Summary: As technology evolves at breakneck speed, business agility becomes more important than size. An organization’s ability to adapt to changing trends becomes necessary for survival. In this article, we explore the next major tech trends to watch for, and explain why they’re so important.
According to Forrester Research, business agility now trumps size. “Companies must break away from the assumption of sustainable competitive advantage and embrace adaptable differentiation,” they explain in a Forbes.com article.
But…what does that mean?
It means you can’t get comfortable. As technology evolves at breakneck speed, sustainable businesses are those that can adapt. They recognize and capitalize on emerging business and technology trends.
The big question: How do you know which trends are here to stay, and which are passing fads? What trends should you watch for in the near future? Today, let’s uncover a few enterprise tech trends you must watch in the coming year. These trends have the ability to improve your overall business productivity, to change how you do business altogether. Here are 6 key enterprise tech trends to watch in 2015:
1. Businesses adopt IoT (and don’t just talk about doing it)
Gartner estimates that 4.9 billion connected things will be in use in 2015, up 30 percent from 2014. In the coming years, the Internet of Things (IoT) holds amazing business potential.
As more and more physical objects become connected to the web, businesses must answer a pressing question: How can we take advantage of the Internet of Things?
“This year, enterprises will finally figure out how to leverage the IoT to make a difference for their business,” says Ron Bianchini, CEO and co-Founder of Avere Systems. “We already see consumer products like the ‘connected home’ taking hold and think it’s only a matter of time before this theme extends to the ‘connected business’. However, with IoT comes growing amounts of data and as a result, a need to enhance one’s data storage strategy. In 2015, companies will be looking for robust storage solutions that let them fully embrace and leverage the IoT.”
2. Bluetooth beacons gain ground in the business world
So, what’s driving the Internet of Things? How do we connect the physical world to the digital world? Bluetooth beacons hold great potential in this area.
Beacons are small pieces of hardware that transmit data directly to a smartphone or tablet via bluetooth. They have the potential to change many areas in the business world, from shopping to inventory management, and so much more. Here’s a nice article that explains this technology in more detail, if you would like to learn more.
“Bluetooth and IOT is going to be big in 2015,” says Jimmy Buchheim, CEO of Bluvision. “While the idea of connected devices and IOT has been around for many years. New bluetooth technologies, particularly *beacon technologies *are truly enabling IOT in the enterprise for a varied number of uses. Everything from inventory management to managing cooling systems will enable enterprises to save thousands of dollars in the coming years. Even retailers, ad agencies and marketers can deploy and manage beacon proximity campaigns that will enable a higher engagement and level of mobile marketing.”
3. Self-service platforms explode in the business
In the past, the IT department controlled technology. After all, technology was scarce, and difficult for end users to obtain and use. If business users required software or hardware, they went through IT.
That’s changing. Over the past few years, we’ve seen consumer hardware catch up to business hardware. Now, we’re seeing that same trend come to software. Software has become simpler and more intuitive. With the right software, end users can accomplish far more tasks on their own, like reporting, simple application development, and more.
These changes are driving the rise of self-service platforms in the enterprise. We’re seeing more and more IT departments provide end users with self-service software–giving them direct access to data. This trend will only grow in the coming years.
“When they find it confusing or difficult to use, end users bypass enterprise software and look to third party solutions,” says Tyler Wassell, Software Development Manager at mrc. “This is happening with greater frequency–thanks in part to the availability of software and the legacy software still used by many businesses. To combat this problem, more IT departments are providing end users with self-service tools. These tools allow users to handle their own basic development and report-writing while allowing IT to maintain security over data and user access. It’s a win-win for IT and the business.”
4. Hybrid clouds become the norm
In the past, the cloud conversation revolved around pros and cons. Is it safe? What’s the business value? Which applications should we move to the cloud?
Now, businesses have moved past those initial questions. They understand where the cloud fits, and the pros/cons of cloud adoption. They realize that some applications will benefit from the cloud, while others should remain on-premise. As a result, we see businesses trending towards a hybrid cloud approach–keeping some apps in-house, while moving others to the cloud.
“In 2015, every company will need a cloud strategy (public and/or private) within their datacenter to remain agile in the market and responsive to customer needs,” says Bianchini. “As big data continues to be the hot topic for companies across all industries, using the cloud will become even more important to help balance the datacenter. However, amidst all the convenience that cloud offers, businesses still need to think about keeping on-prem security/policies. Enter hybrid cloud – we see it becoming the norm in storage and compute this year.”
5. Enterprise apps become consumerized
Consumers are spoiled. They can pick up their smartphone and download almost any type of app in seconds. These applications are often free, easily available, and offer intuitive interfaces.
The problem is, business users now expect this in their enterprise apps. They expect to find the same level of user interface design that they get with their consumer apps.
“Today’s mobile (and modern) workforce spends their free-time outside of work interacting with consumer apps that are enjoyable to use, whether it’s
news sites that are predictive and personalized, to social media apps that keep us engaged for hours.”
“The problem *(or the opportunity)* starts when today’s modern employee switches from personal/consumer mobile activity to their enterprise systems,” says Reid Lappin, Founder and CEO of Vokal Interactive. “The enterprise platforms are archaic and lack the “thrill” mobile users are used to experiencing outside of work.”
“As more and more companies transition to BYOD environments or allow for a remote workforce, that “switch” from consumer to enterprise should be seamless. To achieve that, enterprise apps should be “consumerized” so they have the same productive and predictive capabilities as consumer apps.”
“Even in the enterprise space, mobile real estate is competitive. So, the goal for companies today is to earn their own employees attention by creating engaging, enjoyable and productive mobile experiences that people actually want to use. By doing so, companies increase productivity and, ultimately, give back time to their workforce – something that is a valuable commodity to any employee.”
6. Information security becomes a building block
When the healthcare.gov website was first rolled out, it was riddled with problems. The most dangerous problem: A “white hat” hacker testified on Capitol Hill that security was never properly built into the site. He claimed that fixing these exposures could take over a year of work.
This is a growing problem as applications move out from behind the firewall, and into the cloud. Rather than simply securing the network and monitoring user access, security must be addressed on an application level.
We’re seeing many businesses learning this lesson the hard way these days, in the form of security breaches. The only upside: This forces businesses to take security seriously, and rethink their current application security approach.
“Traditionally, enterprises have approached information security as building walls around the castle and deploying gate keepers,” says Rajesh Ganesan, director of product management at ManageEngine. “This strategy worked as long as all information was confined within the enterprise network. But the proliferation of cloud and mobility renders this model completely irrelevant, and hence, enterprises have to look at information security as one of the building blocks of their IT architecture. This means the definition and enforcement of information access control policies, for all information at rest and in transit, over all the entities that participate in the enterprise information cloud. Enterprise management should also acknowledge that it is not practical to build information systems that are 100 percent secure and, therefore, proactively put in appropriate mechanisms for self-defense, self-protection and self-destruction of information for every entity. This will greatly change the landscape of enterprise IT going forward, from vendors incorporating security as a building block to enterprise operations building and operating the infrastructure.”
So, what do you think? Is there anything you would add to this list? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments.