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Three predictions for enterprise innovation in 2016

Prediction 1: Digital Transformation

We’ll see more organisations embracing digital transformation, bringing together their marketing and IT departments. They will look inwards at their marketing workflows and infrastructure to optimise, align and bring about business efficiencies.

In today’s pervasive digital world, organisations are faced with the challenge of delivering compelling brand experiences that drive loyalty. Where customer communications were once the preserve of the marketing department, technology now plays a fundamental role.

2016 will see many businesses grappling with how to bring together both marketing and technology in a way that delivers ongoing opportunities to drive sales, build customer loyalty and optimise internal ways of working.

We’re already seeing more partnerships between marketing and IT teams. Those that get this right will thrive in the new transformative landscape as they reinvent and innovate ways in which to deliver their business offering. Those that flounder may well see their businesses reinvented by a more modern start-up seeking to disrupt traditional sectors.

Prediction 2: Intranets 2.0

Companies will invest more in finding smart channels to engage staff. Intranets will no longer be considered document-dumping grounds but rather move more aggressively towards social knowledge-sharing environments.

Intranets as we know them are something permeable in most companies, although regarded as a relic and little more than a place for document dumping, often due to clunky and hard-to-use interfaces. With cloud-based solutions being the de facto platforms for file storage and sharing, it removes one of their few reasons for being.

However, one growing opportunity for an intranet evolution is collaboration and sharing. The trend of using email less, and tools such as team messaging app Slack, is revealing a need for new ways of communicating within teams. Since social networks are a part of most of our lives already, we can see these being incorporated into this ‘Intranets 2.0’ by turning into a message board, newsfeed-style way of interacting.

This will allow for information to be easier to find and access, as well as being a good way to promote company culture, especially as more digital natives enter the workforce. We may well see more creative ways to use intranet platforms – subscribe to your boss’s blog, have a shared events calendar, or have a buy and sell forum.

Out-of-the box intranet solutions such as Igloo have been developed in response to a growing interest in providing great user experiences. In addition, enterprise are becoming more aware of the role of interaction design in building websites, which will soon be similarly applied to their internal platforms.

The way forward is to make sure that the new intranets can be set up easily, and allow companies to tailor features according to their needs. These will include personalisation, multiple device support and integration with existing web apps.

Prediction 3: Virtual Reality in the workplace

As Virtual Reality gains momentum, lead by companies like Oculus with its Rift and Gear VR headset, the first adopters will be the video game and movie industries. This will change and by the time 2017 rolls around, many companies will be scrambling to find the talent to help them achieve productivity gains through this technology.

Now that VR technology has caught up, it’s no surprise that many first adopters are games studios. There are a number of titles to be released this year, including Land’s End from Ustwo Games and The Climb from Crytek, which were created with a VR-first approach. Immersive movie experiences will soon be possible thanks to Oculus Cinema, which will allow people to watch films together, so a VR Netflix could be on its way.

Outside the entertainment industry, VR will be a great way to showcase 3D products or real-life places. It could also help with team communication, especially with the growing trend of working remotely: think conference calls or brainstorming sessions in a virtual room with your co-workers’ avatars.

There’s a question about whether a VR headset will be able to fully replace a keyboard and mouse interface in terms of cost and productivity, but from a UX perspective it will be exciting to see what new and interesting interactions VR will bring.

Laura Rebolo, UX Designer at global design and technology agency Athlon

Photo Credit: vinzstudio/Shutterstock