Wearables in the enterprise
A number of technologies emerged over the last 12 months, and these have the potential to have a significant impact on businesses in 2015. Let’s look at wearables. 2014 saw several devices capture the public imagination with high-profile launches including the iWatch and Will.I.am’s Puls, adding to more familiar wearables such as FitBit and Jawbone. We’re expecting to see increased penetration of wearables in 2015 as this technology makes the leap from the consumer to the business world and becomes more industrialised in feature and function.
Organisations will begin to closely examine how this technology can be integrated into the company and how it can benefit employees. The stage is now set for wearables to become one of the hottest business trends of 2015, improving employee productivity and fundamentally changing the way organisations work.
The rise of the citizen coder
The growing trends for wearable devices and connected objects underline the huge need for developers to create apps that maximise the benefits of these technologies. In 2014, alongside the wearable devices themselves, we have seen new platforms designed specifically to create apps for these devices – and many more. A combination of this demand for more apps and the technical skills shortage the UK is currently experiencing is leading to the citizen coder phenomenon.
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Increasingly people from all walks of life are realising that app development isn’t just for professional programmers. Spurred on by easy-to-use development platforms, in 2015 employees in a range of job roles will be empowered to quickly create powerful enterprise apps. By making app development easy, developer platforms will continue to drive exciting opportunities for these ‘citizen programmers.’
Startup the innovation engines
As coding becomes ‘cooler’ and more accessible, and as organisations realise how technology is intertwined with the success of their business, we expect to see an increase in the number of early-stage technology startups. In November, Vince Cable announced £50m funding for start-ups with innovative science and technology ideas. This and similar schemes will make 2015 the year of the startup.
The startup ‘sector’ saw high levels of growth in 2014, becoming a major contributor both to the economy and to the jobs and skills market and this is set to continue unabated in 2015. The startup sector will be bolstered with additional high-profile growth enhancement programmes such as tech hubs across the country and the Salesforce Innovation Challenge. And, as more millennials choose these exciting start-ups over traditional blue-chip corporates as their employers of choice, we’ll see continued buzz and momentum around these customer-focused businesses.
Analytics takes centre stage
As we enter a world where everything is hyper-connected, this ‘everything’ is becoming the source of a vast amount of valuable data. Diving into business data has never been more critical to enable fast, accurate business decision-making and drive holistic business knowledge. We expect this to drive the emergence of new and more finely-tuned data analytics platforms, services and professionals as CIOs and IT Directors seek to make sense of the huge volume of data available to them.
Until now, this knowledge has frequently been siloed across multiple departments and the tools to unlock that data required specialised training. In 2015 we will see a fresh approach to business intelligence that embraces all users. Analytics platforms like Salesforce Wave will make it easier than ever for business users to explore data, uncover new insights and take action instantly, from any device. Companies will be able to quickly deploy sales, service and marketing analytics, and build custom apps that derive actionable insights from any data source – empowering everyone, at every level of an organisation, to make faster, smarter decisions anywhere and at any time.
The ‘always-on’ business
Underpinning all of these trends will be a requirement for companies to be able to run their businesses from any device, any time and anywhere. As consumers and employees become even more accustomed to instant communication and information, mobile will continue to play an intrinsic role in business. This is particularly true for startups and SMEs, but senior managers in even the largest organisations expect to be able to perform much of their role remotely, via mobile devices.
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Speed is the new currency of business and in 2015, companies have to be ready to sell, service, market and engage with customers anytime, anywhere and on any device. Companies that are not equipped to run their businesses successfully from their phone will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage in 2015.
Finally: over the next twelve months and beyond, companies of all sizes will increasingly rely on analytics and apps delivered via the cloud to their devices, which will enable faster and more accurate decision-making and an improved customer experience.
This means that CIOs and IT Directors will play an ever more important role across their organisations. All C-suite functions will look to the latest devices, platforms and data insights to improve competitive advantage by driving smarter business decisions and enabling organisations to achieve more, faster.
For both the IT professionals and the business leaders that embrace these trends successfully, 2015 looks like a very positive year for technology success.
Sourced from Andrew Lawson, UK & Ireland MD, Salesforce.com
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