VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA and MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- (Marketwire) -- 01/09/13 -- UNIT4 Business Software, the North American subsidiary of UNIT4 (EURONEXT AMSTERDAM: UNIT4), the global enterprise software provider for Businesses Living IN Change (BLINC), has issued its annual list of trends and predictions for the coming year. For 2013, UNIT4 Business Software expects the following trends to affect the industry and customers alike:
1. Millennials' "Minimize/Maximize" Phenomenon: The tidal wave of teenaged technology consumers at the turn of the millennium is now emerging as an R&D changing force in the business technology world. Their tastes and preferences for clean, zero-training technology interfaces, supported by devices with powerful, super-smart capabilities, is literally revolutionizing business app production. These now-emerging managers and business leaders have rejected old-school technology approaches, and software companies that recognize and respond with new user experiences - versus point and click interfaces - will win.
2. On-Premise Data Center Desertions: While on-premise data centers will remain for many corporations for select purposes/operations, clear evidence exists that there is growing corporate/organizational comfort with off-loading data into the cloud for routine and repetitive purposes. A hybrid approach is emerging for many companies in 2013 that will enable the redeployment of valuable organizational resources into activities more germane to business building and efficiency supporting. Software and services companies that offer a "choice" of multiple deployment options will best satisfy the market as these data center decisions are made.
3. Organizational Democratization and Flattening: Challenging economic times for many vertical market sectors have led to a reordering of organizational roles/responsibilities to reduce management layers and create more efficient workflows empowering a greater number of users. Today's more egalitarian, decentralized workforces will be margin-impacting factors in a new, flatter, more democratized workforce.
4. Analytic Activism: Gone will be the days when month-old, week-old, or even day-old data drive critical organizational decisions. And gone are the days when "the best" technologies for supporting decisions are executive dashboards allocated to a small handful of executives. A loud and emerging cry for more bite-sized analytic software applications - for specific purposes -- will drive decision-making down to levels throughout the organizational structure.
5. Social Collaboration Ports Over to Business: The consumerization of IT has also shown the business world that corporate branding/reputation is now inextricably tied to the opinion of "the masses." What's more, emerging opportunities to collect information from customers and prospects using social media tools will increasingly become the single most powerful force in determining everything from human resource to capital planning to R&D decisions. Watch in 2013 for an increasing array of embedded social capabilities in business software.
6. Mobile Mayhem for CIOs: A seemingly unending stream of market introductions for new mobile devices - with disparate standards - is reordering the role of CIOs to focus on a growing list of data integration, data disruption and security issues. As these chief technology executives grapple with their number one and two priorities - protect corporate intellectual/financial property...and keep their business running - watch for other executive areas to pick up IT management responsibilities for what will become "more routine" areas. (See below!)
7. CFO Role Reordering: The combination of a rapidly changing/challenging global economy, and the increasing commoditization of routine business software feature/functions, is moving application software decision-making responsibilities to non-technical roles. Watch for the CFO and line of business executives/managers to increasingly be the decision makers for routine software applications in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer/constituent relationship management (CRM) space.
8. Technology Buyers will Boycott "Lock-In" Policies: As business software buyers become increasingly wary of vendor lock-in policies that limit their options to respond to rapid change circumstances, they will increasingly favor options that provide "post implementation agility." Options to port deployment in and out of the cloud, and to continuously reorganize/restructure without major cost/disruption, will be favored over all-cloud and/or rigidly coded software options that won't change easily.
9. Excellent Customer Service will be a Competitive Advantage: Many cloud- and app-based companies offer minimal customer service, tending toward spotty self-help forums that provide uneven and unproven support. Customers will increase their due diligence into the companies handling their critical data, and will expect customer service to be part of the value they receive. A SaaS model encourages good customer service because switching to a new vendor is less disruptive.
"What is occurring in the business software world is a convergence of mobile/social/cloud dynamics, overlaid by an increasingly younger user base that has different requirements," explained Shelley Zapp, CEO of UNIT4 Business Software. "Gone are the days when technology solutions are relegated only to IT departments and senior level executives - or are minimized to data entry only. Today's faster moving, more agile workforces know how to use technology to impact results, and companies like UNIT4 that offer the means to put these solutions into the right hands will provide the best value to companies and organizations."
About UNIT4 Business Software
UNIT4 Business Software is the North American subsidiary of UNIT4, a $550 million global business software and services company that creates, provides and supports software for Businesses Living IN Change - delivered via the cloud or on-premise. It offers solutions that help these fast-changing public, private, non-profit and higher education "BLINC" organizations embrace business change - simply, quickly and cost-effectively. UNIT4 Agresso, the company's flagship Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) suite and UNIT4 Coda Financials, its best-of-class financial management software, are used by 6000+ organizations in more than 100 countries. For more information visit www.unit4software.com or follow the company on Twitter, LinkedIn and Innovating4Change, the company blog.
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