Consumer technology is booming in Australia. The rapid adoption of mobile, smartphone and tablet technologies has caused huge disruption.
Lower price points are providing widespread access to new technologies; rapid access to information is driving increased consumption; hand held devices mean the ability to access information on the move; and social communities have engendered consumer power, driving a customer service revolution.
With experts such as emerging technology research firm Telsyte projecting that 30 percent of Australians will own a tablet by the end of 2013, it’s a boom that shows no signs of slowing.
What’s fascinating is the fact that, as employees, we have taken this disruption with us into the workplace, increasingly setting the parameters for the type of IT we wish to use, and subsequently driving a revolution as to how IT departments in many of the nation’s largest organisations structure their internal IT. The revolution may already be underway but there is plenty more change to come. Let me explain in more detail three key areas in which workers will influence enterprise software, both in 2013 and beyond...
The reason consumer IT has exploded has more to do with cloud-based software rather than the advent of sleek and portable new hardware. The cloud is the access point for software tools that help us all save time and money. While cloud adoption in the workplace is relatively new (according to a Gartner survey, 71 per cent of organisations have been using Software-as-a-Service for less than three years) it is growing at a rapid rate.
What makes cloud-based software central to driving change amongst future business IT policies is that it gives employees the opportunity to use applications that are familiar and full of easy-to-use features. It also provides the ability to do so on their own devices, giving them flexibility as to when and where they work. Forward thinking firms are already making cloud technologies work within company security policies. By viewing the situation as an opportunity to better engage the workforce and help to improve productivity, smart firms are tapping into employees’ desire to interact with business apps that are specifically designed for the task at hand while being intuitive and easy to use.
By introducing best-of-breed business apps that integrate together and with existing systems, corporate IT departments can satisfy the desire to use familiar tools while improving productivity. This is particularly important for the teams at the front line of the business – for example sales and support. The sales organisation wants to use the best CRM tool for their needs. The support organisation wants to use the best customer service software available. To keep customers happy and coming back for more, these teams need their tools to integrate with each other to that each team has a holistic understanding of their customers.
What we will see increasingly in the coming months and years is collaboration of business tools into one single dashboard, providing seamless two-way integrations of best-of-breed tools in the cloud. This will be a vital factor in helping businesses deliver the best results over the next twelve months and beyond, resulting in satisfied, loyal customers, and a thriving business.
Bring your own devices (BYOD) and bring your own apps (BYOA) is not a new issue for the Australian business world. Unisys-Forrester reports 41 per cent of Australian employees said they had downloaded unauthorised mobile apps or PC software. The most common reason, cited by 63 per cent, was that they needed it for work purposes.
This thirst for accessing applications that we know and love is driving disruption in the world of software development. Modern business application developers are creating enterprise software that are more like consumer applications. In 2013 and beyond, you will see more and more business applications add consumer-like interfaces, features and, even, gamification.
Listen, accommodate, evolve
In today’s business world we are more aware than ever of the need to be productive and agile to save time and money. To achieve this it is only natural that workers choose to use technologies that are familiar, trusted and reliable. Accepting this behaviour and adapting IT strategy is the key to the future of enterprise IT. That means utilising cloud-based technologies to enable fast access to information; better integration of best-of-breed business applications that ensure the whole business is working together and having visibility into critical information; and taking a cold, hard look at whether the business applications you are using are actually performing as required.
Listen, accommodate and evolve the enterprise software offering and the prize is a more productive business going into 2014 and beyond.
Michael Hansen is Vice President and Asia Pacific Managing Director at Zendesk