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Avalara 2017 Predictions: A glimpse into the future of financial technology and tax

VMblog Predictions 2017

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

Contributed by Peter Horadan, CTO and EVP of Enginering, Avalara

A glimpse into the future of financial technology and tax

1. Blockchain Will Be Used for Applications Beyond Bitcoin

While Bitcoin has been a surging crypto-currency for years, mainstream uses of blockchain have not yet occurred, but that will change in 2017. The use case may likely be related to accounts receivable/accounts payable, in an industry where blockchain's simplicity and transparency can make a big difference - something like the buying and selling of collectibles or fine arts. Eliminating the need for banks, credit card processing, and paper-based invoicing will accelerate reconciliation, increase transparency and confidence, and simplify auditing, creating an environment that can help the industry grow and support new types of transaction.

Municipalities may also begin experimenting with how blockchain can make them more efficient and serve citizens more effectively. For example, blockchain could simplify the antiquated and arcane process of tracking real estate ownership and transfers, eliminating the need for the cumbersome escrow and title insurance processes. This will certainly start with small, local use cases before other governmental entities adopt it.

2. Serverless Computing: Students Starting Junior High School in 2017 Won't Know What a Server Is

In 2017, serverless computing will become a mainstream IT strategy, because it holds the promise of completely eliminating developers' headaches associated with:

  • Planning for the type and size of machine on which to run an application
  • Ensuring performance at peak usage times
  • Scaling an application infrastructure over time

Instead, developers will only need to upload core functions to an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solution, which automatically provisions compute resources as necessary to support demand. Since developers can stop thinking about load balancing or backup plans or future growth, they'll have more time to think about application features and functionality. Developers won't think about a "machine" running their apps at all; it will just be a service. Moving forward, the obstacles to adoption for high-performance and enterprise-scale applications will steadily be overcome. So it's a good bet that graduates in computer science in 2027 will discuss servers only in the context of history-of-computing classes. Remember computer punch cards? Assembly language programming? Single-sided floppy disks? The days of the server are numbered.

3. We Accept That All PII Is Public and That Authentication Needs to Change

For decades, people have been entering private information into authentication systems as a way to prove their identity: mother's maiden name, name of elementary school, first pet, favorite movie, etc. Given all the hacks and data breaches, and all the mining of that data, does anyone really believe that this information can be kept private? 2017 is the year that companies, application developers, and authentication system designers recognize this painful truth: we should assume all personally identifiable information (PII) is public, and we must completely rethink authentication systems. Unfortunately, 2017 won't bring solutions to this problem; at present, there just aren't any good ideas out there. Rethinking authentication systems may require a completely new strategy involving new technology, or a new combination of existing strategies and technologies. As high-profile breaches continue to make headline news, as governments increasingly engage in cyberwarfare, it's time for the best minds in the information security industry to solve this problem.

4. Real-time Compliance Technology Pilots Begin, Quickly Followed by Legislation

As more trade transactions are automated, governments are collapsing their regulatory compliance time windows. Governments increasingly want real-time visibility of and access to these transactions - not to mention having the taxes remitted as well. SAF-T in the UK, Nota Fiscal in Brazil and other electronic real-time compliance technologies are emerging as de jure standards by which governments can view and collect transactional taxes. In 2017, some of these emerging standards will become pilot programs, quickly followed by actual legislation that sets out the regulatory requirements. For many organizations, this means that "real-time" is about to get very real.


About the Author

Peter Horadan leads software development and operations at Avalara. His extensive background includes leadership positions in engineering, operations, and client services. In addition to building and operating SAAS services, Peter has a long history of creating industry-leading commercial software products. Before joining Avalara, Peter served as a technology executive for several private and publicly traded companies, most recently Scout Analytics. Additionally, he has directed research and development at Concur Technologies, and has held leadership roles at Microsoft, Corillian, and BEA Systems.

Peter Horadan 

Published Friday, December 30, 2016 9:02 AM by David Marshall
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