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FinancialForce 2017 Predictions: 7 Technology Trends to Watch in the New Year

VMblog Predictions 2017

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2017.  Read them in this 9th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Kevin Roberts, Director of Platform Technology, FinancialForce

7 Technology Trends to Watch in 2017

Smart Assistants Break Out of the Echo Chamber

Voice control will explode in the workplace in 2017, with smart assistants like Cortana, Alexa, and Siri finding new ways to take business action on voice inputs. Thanks to powerful AI and voice recognition frameworks, clever developers now have the tools to develop systems that check the status of project deliverables, run reports and respond to business information through simple voice commands, creating the year that the ‘digital assistant' finds its place in the future of work.

Cloud Tipping Point - Agility of the Cloud Will No Longer Be an Option

Upstart businesses know that their relatively small size allows them to quickly pivot and adjust strategy when needed. These companies generally have a larger appetite for risk, and were among the first to jump into cloud CRM while the large enterprise challengers tended to take a ‘wait and see' approach. Holding off on adopting cloud platforms to run a competitive business will no longer be an option for most in 2017.  Businesses will go all in on cloud at a faster rate as they seek new capabilities in financial management, professional services and human capital management apps over on-premise solutions.

Software Must Do More Than Log Data

It is critical that software provides users with new opportunities to gain business intelligence across the entire organization. In 2017 business intelligence services will empower professionals unmatched visibility into every dollar recognized and dollar planned, and allow for critical decisions in an informed and predictable manner. New systems will meet user demand for detailed business optics, billing forecasting, and revenue tracking. Business users will also demand their applications automate cumbersome workflows and allow real time answers, collaboration, and data-driven decision making.

HR Gets Robotic, Yet More Personal

People have been the most important asset to companies for decades - that's nothing new. What is new is the ability to bridge visibility gaps between sales, services, HR and finance, and use those insights to forecast resources, strategic hiring, and predict future workforce spending. 2017 will be a golden year for businesses finding a balance between maximizing employees' time and finding ways to keep them satisfied and engaged in their roles.

The Services Economy Will Become "The Economy"

  • In 2017, businesses are increasingly shifting to service and subscription models.
  • In 2017, Over 90% of businesses will earn more than half of their revenue from services, which include professional services, subscription-based services, service-level agreements, managed services and usage-based contract.
  • In 2017, over half of all companies will be based entirely on services-related revenues.
  • The shift to services and the importance of subscription renewals in 2017 will place a greater emphasis on how customer experience and success impact overall business growth and profitability, making it critical that CFOs become more engaged in customer satisfaction, retention, and renewals, as well as product development.
  • The acceleration of the services economy will begin to reshape the Fortune 500, and businesses that are underprepared for the changing business model will be overtaken by more forward-looking organisations.

CFOs Get Hands-On with Customer Success

As businesses increasingly shift from product and single transaction sales to service and subscription models, CFOs will be thrust out of the back office and into active customer-facing roles. To support this shift, successful software companies will be required to deliver tools that consolidate billing sources, support and automate new revenue models, and provide end-to-end visibility across the customer lifecycle.

The FrankenCloud Continues to Add Appendages

As competition in the ERP market continues to heat up, legacy players like Oracle and SAP will continue to bolt on a hodgepodge of appendages in a hasty attempt to meet the demands of today's customers. In 2017, we expect to see even more major acquisitions that will fail to provide the tools for companies to run both their front and back office on a single platform that puts their customers first.

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About the Author

Kevin Roberts is the director of platform technology at FinancialForce and is a founding member of the company. He has over 25 years of back office systems integration experience across a variety of technical environments and is a key figure in the Salesforce and FinancialForce ecosystems. Kevin has a strong technical, integration, database administration and systems architecture background gained through experience of implementing enterprise financial, accounting and ERP applications in roles at Cap Gemini, Lynx Financial Systems, CODA and UNIT4 in both the UK and the US.

Kevin Roberts 

Published Friday, December 16, 2016 7:01 AM by David Marshall
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