2017 is here and we are going to make it great together.
At the beginning of each year I find it useful to try to understand what is to come in the business software space. In our industry, perhaps more than others, it has become customary to market concepts and trends without reality necessarily following suit. I am going to make an attempt to sober up five of the trends we will be experiencing in 2017.
Of course I had to put the cloud first. Wikipedia states that the origin of the word cloud computing is unclear. Many joke that cloud = someone else’s computer. There is however no denying that the word cloud has magnified as a trend tremendously over the past decade. Even though the cloud was a concept a decade ago, it is a crisp reality today. Every business should have a cloud agenda.
Microsoft Business Cloud Products are Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Azure.
#2 Artificial Intelligence
AI is the cool buzzword of 2017. Cortana, Einstein, Alexa, Siri, etc. etc. have all been labelled artificial intelligences that are going to make everything easier, better and more fantastical. Strides are definitely being made in this field. I would argue that for the midsize business most of it is just rebranding of tools we already had. It will however inspire conspiracy theories.
Cortana is Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and is part of both cloud and device operating systems.
Companies are finally getting very serious about automation. The Amazon Go store which has no checkout and Google’s self-driving cars are prime examples of how far we can go. I believe the time is ripe for the midsize business to embrace the flexibility of today’s technology. This trend is a reminder that we need to constantly think critically about our business processes and always maximize automation.
The complete Microsoft stack now provides a high level of flexibility to automate across products.
#4 Business Intelligence
Microsoft has blown the market wide open with the advent of Power BI, delivering state of the art business intelligence to the masses. 2017 will be about how everyone can wield this powerful tool and become a visualization expert. I believe this is going to keep on being a hot trend as the product matures even further.
Power BI is part of the Office 365 offering.
#5 Social Media
The social media strategy is still maturing when it comes to business software. Businesses understand that it is necessary, but have often struggled with connecting it with a business process. I predict in 2017 we will see a drastic move by Microsoft in this space following the acquisition of LinkedIn. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, has clearly demonstrated the ability to fire up the supermassive Microsoft engine. The stars are aligned.
LinkedIn is now a Microsoft company.