This year, 2016, has seen the increased maturity of many applications across the market and the development of integrated platforms from the major vendors such as Oracle, SalesForce, SAP, IBM, etc. really pushing the niche, best of breed vendors in their core fields of play such as agility, flexibility and cost. Over the years I've seen many of these best-of-breed vendors steel a march on the "dinosaurs" only for tech evolution to allow the major players to catch up again with limited extinction.
In 2017, I believe, we will see another round of evolution building on increased momentum around platform maturity and a reversion to looking at business solutions rather than technology advances. This will result in a number of key trends:
1.Getting fit for high speed business
The message that big transformation requires a single, or small number, of very large steps is long gone. The more agile, or iterative, approach is far more today’s approach and used across the board when it comes to implementing the likes of Oracle or SAP. But many think that in order to achieve the high speed business processes offered by in-memory applications such as S/4HANA a single giant leap of faith is required.
This is not the case and in 2017 more organisations will start to see that incremental, value based change will, not only, deliver incremental benefit but put the organisation and supporting business systems in a far better position to move to the latest versions at the right time and with minimal risk. Whilst the transition to the era of cloud and in-memory is a great technological leap, getting there should be done in manageable, incremental steps.
If you don’t have a clear roadmap to move progressively towards the latest technologies then early 2017 is the time to start and develop your fitness plan.
2.I3(4) – Intelligence, Interaction, Integration (plus incremental)
Once any application becomes functionally rich there is a law of diminishing returns by adding in more functionality because there is a risk of adding in complexity. The challenge then is to increase the usability of the application by focussing on the user interaction and how best to achieve engagement with the business processes through the application. Effective engagement can take data and reporting to an enhanced level adding true value to the business
In 2017, user solutions will start to demonstrate some elements of intelligence as the development and delivery of standard, or bespoke, robots or agents raises up the agenda. The technology is already available to use but it is the insight and imagination that is requirement to strive for a higher level of interaction whether it a Conversational UI or through Natural Language Generation integration with a Rules engine.
So, I believe, that you can, and should, start looking at how to achieve improved user integration and interaction using the latest technologies to deliver intelligent or cognitive business applications, if you need a help understanding how maybe the AIE can help. But, don’t forget, it should be done incrementally!
3.Storms on the horizon in Cloud Services land
This is becoming a very crowded market with a lot of providers and a lot of overlap in service provision. I’m engaged with most of these great providers and as more of a user, not a techie, of these services it’s clear that differentiation is becoming less. This is likely to lead to reduced prices, market consolidation, lots of disruption – new services, business models and further overlap and some great deals for users of these services. Lots of lightening, lots of excitement and lots of opportunities for users!!
If you are not already using Cloud services for your applications, why not? If you’re not exploiting them fully, why not? TCO optimisation and landscape agility will be a key focus for 2017 and needs to be a core part of any business applications strategy. Don’t stand on the sidelines and watch this disruption, there is a lot of benefits to be had.
2017 is going to be an exciting year in the Business Applications market across many fronts!!