Last year we predicted 2016 would witness the increased adoption of mobile and cloud technologies and the rise of integrated software solutions. Today we return to review our 2016 predictions and highlight possible business technology trends for 2017 …

According to research, 29 per cent of all SMEs view technology as a tool to drive growth and boost profits. Keeping up with the fast pace of technological change can be difficult so to help you stay on track we have compiled a list of the most significant business technology trends for 2017 that are worth an investment to stay competitive throughoutthe year.

Looking back to 2016 predictions

The rise of mobile

According to Sage, 89 per cent of employees use a mobile for work and 67 per cent of companies say they would lose competitive ground without these devices. Consequently, mobility has become mainstream in 2016 with the major software vendors continuing to improve their mobile applications to help businesses drive productivity for their remote employees. Many, such as Microsoft has gone an extra mile allowing users to access, update and analyse CRM data on the go even without internet connection.

Cloud leads the way

In 2016, IT spending on cloud  has increased by 15 per cent due to the productivity gains it offers. What’s more, according to research, those who invest in cloud experienced up to 26 per cent increase in overall business growth. Becoming the most popular cloud service in 2016, Microsoft Office 365 is an excellent example of this trend. Offered as a monthly subscription based service, it is an affordable solution for organisations of all sizes, allowing real-time access to business data at all times. Find out more about Office 365 here.

Integrated software solutions in bloom

In 2016 organisations increasingly looked for integrated solutions providing a single point of control and visibility throughout the business. The best example to illustrate this trend was the launch of Dynamics 365 which combines all business functions within a single application, including Finance, Sales, Customer Service, Field Service and more. This will bring considerable savings on integration, streamlining business processes to ensure interoperability across all the departments. Find out more about Dynamics 365 here.

Business technology trends for 2017

The fight against cyber attacks

With the cost of cybercrime expected to soar to $2 trillion by 2019, cybersecurity will undoubtedly be the dominant theme of 2017 as more and more businesses are affected by data thefts, fraud and ransomware, something we discussed here. Consequently, data protection is to remain a key focus for IT security investment in 2017 with the emphasis on cloud and mobile. This is combined the fact that cloud-based software is the top deployment model companies plan to use, in both the UK (57.3 per cent) and across Europe (46.9 per cent).

Cloud market is entering a second wave of adoption

According to John Rymer, principal analysts at Forrester, “the second wave of cloud adoption is being powered by an expansion of analytics, such as real-time insights and the Internet of Things, and the main driving force behind this is customers”.  As a result, providing immediate access to insight, cloud will be frequently used to win, serve and retain customers. In addition to rapid speed and delivery, businesses will also use cloud to maintain control of data security and reduce the cost of software projects and IT operations.

The age of big data

Data continues to drive business by showing how customers think, what they want and how they view the brand. Consequently, in the coming year this will be a cornerstone of how businesses operate. Business intelligence (BI) tools will be used more frequently to track, store, process and analyse data to enable smarter decision-making, identify new growth opportunities and improve overall business performance. Platforms like Microsoft Power BI will play a vital role providing you with a single view of business critical data, something we discussed here.

With a myriad of business technology trends for 2017, as a first step before embracing new technology, it is important to understand your audience to consequently evolve your products or services in line with their needs. Read our blog on how to achieve profitable customer relationships here.

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