As we settle into 2017, now is the ideal time to look back at the technological advancements that emerged last year, and particularly the innovations that are expected to come to the fore and grow rapidly in the future.
Many breakthroughs of 2016 have become mainstream, and some have been edging their way onto the tech scene for some. Although considered emerging technologies, the wider business community has been slower to adopt cloud services, IoT, and machine learning, suggesting that they are yet to realise their full potential.
Over the next year, the barriers to some of these innovations will be removed as technology becomes more sophisticated and adapted to user needs. At Niu Solutions, we predict that many of these developments, including cloud technology, will be made more accessible and user-friendly by software companies and therefore, widely implemented by businesses.
Maximising the tools available
2017 will be the year of consolidation. Advanced technologies will be brought to the fore, IT solutions will be improved so that they easily accessible and efficient to use by wider audiences and processes will be integrated fully into the day-to-day running of any organisation or business. While some advancements were accepted with caution in 2016, next year, companies are going to capitalise on available solutions and will begin to blend them further into the core of their IT systems.
Easy vs simple
IT will begin to shadow businesses as niche technology becomes tailored to meet the unique requirements of a business (normally supported by a service provider), but as the systems work hard in the background and are not as visible, this does not mean the infrastructure is becoming any less complex. Indeed, it is the increasing complexity of these processes that enable an organisation to stay competitive without infringing on an organisation’s day to day operations.
As programmes and interfaces become more intuitive to an organisation’s needs, the effort required to use and manage them is simplified. Long gone are the days when various departments of a business needed to call their IT departments to solve any problems, or postpone day-to-day operations to make updates. Departments not known for their technical know-how, such as HR, are now equipped with the digital skills that they can run their own applications and software with minimal support required from IT.
Shadow and support
Industry disruptors such as Uber and Amazon have caused businesses to widely adopt new technologies and bolster their IT to support them as they attempt to compete with the disrupters. Through digital transformation, businesses have been able to diversify, transform and differentiate from their competitors.
In 2017, IT will become sophisticated and so integral to businesses’ success it no longer acts as an organisation’s ‘USP’. Instead, IT systems will act as a support mechanism that bolsters business ideas, allows organisations to run effectively and grow independently without having to worry about the day-to-day management of systems and processes. IT will be accessible to business users rather than the business being at the behest of IT systems.
Migration to cloud
Cloud platforms represent a key technological development that have revolutionised the way in which businesses and customers share data. If implemented correctly, cloud-based solutions can transform a firm’s operations, allowing for increased agility and the flexibility to adopt new technologies quicker and cost-efficiently.
Last year, many businesses began to move from using unwieldy legacy systems to the latest cloud technology as companies begin to harness the power of the cloud and value the easy transition it can provide. We can expect this trend to continue throughout 2017 as major cloud providers support businesses make the transition even easier with new software applications, particularly for hybrid models.
As regulation intensifies, considerations around compliance will be at the forefront of most business strategies in 2017. Unless businesses are willing to evolve and overhaul its systems and processes to suit the changing regulator’s criteria, they will simply be spending money on ‘keeping up’, rather than gaining any new benefits.
It is very difficult for an ‘off-the-shelf IT solution’ to meet every one of the FCA’s specific requirements, as one size simply does not fit all. As regulation becomes increasingly more important, it is key that firms adopt a tailored, hybrid solution that has been created specifically with their business goals and FCA guidelines in mind. In fact, if the cloud is adopted effectively, firms should be able to meet their specific business goals whilst staying compliant with the FCA. RegTech will be a huge focus for those looking for a service which uses tool to manage and track compliance.
Moving and mobile
Flexibility, convenience and scalability can be provided by the cloud because of its unique qualities that allow entire databases and systems to be accessible from different points of entry. As workforces become increasingly mobile in order to keep up with consumer and business demands, 2017 will see huge synergy between work-based tools and processes. This will be in the form of interactive and scalable portals, which can be accessible from any device, anywhere.
It is clear that digital technology platforms and cloud are the building blocks which allow a business the freedom to succeed. Huge leaps have been made to let business achieve their business goals and as existing technology becomes more intelligent, companies will feel more confident to harness powerful IT solutions.
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