Businesses always face changing conditions – new technology, new competitive forces, and new consumer trends. Evolving regulatory landscapes are the rule, not the exception. Over the horizon, we see dramatic change in four areas: People, the Economy, Technology and Geopolitics. More than ever, software that enables a business to be dynamic and capture opportunity in rapidly shifting conditions is essential for true success.
There is always a new generation entering the workforce – but now, for the first time, that new generation is one that has grown up always connected and always on-line. They approach technology with new attitudes and new expectations. This both demands evolution from business software and enables new scenarios.
Today, many banks highlight giving customers the ability to deposit checks by simply photographing them with a smartphone app. This is not just about new technology; it’s also about a generation of users that is comfortable with the scenario. Delivering this capability twenty years ago to a generation of users that carefully clutched their savings account passbooks would have been as impossible as the technology itself seemed at the time.
Moreover, the new generation entering the workforce blurs personal life and business life, driving individual preferences for workstyles and devices. They demand access to anyone or anything from anywhere at any time on any device. At work they expect the same intuitive experience they have in the rest of their lives with their slates, smartphones and social networks. This goes beyond the consumerization of IT; it is the consumerization of enterprise.
We continue to observe signs of recovery from the adverse economic conditions of what many labeled the Great Reset. Situations vary in different geographies and still - recovery is not universal. Some impacts appear far more permanent – defining a new economic reality or a “new normal”.
One dimension permanently changed by this new economic reality is the way in which businesses look at software projects. Time to value is now an essential component of any investment – shortening the time between initial expense and positive economic benefits returned to the business is critical.
Paying for capability and capacity as used instead of up-front investment for anticipated usage is expected. The change concerns not only how software is acquired, implemented and deployed, but also how projects are scoped.
To meet the criteria of the new reality, business software must be able to address operational areas or workloads sequentially, driven by the ability to capitalize on an opportunity for the business- rather than the old model of replacing entire systems generationally. This new economic reality will continue to shape the way business solutions cater to the needs of the world’s leading enterprises moving forward.
The cloud is emerging as the most significant technology shift in a generation. Beyond running today’s applications in a new way, the cloud is enabling a set of business solutions that were previously impractical. Connected supply chains, powered by cloud hubs, are changing the way many businesses operate. The role of cloud will be different for every business, but it is likely to drive significant change across nearly every industry. “Big data” technology, often cloud-deployed, will enable businesses to analyze previously inconceivable quantities of data, revealing insights that can empower better informed decisions.
Constraint Optimization and Machine Learning will turn those insights into actionable recommendations. People connect to the cloud through a world of diverse new devices, from smartphones to slates, along with their desktop and laptop computers. New scenarios will leverage large wall size displays to transform the meeting room, the class room, the shop floor and the retail store.
Empowering users starts with their preferred devices and is enhanced by the services that they access. Workplace experiences on those devices will be shaped by the simplicity and accessibility users learn to expect in their personal life. More than just people, an internet of smart devices will capture information, push it to the cloud – in many cases driving the “big data” analytics – and respond to signals from cloud-based analysis services.
As business becomes increasingly global, changing geopolitical conditions such as policy, regulation and energy costs must be rapidly understood and factored into operational strategies. Disruptions in one part of the world can ripple quickly through connected supply chains.
Successful businesses must react with increasing speed to these changing conditions, and must balance growing numbers of factors to achieve their true potential. Speed and complexity drive new software requirements including the ability to facilitate connected collaboration and identify optimal strategies.