Susan Hauser, corporate vice president, worldwide enterprise and partner group at Microsoft, has revealed her top five enterprise trends of 2014.
Hauser wrote in a recent blog post that conversations she had with customers last year highlighted key themes that are fundamental to both what customers’ emerging needs are and how the technology industry is evolving.
The Internet of Things – Hauser said that the Internet of Things is a popular topic among customers across many industries and explains that as more organisations deploy intelligent systems and devices, the challenge of big data will increase further.
“Many businesses are uncovering efficiencies based on how connected devices drive decisions with more precision in their organisations,” said Hauser. “A great example of this is leading German hospital Siloah St. Trudpert Klinikum, which built a system to integrate operating room devices, machines and data sources to improve patient care. However, equally important is ensuring businesses are analysing the right data sets, absorbing some data in real-time and leaving other data at the device or allowing machine-to-machine communication. This strategy – understanding what data needs to be absorbed versus ignored – is where the Internet of Things becomes real. It will be a big deal in 2014.”
Bring your own device – Hauser has predicted that as more organisations deploy business-ready mobile solutions, the trend of bring your own device will in fact decline.
“Forrester estimates that nearly 80% of workers spend at least some portion of their time working out of the office, and 29% of the global workforce can be characterised as ‘anywhere, anytime’ information workers. We used to call this trend ‘bring your own device’ or ‘BYOD’. But now we’re seeing the reverse,” Hauser explained. “In my conversations with customers, business-ready, secure devices are getting so good that organisations are centrally deploying mobility solutions that are equally effective at work and play.”
An example of this is Delta Airlines, which rolled out 19,000 Nokia Lumia 820 handsets to its flight attendants last year and equipped 11,000 pilots with Surface devices to replace electronic flight bags. Delta cockpits are projected to be paperless by the end of 2014.
Enterprise social – Hauser suggested in the blog that organisations that embrace enterprise social in 2014 will increase their ability to drive meaningful business results.
“Most of us are already engaged in some form of social networking either through Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter,” said Hauser. “But what happens when businesses successfully use employee and customer networks to gain business insights that differentiate from competitors? A lot. An example is Red Robin, a national gourmet-hamburger eatery, which deployed Yammer as a way to speed up menu feedback from customers via the customer-facing servers back to corporate headquarters quickly. Flattening internal communication like this can save money, make companies more responsive and course-correct quickly. Some companies even note large improvement in morale when communication is open and widespread. Social networking is deeply ingrained into the fabric of this generation’s interactions.”
Cloud computing – Hauser said that cloud adoption will used differently by organisations through 2014. According to Hauser, implementations were initially driven by the need to reduce costs and many enterprises saw cloud computing as a way to move non-critical workloads such as messaging and storage to a more cost-efficient, cloud-based model.
“The larger benefit comes from customers who identify and grow new revenue models enabled by the cloud. The cloud provides a unique and sustainable way to enable business value, innovation and competitive differentiation – all of which are critical in a global marketplace that demands more mobility, flexibility, agility and better quality across the enterprise,” Hauser explained. “A great example of this is Atea, a leading Nordic and Baltic supplier of IT infrastructure, which used Windows Azure to take advantage of a new business opportunity with minimal upfront investment.”
Creating memorable moments for customers – Hauser’s final prediction is that organisations will look at harnessing information, data and technology to better engage with their customers. “With consumers being far more enlightened, informed and connected these days with instant access to information and social channels, businesses need to step up their level of service and support to match the growing needs of the empowered customer,” Hauser said. “Successful businesses, like Pandora, are able to use technology to create memorable moments for customers, a philosophy that extends from the retailers that sell its product to the consumer who buys it.”
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