2+0+1+5 = 8 Things to watch in Enterprise Tech for 2015

Steve Lucas

Posted by Steve Lucas on December 31, 2014

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As you can probably surmise from the title, I made a judgment call that “15 things” to watch in 2015 is just too many things…but this new, updated format should work for the next few years!

I am going to borrow a paragraph I wrote a year ago from my “14 things in 2014” blog to kick things off: “Looking forward, some of the insights I’ve provided should be placed in the “no brainer” category, specifically things like data security and privacy…cloud, Internet of Things and Big Data.”

While I will stop well short of declaring myself savant-like for predicting something like security would be a big topic, I think it’s safe to say that data and information security will take precedence over many a topic in enterprise organizations, given current global events. Granted for 2014 I stayed within the realm of reasonable predictions, so to up my game this year I am going to be a bit more edgy for 2015.

For 2015, I firmly believe that we will see more industries disrupted via new applications–thanks to the convergence of digital and physical–than any other year on record. The most successful startups I see, integrate the digital world with the physical better than anyone else and this formula has been proven out via companies like AirBnB and Uber over the past few years. It can only be assumed that we will see a hyper-acceleration of this integration going forward, especially given the massive growth in data (and collection of) we’ve seen across transactions, conversations, and machines, opening up new avenues for disruption like never before. We’ll also see disruptors on the global front with companies like Alibaba pressuring staples of the new economy like Amazon and even Google to innovate further and faster.

I will probably steer clear of making rather obvious observations, like China officially becoming the world’s largest economy, other high growth economies becoming unstable and pointing out the ever shifting landscape in geo-politics. There is, however, no doubt that these elements will factor into 2015 heavily! Hence I plan to arrange my 2015 prognostications under two headings: Overall tech industry trends and predictions and SAP specific trends, just so my biases will be clear! So without further delay, here are my first four predictions–for the tech industry as a whole…

  1. 2015 will mark the beginning of the Sensor-Century. (I want five cents every time the word “Sensury” is used from now on) I have decided to look at the world through the assumptive eyes that everything I see, no matter how insignificant, will have a sensor in it. I highly recommend the exercise for an hour or so…because it changes how you perceive our macrocosm. I firmly believe that we’ve reached the tipping point from “why” to “why not” when it comes to embedding and collecting data from everything. That doesn’t mean I believe that we know what to DO with all that data yet, but that’s where all of us come in. Not only will we innovate like never before by connecting more of the physical and the digital, but we will invent machines who understand machines in order to accelerate the discovery of new opportunities! I also believe we will begin living a lot longer, thanks to this meshing of the physical and digital in the medical industry – we will look back 50 years from now and see a sharp upturn in life expectancy that began in 2015.
  2. We will see two BIG S’s for Internet of things – Security and Standards. I agree with the great economist and author Jeremy Rifkin that we are beginning to see a red thread emerge across specific Internets in power, logistics, communications, healthcare, etc…each representing a subset of the internet of things…ergo multiple Internets. I may sound a little too much like a Rifkin disciple, but I absolutely believe he is correct when he predicts all this in his book “The Zero Margin Cost Society”. We really are moving to a world where the productivity gains we see through technology are staggering and the convergence of all things digital and physical, through embedded sensors, creates unprecedented opportunity for innovation and disruption. ALL THAT SAID…we MUST have a SECURE Internet of Things! If we don’t, what we saw play out in 2014 — constant credit card hacks as well unprecedented levels of corporate privacy violations — will propagate at alarming rates. More devices sharing data means more ways in. In fact, this is a geo-political challenge, not just something for the tech industry to solve. Finally on the topic of standards, my prediction is that we will reach a point of complexity with IoT that will force major players’ hands (including SAP’s) to standardize on more protocols and broader adoption of standards based machine interfaces, etc.
  3. We will see more BYOW (Bring Your Own “Whatever”) trends affect the Enterprise. Why would this trend stop at the mobile phone or tablet? At what point will technologies like Uber become a corporate transportation mandate? Today it’s a killer app and a BIG personal preference of mine. It’s also dramatically better/faster/cheaper than other forms of transportation. But it will do more than just change your preference on how you get to the airport. Delivery of goods, for example, is an area that companies like Uber are interested in. Why can’t logistics applications from companies like SAP better integrate with networks similar to Uber’s? From a developer point of view, the overwhelming wave of open source, especially for cloud solutions will enable even more consumer influenced solutions to rise in the enterprise like the tide in a bay. Take this thinking and stretch it across myriad disruptive consumer applications and enterprise apps/logistics systems and you’ll have BYOW impacting the enterprise like never before.
  1. You’ll forget your wallet. On purpose. The back pocket of my jeans will appreciate this one. Apple Pay, along with a plethora of other digital “wallet” technologies will go mainstream in 2015. Not just for credit cards mind you, but I believe for official forms of identification, including your driver’s license. A digital form of payment, verified by something like your fingerprint is dramatically more secure than a plastic card with a bunch of numbers written on it. Anyone ever had their credit card stolen? I have and I welcome anything that’s more secure. Furthermore, if anything proves to be the major driver of innovation, it’s convenience…and oh how convenient it is! I will go one step further here and predict that the point of sale device in physical retail outlets will disappear almost entirely, except when physical cash is required. This is where the enterprise part comes in…as large organizations like SAP, Microsoft, etc. will figure out how to merge operational systems with these new technologies!

