As we start looking toward 2015, enterprise applications are poised to play a growing role in the everyday operations of companies of all sizes and in all sectors. Here are five enterprise application trends predicted to take precedence next year and beyond.
The trend toward mobile computing is growing in every industry as consumers largely ditch personal computers in favor of laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The enterprise market has been a bit slower to catch on, but it finally has, and the use of mobile applications has expanded from limited and isolated functions to full-service organization-wide solutions. According to a recent survey from Good Technology, the adoption of both third-party and custom business applications continued to increase in the third quarter of 2014, with the custom app market up 107% from the previous quarter and up 731% compared to the same period last year.
Faster deployments, especially for growing companies
While large businesses may be moving toward custom enterprise applications, smaller firms are focusing on faster deployments that will provide immediate benefits and enable future growth. Thus, they will rely heavily on pre-packaged solutions from third-party vendors. According to Oracle senior manager Jim Lein, “With a wealth of experience successfully deploying applications, partners and vendors have developed time-tested best practices by industry, geography, and business need that are packaged up to account for on average 75 percent of an implementation. Midsize companies are trading in custom for speed, and as such, are live and generating value in less time than they may have spent on the RFP process.
Cloud computing, or everything-as-a-service
Cloud computing has largely become the norm for consumer applications, and businesses are now following suit. The continued rise of cloud applications was identified by Gartner as one of its top 10 strategic technology trends for 2015. Gartner VP David Clearey said in a recent presentation: “Cloud is the new style of elastically scalable, self-service computing, and both internal applications and external applications will be built on this new style.” The new style, in which software, IT and business processes, and even hardware are offered as cloud-based applications, is being called “everything-as-a-service (XaaS).” Three major advantages of the XaaS model are that it is flexible, it allows all services to be integrated, and it is evergreen (i.e., updates are automatic so the technology never becomes obsolete).
Enterprise applications will stop looking (and functioning) like clunky traditional business software and more like current consumer applications. This trend was identified last year by mrc’s Joe Stangarone, and it is a movement that is still gaining steam, due to the ever- widening capabilities of cloud-based software. Stangarone sums up the movement well as he writes: “I believe one of the biggest reasons [we will see a push towards simpler, more intuitive business applications] lies in a simple truth: users now have other options. With the rise of cloud-based software, users can easily bypass company-supplied applications altogether, opting instead for third-party cloud solutions.”
Finally, technology has enabled more tasks and processes to be automated, and companies will increasingly take advantage of this functionality. From performing data backups, to sending automated client communications, to creating customer service workflows, to identifying trending topics and posts on social media, enterprise application software provides automated solutions that can greatly reduce the personnel time required for common tasks. As the technologies improve, and businesses become more comfortable with relinquishing control to the software, this trend will grow.
Next year is set to be a good one for companies interested in adopting enterprise application software—the field is growing and more powerful, versatile tools are coming on the market all of the time. As we move into 2015, these five trends will lead the way for organizations across the spectrum.
photo credit: More office windows at night
Rosemary Brown is a business and market researcher with over 20 years of experience. She has been extensively involved in exploring the impact of technological innovations on business organizations, enterprise culture and organizational processes. Currently, Rosemary is conducting a series of experiments to study the impact of web-based help desk tools like ProProfs Knowledge Base Software on customer retention & acquisition. Rosemary has a Masters Degree in Marketing Management and Strategy.