisher IDG.)\n\nPhil Alberta, VP of IT at a luxury retailer, agrees these apps are probably inevitable, but doubts 2010 will be the year they take the market by storm. Alberta thinks companies will need to negotiate new policies and become accustomed to the transparent nature of these apps first. But he does envision improved real-time global collaboration that will lead to better information getting into the system faster.\n\n"As synergies emerge from how you work, the data you need access to and the systems you use, people become more comfortable leveraging these tools from their home state, whether it's for collaboration, communication or another area," says Alberta. \nThe big puzzle is, "What's the benefit?" As of now, there's no ROI or business case for socialytic apps. "It's just a feeling that this is definitely going to make things better," says Alberta.\n\nIDC's report pinpoints "hot areas" for the apps, including marketing and reputation monitoring. Alberta agrees, adding his company is in regular discussions about the benefits and uses of social tools. He expects these tools to bring increased transparency across internal communications. When you "bring things to a more transparent place, everyone is more effective," he says. \nWhich industry giants will emerge as key vendors for socialytic apps? According to Alberta, Google will definitely set the standard, and IDC's report predicts IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP will also be major players.