The big crystal ball of 2016 predictions I

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Technology predictions for the coming year have poured in, and the topics that keep coming up center around the themes of the Internet of Things, the cloud, analytics, mobility and security. Here's a look at what vendors are saying will be the most transformative technologies of 2016 for enterprises.

According to Unit4, disruptive new business models will re-imagine and transform the workplace. While some companies will apply these new paradigms, gain competitive advantage and thrive, others may not. It is therefore important for organisations to understand and incorporate them in their long-range business plans so they can succeed during the impending upheaval. 

At Unit4, Jack Van Der Velde, Managing Director, Asia Pacific has identified five trends at the heart of the revolution that we will see in 2016 and beyond:

Trend 1 – The Internet of Things Spreads to Every Thing, Everywhere

The keyboard is no longer king.  It is only one element of the impending data avalanche from a growing network of information contributors.  Mobile devices, wearables, sensors, automotive devices, environmental devices - all have matured.  The proliferation of input gleaned from them is increasing rapidly.

Gartner calls this the “digital mesh.” Everything in the digital mesh produces, uses and transmits information. This information goes beyond textual, audio and video information to include sensory and contextual information. 

Effective enterprise software collects this cacophony of data, makes sense of it, and incorporates it into your business processes. And for that you’ll need the new analytics. 

Trend 2 – The New Analytics

Data continues to be key. New techniques and strategies are emerging to analyse this tidal wave of information. Smart software will autonomously analyse the terabytes of input and then suggest solutions and outcomes to their human “masters.” 

Yesterday’s software was designed for computations and functionality.  Today’s generation is designed for analytics.  It will provide a level of intelligence never seen before.  Self-learning programs that uncover insights beyond human comprehension will gain a solid foothold in our operations.

Trend 3 – Rapid Advances in User Experience

In 2016, user experience will go beyond a pretty interface. The technology landscape will be dominated by an intense focus on user experience. Smarter systems will facilitate seamless interactions that anticipate the needs and behaviors of users.  Expect intelligent software to reduce the need for user interaction at all.  

As consumers we’ve come to expect an elegant and intuitive experience.  As business users we will expect the same.  In addition, the impact of BYOD, Bring Your Own Device, will continue and accelerate this usability trend, as employees choose a familiar device, tailored to their personal needs. 

Trend 4 – The Forecast is Sunnier for the Cloud

Small and midsized businesses have led the migration to the cloud.  They started with applications that were not core to their business mission, and in a short time, more and more mission-critical apps have been moved to the cloud.  In 2016, expect the large multi-nationals to join the party. Larger companies are hungry for the greater agility and reduced IT complexity that cloud solutions offer. The movement of core applications to the cloud – among businesses of all sizes - is inevitable.

Trend 5 – The Empowered Workforce

Sophisticated software will enable high-wage, high-skilled workers to reduce mundane tasks.  According to a McKinsey & Company Report in November 2015, as many as 45 percent of the activities individuals are paid to perform can be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technologies.  

Increasingly sophisticated software will perform increasingly sophisticated tasks - from analysing reports and data to making operating decisions, from preparing staff assignments to reviewing status reports.   The result will be engaged and empowered employees that deliver greater value.