The Future of Business Software – Our Top Ten Predictions
In the past year we have witnessed multiple mobile and tablet releases, new developments surrounding smart watches, 3D printing and Google glass technology. The focus is now how to get information quicker, smarter and faster, and the world of enterprise software has adapted to reflect this trend.
Major industry players are now focused on developing software improvements and orientating product roadmaps in line with technological trends, including mobile applications, cloud computing, in-memory technology and big data.
1) It’s all about the cloud (and we don’t just mean the weather!)
The demand for enterprise cloud applications is developing rapidly – to the extent that many vendors are still refining their offering. With single and multi-tenant options frequently available, there are possibilities for any sized business dependent on budget and user requirements. What is clear is that clients wish to harness the power and flexibility of the cloud, and desire more openness and integration when it comes to cloud deployment. Servers quickly become obsolete, so cloud hosting options reduce expenditure in terms of hardware and internal IT staff resources.
2) Mobile application development is key
In an effort to take businesses to the next level, increasingly sophisticated mobile applications are being designed in order to address the need for accurate data, reports and analytics at the touch of a button. This will enable you to forecast challenges and opportunities on the move, better engage with staff and customers, and mobilise your entire business chain. SAP has recently announced it will join forces with Xamarin so it’s easier for developers to integrate their apps with the company’s mobile platform.
3) Data will get bigger
Data is becoming a science; the more accurate a company’s data the easier it is to drive long term business strategies and forecast opportunities. As such, it is essential vendors can speak the language of big data, which is becoming an increasingly common term for a collection of sophisticated and diverse data sets.
Organisations increasingly capture a multitude of data and existing systems are struggling to unify these complex, multi-layered data sets stored within modern day businesses. Therefore demand will increase for systems capable of easily storing, sharing, analysing, processing and visualising disparate data in a timely fashion.
4) And faster!
In-memory is fast becoming the ultimate industry buzz word. As other technologies continue to get smaller, business infrastructure will also be required to downsize. In-memory is an emerging technology that enables immediate access to information, with data loaded into memory, not hard disk. Systems such as SAP’s in-memory platform HANA, already combine data from virtually any source to deliver powerful,
real-time analysis capabilities. Thanks to this system and business intelligence, one of our clients can now process three million records in two seconds! It is also beneficial that heavy use of the system in one area of the business will not slow down the performance for other users. Traditionally lots of expensive extra hardware and memory was required to address this issue.
5) World connectivity
The future is all about connectivity around the globe, and as more devices continue to be developed we can expect to see a continual stream of apps that weave various devices and systems together in seemingly endless new ways.
6) Smarter machines
Machines will continue to get smarter, with embedded predictive capabilities. Technology already exists that allows databases to be embedded within devices and shift reporting, analytics and decision making to real-time. The majority of systems also feature built-in tools which monitor performance and memory consumption.
7) Securing security
Data security is an issue that has consistently featured in the news since the initial creation of the internet. However in the face of developing technology, such as the cloud, we only continue to hear more questions about how secure our private data really is. In fact, data security is often increased by partnering with a reputable cloud vendor, who is contractually bound to maintain security. Over the coming year we can expect to see companies expanding the security capabilities of their mobile solutions, analytic products and data platforms.
8) Let’s get visual
In the face of ever-increasing amounts of company data, it can be difficult to digest what business software is actually telling us. So far there is no magic bullet to address this issue, but the emergence of cloud, mobile and interactive dashboards will play a massive part in data visualisation. With the ability to easily graph and interpret complex spreadsheets of information, decision makers can save time and money. In addition, clear and concise reports are not only easier on the eye, but more digestible for third parties and can be viewed instantly on multiple devices. However while data visualisation is a new and interesting way to dissect data – it doesn’t mean much if it isn’t providing the information needed to improve decision making and forecasting.
9) Design and user experience
Similarly, the software system itself is becoming an increasingly visual marketplace, and the user experience is paramount. As a result, software authors are enhancing their products to create meaningful user experiences that extend beyond mere functionality. For example, Infor recently engaged a creative design agency to move their SunSystems programme beyond the basics of ‘look and feel’ to a more total experience surrounding user interaction with the software. Users are also frequently able to customise their own screen without impact on overall company system configuration.
10) It's difficult to solve problems without useful business intelligence
Business intelligence will become increasingly important and popular across all business software platforms. This software converts raw data into meaningful information, which in turn offers valuable business insight. The future of ERP systems undoubtedly lies in the ability to continually harness and improve this technology. Companies are frequently unaware of the valuable business information they could obtain if only their existing legacy system could produce and analyse data in a useful way. Some solutions even offer opportunities to unlock a lot of valuable data captured within the existing system, avoiding the need to replace the system itself.
So what does all this technological development mean for an average business? The ability to dissect, present and analyse data in increasingly useful ways will ultimately save time and money and increase user productivity. If you wish to find out more about Sapphire’s cloud offering or SAP HANA please have a look at our website - http://www.sapphiresystems.com/