Summary: Enterprise software is evolving faster than ever, and plays a critical role in all aspects of a business. It’s an area that CIOs and IT leaders must constantly monitor. So, where is enterprise software headed in the near future. In this article, we explore 6 trends to watch.
Back in 2011, Marc Andreessen pronounced, “Software is eating the world.” He recognized the disruptive force of software. Software-driven companies were ousting established companies on a regular basis. Software was working its way into every facet of the business.
Fast-forward to the present, and we see that he wasn’t wrong. Software plays a critical role in all aspects of a business. Good software can give your organization a competitive edge, while outdated/inefficient software can slow it down.
On top of the critical role that software plays in the business, it’s evolving faster than ever. Today’s cutting-edge software might very well be obsolete in 5 years. It’s truly an area that CIOs must constantly monitor.
So, where is enterprise software headed in the near future? Today, let’s explore that topic from a broad perspective. I’m looking at all aspects of enterprise software in this article, from development to features to new technologies. These are the software trends that your business must monitor in 2019.
Voice in the enterprise
It’s a topic that I’ve touched on in past articles, but voice-driven software interfaces are the next big thing. As software becomes better and better at recognizing speech, we’ll see more enterprise software products implement voice search and interaction.
As explained below, it doesn’t stop with voice search. In the very near future, more businesses will harvest data from speech as well.
“2019 will be a pivotal year for voice in the enterprise with Red Box’s recent research highlighting that 76% of organizations expect to move to a voice-first strategy within less than 5 years,” says Richard Stevenson, CEO, Red Box. “Advances in Transcription, AI and ML make previously unstructured voice data accessible in volume and 95% of the IT executives we surveyed regard voice data as “valuable” or “very valuable”. However, it is often fragmented or locked away and many organizations will be looking at how to capture and leverage the best quality and holistic voice data sets. There will also be increasing focus on architecture and the ability of software applications to be open and talk to each other in order to maximize the value of the data that they all consume and deliver the sought-after business outcomes from digital transformation strategies.”
AI works its way into enterprise software
Artificial Intelligence isn’t a new technology, but we’re seeing it applied to enterprise software on a much larger scale.
For instance, voice search requires AI to understand the user’s query. ERP vendors are working AI into the offerings to provide a more “intelligent” system. We’re seeing AI-driven chatbots interact with prospects/customers in real-time. Those examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Artificial intelligence has permeated many fields from AI image editing to psychology.
AI is the wave of the future and one software trend that CIOs can’t afford to ignore. As explained below, you can expect to see the tangible impact of AI on consumers in the very near future.
“AI is a trend that cannot be ignored. AI has been in use behind the scenes for a few years, being built and deployed during its infancy to track and respond to our web and consumer patterns,” says John Merryman, Managing Director of Glasshouse. “The more recent examples include tracking people and behavioral patterns in China, the world’s first virtual newscaster, self-piloting vehicles, and this is just the beginning.
With the advent of widely available AI platforms and services from Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, we expect AI to deliver more tangible impact to consumers. Developers have had access to systems and tools for a few years now, and in parallel to the initial growth of AI/ML skills outside of academia and the big 3 (which have in many ways become the new academia for computer science), the tools are maturing.”
It doesn’t get a lot of press, but software flexibility is more important than ever before. Now, I realize that it’s a fairly vague term, so let’s dive into what this means from a practical standpoint.
Whether you’re purchasing enterprise software, building it from scratch, or using a development platform to build software applications, software flexibility looks like this:
– It adapts to your business: Flexible software will adapt to fit your needs and business processes, not the other way around.
– It works well with others: Built on open source architecture, flexible software will integrate with other systems and applications.
– It keeps up with modern technology: Technology is evolving faster than ever. Flexible software is constantly enhanced to keep up with the latest trends.
Why is software flexibility so important these days? We’re living in an era where business agility trumps most everything else. Your organization’s ability to adapt to changes is of critical importance. Modern businesses can’t afford inflexible software that slows (or locks) them down.
“Today, ‘flexibility’ is a steady trend in enterprise solution development because it is vital for a company’s survival in the fast and changing business environment,” says Uladzimir Sinkevich, a Java Architect at ScienceSoft. “Businesses migrate away from tightly coupled monolithic applications in favor of complex, distributed modular systems based, for example, on microservices/web services and containers. Such an approach allows for independent updates, debugging, scaling, simplifies integrations with third-party systems and makes applications inherently cloud-native.”
Development platforms accelerate software development
We’re living in the digital age. Almost everything we do–on a personal and business level–is now digital. This trend isn’t going anywhere.
What does this mean from a business standpoint? Demand for digital solutions is growing. End users want more applications/solutions/software etc… Business leaders want new solutions quickly. The problem is, IT departments are struggling to keep up. They can’t keep pace with the increasing demand with their current resources.
To meet these demands, we’re seeing growing adoption of low-code/no-code development platforms. According to Forrester, the low-code platform market is growing at a 50% rate annually.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, low-code platforms helps developers deliver business applications faster. They also provide self-service development capabilities to business users, which lets the IT department offload some development tasks. With the growing demand for digital solutions, we can expect this trend to grow.
GDPR and data within enterprise software
You’re probably at least a little familiar with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that went live last year. It created a law to enforce European data protection & regulation rules, and the right to personal data protection.
How does this apply to software?
Quite a bit, actually. GDPR provides strict guidelines on how organizations use and protect personal data. It also means that customers have the rights to have their personal data deleted upon request.
In other words, you must keep track of where sensitive data is located, how it’s protected, and who has access to the data. Do you use SaaS tools? You must understand how the vendor secures your data and where it’s located. Do you host software on-premise? You must understand where the software stores data, how it’s secured, and who has access. As explained below, this forces IT leaders to take a long-term view of their data needs.
“I think we’re going to see a trend in how people plan data usage,” says Christopher Kuhn, COO of OTRS. “Last year, with the rollout of GDPR and its continuing impact worldwide, the importance of data handling processes soared to the forefront of public attention. However, as that initial push settles, the work to stay in compliance and manage data in a new and ethical way will become a focus. We won’t be able to rely on the thought process of “just get all the data we can as quickly as we can and store it away somewhere until we need it.” Instead, IT leaders will need to start taking a long-term view on their data needs and plan projects accordingly.”
Augmented and Virtual reality has been around for a while now, but hasn’t really exploded yet. One reason: VR/AR software needs a lot of processing power to run, and current bandwidth restrictions limit the available cloud processing power. However, that’s likely to change with the rollout of 5G networks over the next few years.
Now, I don’t think VR/AR software will see mainstream adoption in the business world this year. But, I include it on this list as it’s a software trend that CIOs must keep an eye on. It holds the potential to significantly impact businesses in the coming years, and cannot be ignored.
“I believe that no matter what software starts to roll out in the coming years, it will be geared to VR/MR/AR/XR,” says Bill Hussey of Pitchboy. “Two reasons:
– The biggest impact is cost efficiency, the same ROI’s at half of the cost
-Technologies like VR are not used widley at the moment, but companies like Google, IBM, and Microsoft have been investing their time into devices like VR.
It’s just a matter of time before enterprise training is done through these technologies rather than through humans in the training departments as the cost is high for the same ROI. “
These are just a few enterprise software trends to watch in the coming year, but the list could be much longer. Would you add anything to this list? Feel free to comment below!