As another year passed, the technology marketplace has been tumultuous in terms of adoption, trends, mergers and acquisitions. Large software players have broadened their portfolios and have started to target customers upstream and downstream from their typical customers. For the new year we have compiled a list of top technology trends – mostly for enterprise software. These trends include ERP, Social business, CRM, BI/EPM/Analytics, Collaboration, Project Failure/Success, Mobile and Security and others are the main areas of focus.
Looking back at the 2013 list of technology trends, most of them have come to pass and are still evolving as adoption continues to grow. Projects continue to fail, spending increases, infrastructures and applications are being remade using the cloud and other IT issues continue to appear and also be resolved.
Here is a list of what we think the top software trends will emerge in 2014.
1. Rise of BI/EPM/Analytic Vendors: This trend has become apparent as many new small start-ups have introduced some type of analytics or BI tool. We have seen very vertical specific solutions to broad all-encompassing software that can be customized by industry. A reason for this trend is that enterprise applications have become easier to integrate and require less technical knowledge to aggregate data out of a system. Organizations are requiring more real-time information, by implementing these systems unlocks the decision-making potential that is stored in the data.
2. Increased Consultant Use: This trend is a 180 from organizations wanting to bring back in-house technical expertise. CIO’s have committed to spending more money on contractors for the upcoming year and software selection is a key component of this spend. Other areas where organizations will spend money in IT and Business alignment are resourcing to support existing projects, project management recovery services have started to push forward as an important area to save failing IT projects to get them back on track. Organizations often do not have the resources or skill sets to properly evaluate enterprise software thereby, more attention will be attributed to lowering project failure. An impartial properly executed software selection greatly lowers the risk of IT failure.
3. ERP’s and Enterprise Software Projects Continue to Fail: Lack of expertise and accountability from both the organization and the vendor lead to failed implementations. There is no clear direction from organizations as to what should be implemented, by whom, what timeframe is acceptable, training, POC, management of scope creep, budgetary overruns, and how problems are resolved should they arise with definitive timelines and accountability. Clear business process definitions are often not revealed by the customer leaving vendors to guess how an organization does business. Organizations should be fully transparent with the vendors they select as they business partners with full two-way communications whereby the vendor can provide a smooth transition after implementation and the organization should also become a reference site for the vendor.
4. Changing IT/Business Selection Criteria: As delivery models continue to change organizations are evaluating different priorities and criteria. Previously organizations have relied too much on features and functions when selecting enterprise software. Many new selection criteria have started to emerge such as: nuances of data, cloud model, portability, scalability, TCO, SLA levels, Vendor lock-in, ROI and agility are areas that more closely scrutinized.
5. Enterprise Software Categories Continue to Merge: The creation of new enterprise software categories continues to emerge. Specialized software vendors have started to include additional functionality that expands the breadth of their solution but often times not the depth that is required. Customers are confused as to how to match the right type of software with what functions and depth they actually require. Vendors have started to include social, collaboration, CRM, project management, billing and BI within their software. This delineation muddies the water for the consumer as they may not know how to categorize their business to match enterprise software categories thereby contacting the wrong vendors to start out their software evaluation.
6. Paying More Attention to BYOD and Security: As use of mobile devices continues to proliferate mobile security and social user policies must be put into place and enforced. Additional security will lower organizational risk by securing multiple mobile devices. Employees should also have direction from the company as to what is acceptable and not for social media interaction, who owns the information, where it stored and clear lines of communication where social accounts differentiate if communications are from the company or an individual user.
7. Increased Spending for Social, CRM and Email Automation: Organizations have committed more IT budget to these softwares. Coincidentally, this is one of the enterprise software categories that are blending functionalities. An organization should comprehend its main business function as to what the organization requires and the auxiliary functionalities. A mistake often made here is that the auxiliary functionalities become the focus which strays the original intent of the software evaluation.
8. Shadow IT Emerges: This is caused by the CMO spending that does not often include the CIO. Usually, the new marketing, social software and BI software is implemented and rarely incorporates into existing IT infrastructure. The new software is independently supported, updated and managed proving difficult for internal IT management and integration to existing systems. Support also becomes a point of contention as the Shadow IT organizations are created as support is often non-coherent and difficult to manage.
9. Vendor Consolidation Continues: More vendors are increasing their portfolios by acquiring either complementary software to bolster existing functionality or even acquiring software that is completely different from current offerings. Organizations should carefully distinguish their needs and if the vendor can support their requirements, if the vendor has enough industry experience or is new to the space altogether are areas for companies to watch out for.
10. New Government and Regulatory Standards: These new requirements will require system upgrades and in some cases new system implementations. ObamaCare, New HIPPA and medical industry requirements will drive software spend in this sector. Also there have been many changes in food processing and manufacturing industries that will cause companies to re-evaluate existing systems or completely installing something new.
11. Salesforce.com Turning into ERP: Salesforce continues to grow its cloud presence by acquiring more SaaS solutions. Its recent acquisitions and cloud portfolio suggests that one of the few plays to increase company value is to increase its offerings. SFDC will acquire solutions that complement their SCRM business with more HR/HCM, Financial and possibly project management which will effectively turn into an ERP for Services. The Oracle partnership suggests that SFDC is targeting Workday customers with Oracle functionality – all to be offered in the cloud. This one should prove interesting to see where this ends up.
12. Further IT Specialization Being Required: New softwares are emerging and requiring specialized expertise. A new software category that enables integration and workflow capabilities are greatly reducing complex IT tasks. However, these new applications often require highly specialized expertise such as programming, business process mapping, API creation, administration, integration and design capabilities that may not have been part of the IT department.
13. Organizations Going Hybrid Cloud: Organizations are adopting a combination of public and private cloud creating hybrid clouds. Organizations are not comfortable putting some types of information in the cloud. They create an internal cloud and have less important information in the public cloud. The cloud provides a seamless integration for employees.
It will fun to see what unfolds this year as with each year. Did we forget any? What trends do you see?