4 trends in business software: a look ahead to 2017

What will 2017 bring in terms of business software? We’ve already picked up on four fascinating developments: the cloud, the Internet of Things, big data combined with augmented intelligence, and virtual reality.

1. Everything in the cloud

More and more businesses are moving all of their software to the cloud. This comes as no surprise, given the number of benefits it offers. With Microsoft Dynamics 365, you have access to Office applications wherever you are, and your CRM and ERP environment can be fully hosted in the cloud. Integrating these apps makes collaboration much simpler and more secure. And what’s more, Microsoft provides updates automatically. Your IT partner just needs to install the updates or modify them to their own requirements. This often amounts to small adjustments that can be installed quickly, keeping your software up to date and running smoothly. This is reason enough for companies to bank on cloud computing in 2017.

2. Internet of Things delivering a wealth of information to businesses

More and more applications are being connected to the internet – not just fridges and coffee machines but even your water pipes. And all the data saved by this equipment can be highly insightful to businesses. Just think of all the companies that design and produce devices like these. They typically supply their products exclusively to retailers, which then sell them on to the end consumer. But because there is no direct contact between manufacturer and consumer, it’s often the case that manufacturers have no idea what consumers actually think about their products. By fitting sensors onto their goods, manufacturers can create a direct connection to their consumers. The data collected by sensors is sent straight to the manufacturer, which immediately tells them how consumers are using their products. This way manufacturers can improve their products and even predict when their devices need to be serviced or if they are faulty. A real wealth of information.

3. Big data and augmented intelligence

The amount of data being stored is growing exponentially. Nowadays, it would take you five years to watch all the videos being shared in a single second. We are being inundated with data. And as such it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to get their heads around it. But for businesses, it’s vital to be able to gather as much data as possible. The more data companies can collect, the better their insights will be… and that’s one way to get ahead of the competition. But how can businesses manage to process all of this data?

“Augmented intelligence is all about expanding human capabilities so algorithms can analyse and, above all, interpret the data.”

That’s where augmented intelligence comes in. Augmented intelligence is all about expanding human capabilities so algorithms can analyse and, above all, interpret the data. In the blink of an eye, you can get practical advice to help you make crucial decisions. The Microsoft Cortana Intelligence platform is indispensable for this. With Cortana Intelligence, you can gather much more data and many more insights than the human brain could ever do. Cortana even allows you to use algorithms to predict future trends. Moreover, the software issues proactive alerts and recommendations for actions that need to be taken. So not only do you save a lot of time, it’s also easier to make those all-important decisions.

4. Virtual reality

The first virtual reality demos were hugely disappointing, but a lot has changed since then. You don’t need to take a 20-hour flight to take a stroll through Melbourne. Just put your VR headset on and, thanks to the 360° experience, you can feel like you’re really there! Businesses are gradually catching on to the idea of virtual reality. Volvo, for example, is using VR to allow potential customers to take a virtual test drive of its new SUV. The perfect way for marketers to bring a new product to the market. VR is also gaining popularity in manufacturing. Parts are increasingly being designed in 3D, which has its benefits. This is also true for the automotive industry. When technicians at BMW put their VR headsets on, the engine is automatically detected. That way, they can instantly see what needs to be repaired, thereby reducing the margin for error and the cost of training.