January 5, 2015

Does Your Company Know Where Business Technology is Headed in 2015?

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2014 saw the rise of 3D printing and industrialized crowdsourcing, as well as the first use of biometric data in the courtroom. Additionally, the sting of buzzwords such as Millennials, gamification, and ‘the cloud’ dulled as each term joined the everyday technology lexicon.

However, the trends fueling these milestones show no signs of slowing down, and 2015 is shaping up to be an even more innovative year. Businesses are set to increase technology spending 3.8 percent worldwide to more than $3.8 trillion. As analysts roll out their predictions for the new year, the common thread that ties the biggest tech trends together can be summed up in two words: big data.  

Top 5 Trends Driving Business Technology in 2015

Though big data isn’t new, it’s becoming more important than ever. The world’s data is predicted to grow by 50x in the next decade. Organizations will need to manage, filter, and act on the huge amounts of data generated by their customers and employees in order to transform processes and contribute to the bottom line. Let’s take a look at how the top trends for 2015 intertwine, as well as what they mean for your business.

1. Mobile Technology  

It’s estimated that by 2020, 80 percent of adults on earth will have a smartphone. In the US, 63 percent of female and 73 percent of male adult smartphone owners say they don’t go an hour without checking their phone. Sales teams and marketers now have the ability to engage customers from anywhere at any time. Mobile devices will only increase in importance to the buying process in the coming years. 

What this means for your business:

  • Most software companies will develop not just mobile sites, but native apps as well.
  • The rise in mobility and data makes security a top IT priority –  71 percent consider security a significant tech priority, while 41 percent put it among the top two priorities.
  • The profile of your average customer is changing. Now that they’re more connected than ever, consumers prefer immediacy and share their opinions on social media:


2. Social Media

Social media is pivotal to business success. Buyers increasingly rely on social media to connect with those that can inform them and with those whom they can share ideas. As you can see in the infographic above, modern consumers are likely to publicly air their thoughts about a company or their product. So while brands flock to social media to market their content, buyers and potential customers don’t only want great content. They expect companies to be present on social media and respond to their questions and problems one-on-one.

What this means for your business:

  • As social media and content marketing become intertwined, marketing automation tools that help businesses develop relationships with prospects and convert them into customers will continue to grow.
  • Be sure to choose a customer relationship management system that facilitates better customer engagement with social CRM features.
  • More than 90 percent of social media data is unstructured, making it difficult to mine for valuable analytics. Natural language processing tools that analyze text and report how customers feel can help businesses monitor social media engagement efforts. Expect this technology to be integrated into more platforms.
Big, unstructured data

Big, unstructured data

3. The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) – everyday physical objects with network connectivity allowing them to transmit data – is forecast to reach 4.9 billion devices in 2015, up 30 percent from 2014. Now that automobiles, home appliances, and even toothbrushes are web-enabled, the Internet of Things has become the almighty Internet of Everything.

What this means for your business:

  • Just as the rise of mobile devices brought a wave of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies for employees, businesses will need to address the potential security risks associated with the IoT.
  • As more and more industries adopt smart gadgets, the market for cloud computing will also increase. Businesses can use analytics to take advantage of the IoT’s continuous stream of data.

4. Wearable Devices

Though wearables are part of the IoT craze, the release of the Apple Watch in 2015 along with the growing popularity of fitness trackers make this technology a standalone disrupter.

In fact, research indicates that businesses are more interested in wearables than consumers are. Only about 10 percent of US adults say they’ve used a wearable device; however, 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearable devices as a priority.

wearable devices and wellness programs

In 2015, one in five workers will be involved in a company-sponsored wellness program

What this means for your business:

  • Due to the rise in wearable technology, it’s estimated one in five workers will be involved in company-sponsored wellness programs or wellness specific gamification initiative by the end of 2015.

5. Predictive Analytics

That’s a lot of data expected for 2015. But unless companies can actually use it to make business decisions, then it doesn’t matter how big it is. With all this information at our fingertips, data analysis has the power to solve major business issues.

By analyzing past consumer and employee behavior, businesses can better identify and understand behavior patterns and use them to their advantage. That’s why big data and analytics spending worldwide is predicted to reach $125 billion this year.

BI dashboards in 2015 promise usability for all

BI dashboards in 2015 promise greater usability

What this means for your business:

  • With the ability to capture, segment, and market to specific customers, consumers are starting to expect personalized customer experiences. Buyers want customer loyalty programs and they want more than just points. Consumers prefer custom rewards based on their individual preferences, so expect more innovative programs, such as Whole Food’s new market rewards, to emerge.
  • On the employee-facing side, predictive analytics will be used to reduce employee turnover by identifying which workers are likely to leave and why.
  • Additionally, analytics is coming to the masses. Now that business intelligence (BI) vendors are shifting to SaaS models, these solutions are going to focus on simplicity, rather than smarter tools. If the software isn’t easy to use, then people won’t continue to subscribe to it month after month. 

As you can see, business technology is headed for great things in 2015. The companies that take note of and adapt to these fast and innovative changes will pull ahead first. Don’t let your business get left in the dust.