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Five Enterprise Software Trends in 2016 and beyond

Posted by  Erik Tiden

Welcome to 2016, the year that DX, Digital Transformation, goes from hype to reality.  Disruptive new business models will re-imagine and transform the workplace.  Industry will be challenged.  Some companies will apply these new paradigms, gain competitive advantage, and thrive.  Some companies will not.

These five trends are at the heart of the revolution.  It is imperative that you understand them and incorporate them in your long-range business plans so your organization can succeed during the impending upheaval.  Ignore them at your peril.

Trend 1 – The Internet of Things Spreads to Every Thing, Everywhere

The keyboard is no longer king.  It is only one element the impending data avalanche from a growing network of information contributors.  Mobile devices, wearables, sensors, automotive devices, environmental devices - all have matured.  The proliferation of input gleaned from them is increasing rapidly.

Gartner calls this the “digital mesh.”   Everything in the digital mesh produces, uses and transmits information. This information goes beyond textual, audio and video information to include sensory and contextual information.  According to David Clearey, a vice president and Gartner Fellow,

"In the postmodern world the focus shifts to the mobile user who is surrounded by a mesh of devices extending well beyond traditional mobile devices.  And while devices are increasingly connected to back-end systems through various networks, they have often operated in isolation from one another. As the device mesh evolves, we expect connection models to expand and greater cooperative interaction between devices to emerge.”

Effective enterprise software collects this cacophony of data, makes sense of it, and incorporates it into your business processes.   And for that you’ll need the new analytics. 

Trend 2 – The New Analytics

New techniques and strategies are emerging to analyse this tidal wave of information.  It will be too expansive and complex for humans to digest.  Smart software will autonomously analyze the terabytes of input and then suggest solutions and outcomes to their human “masters.” 

Yesterday’s software was designed for computations and functionality.  Today’s generation is designed for analytics.  It will provide a level of intelligence never seen before.  Self-learning programs that uncover insights beyond human comprehension will gain a solid foothold in our operations.  Expect this trend to evolve and expand quickly in a few short years, but the best businesses will begin taking advantage in 2016.  

Trend 3 – Rapid Advances in User Experience

In 2016, user experience will go beyond a pretty interface.  The technology landscape will be dominated by an intense focus on user experience.  Smarter systems will facilitate seamless interactions that anticipate the needs and behaviors of users.  Expect intelligent software to reduce the need for user interaction at all.  

As consumers we’ve come to expect an elegant and intuitive experience.  As business users we will expect the same.  In addition, the impact of BYOD, Bring Your Own Device, will continue and accelerate this usability trend, as employees choose a familiar device, tailored to their personal needs.  The overall result will be employees constantly interacting with their peers, their computers and the worldwide web.
Excellent usability makes your business applications far more impactful.   As your teams exchange more data, more often and from more places than ever before, you’ll realize increased efficiency, more collaboration, and better, timelier information.

Trend 4 – The Forecast is Sunnier for the Cloud

Small and midsized businesses have led the migration to the cloud.  They started with applications that were not core to their business mission, and in a short time, more and more mission-critical apps have been moved to the cloud.  In 2016, expect the large multi-nationals to join the party.   By 2018 Gartner is forecasting that 25% of large organizations will run their financial applications on the public cloud. 

Enterprise-strength cloud solutions are increasing.   Security fears are waning.  Larger companies are hungry for the greater agility and reduced IT complexity that cloud solutions offer.  The movement of core applications to the cloud – among all size businesses -- is inevitable.

Trend 5 – The Empowered Workforce

Sophisticated software will enable high-wage, high-skilled workers to reduce mundane tasks.  According to a McKenzie & Company Report of November 2015,  “…as many as 45 percent of the activities individuals are paid to perform can be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technologies.”  The report references all employees, from CEOs, financial managers and top managers to frontline employees, the ones respond to customer’s needs. 

Increasingly sophisticated software will perform increasingly sophisticated tasks - from analyzing reports and data to making operating decisions, from preparing staff assignments to reviewing status reports.   The result will be engaged and empowered employees that deliver greater value.  

These 5 trends - user interface, IoT, analytics, cloud and the automated workforce – are at the heart of Digital Transformation.  IDC’s chief analyst, Frank Gens, says in this new world enterprises must “transform or die.”   They must “create competitive advantage through new offerings, new business models, and new customer, supplier, and distributor relationships.”   The right technology is the key enabler.  

It is essential to understand and harness the power of these trends.  Your business depends on it.  Unit4 is here to help.  Our Self-driving ERP is built to help your organization thrive during the great digital transformations of 2016…2017…2018 and far into the future. 

Erik Tiden

Erik Tiden

Erik Tiden joined Unit4 in 2015 with responsibility for implementing Unit4’s product vision across the full product lifecycle comprising product management, application architecture, and research and development for all Unit4 solutions. Erik previously worked for Microsoft where he was General Manager responsible for the global Microsoft Dynamics’ cloud and on-premise solutions business for small and medium-sized businesses. Prior to that he served as Vice President Engineering, Business Solutions at Hewlett Packard and also held several executive roles at SAP.

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