So that’s it for the Industry trends at large and I think I deserve a pat on the back for not saying SAP HANA or Hadoop! But buckle your seat belts ladies and gentlemen, I am gonna say HANA a whooooole lot now! My four major predictions for SAP specific trends are:

  1. We will see something profound with SAP’s Business Applications Suite. My 15 year old son has a great analogy that is appropriate here. Every time Microsoft launches a new Xbox, there are some new games that take advantage of the power of the console, but more native game titles are always welcome. Well in 2015, our console (SAP HANA – there, I said it!) will get some KILLER titles, like Simple Finance and Simple Logistics, providing a major update to the suite & apps that made SAP’s Business Suite a fixture in enterprise computing. Considering that a CFO will be able to financially pivot her business more quickly than ever before using these new apps from SAP, the appeal will be irresistible. All that and these applications are built specifically for SAP HANA, so there’s a “Halo” effect that will ensue. (If you get the gaming pun, please tweet me!) Also here’s a blog with more detail: http://scn.sap.com/community/business-trends/blog/2014/11/25/a-roadmap-for-simple
  1. SAP Lumira will pass two million downloads! We have an amazing experience with new technologies like SAP Lumira, which allows any business user to download it and start analyzing data instantly. See #1 and #2 above – we need tools like this! What’s even better is that it’s the only analytics tool on the market that understands the full analytics experience. What I mean to say is that accessing or visualizing data is only part of the experience. Understanding information and then presenting it in brilliant fashion to people is the other half…and Lumira enables this like no other product. And it’s free. If you want to try it out, it’s here: (www.saplumira.com)
  1. IoT will take physical form as SAP Predictive Maintenance. For too long, SAP has offered the building blocks of IoT solutions like HANA and data management without a full set of finished business applications that capitalize on machine data. No longer is this the case in 2015. We’ve delivered a finished solution for manufacturers and operators to usher in heretofore unseen levels of productivity by leveraging data from manufacturing systems in real time in order to move to a zero down-time factory. My prediction is that we will see this go mainstream across manufacturers, as the allure of higher productivity and lower maintenance costs will prove irresistible.
  2. The SAP Cloud will be the largest Enterprise Business Cloud anywhere. Is this really that much of a stretch? (unless you are a Salesforce.com groupie) All our cloud solutions, from SuccessFactors to Ariba to Concur to SAP Cloud for Customer have moved or are moving to SAP HANA as a common platform and offer unparalleled end to end integration. Wrap that up with our Platform as a Service – HCP – and you’ve got something that any company can really leverage. These are the tools that businesses can use, instantly, to change their destiny. Couple this with all my previous predictions above and now you’ve got something profound.

That’s it folks for 2015! I believe in aggregate, these trends and many more will play out in ways no one can fully appreciate, but regardless, 2015 will be anything but dull!

And as for my bonus prediction – I believe that one of you reading this will invent the next breakthrough business app and become a billionaire and I hope to hear about it! Hopefully you’ll even build your app on hcp.sap.com J

I wish you all a safe and prosperous 2015!

Steve

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