2020-21 was a watershed year. And what a year it was!
While the chinese virus Covid-19 forced almost everyone to stay at home, the need for IT infrastructure & IT solutions leapfrogged. The cumulative development in the past 2 years is roughly estimated to be equal to a decade of progress. Collaborative workflow software tools & apps took the lead on the solutions side. While the internet & server infrastructure matched the pace admirably.
So what can we expect in the coming years?
Deep integration between Apps & ERP, Finance, CRM & other existing systems are aiding the business users to a superior experience. As days go by, the readiness to deep integration is growing exponentially. This promises to reduce costs & turnaround times.
Ultimately all enterprise softwares will be integrated with sundry apps & softwares for that seamless user experience.
Data is the new oil. With deep integration between apps & ERP, Finance, CRM et cetera, there will be an opportunity to pipeline all that data & storing it in a single reservoir in real time. To achieve this, every organization will have to create its own Data Lake and update the lake as and when required. The tools for creating Data Lakes & pipelining the organization’s data into them will become faster & cheaper.
And with so much data it becomes easy to spin up real time reporting dashboards for control & decision making.
If data is the new oil, then appification is the new electrification! Business processes will continue to be appified at breakneck speed. Even today, new business apps developed by small, agile teams are hitting the market every minute! From Mutual Success Planning to Customer Success Management to Task Management to newer ways of collaboration we can expect to see an app built for every aspect of business.
Analytics as a Service
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning (AI/ML) is now spreading more rapidly. While there are some issues with the lack of transparency in algorithms & the backend data, the proliferation of AI/ML is unstoppable. The future should logically see many new and important developments in that regard:
Analytics algorithms (‘curves’) will be hosted in platforms which are linked to the right data lake. This will permit reuse of algorithms with newer (as well as historical) data for extended periods of time – until calibration is recommended.
The role of ‘Analytics Ombudsman’. The recent case of a chronic American patient has highlighted the need for this role. This patient was prescribed opiates for their chronic condition but was immediately ‘labelled’ as a ‘substance abuser’ by the newly activated analytics algorithm which was automatically applied to their medical records by the hospital network, causing great anguish & unnecessary suffering. The role of the ‘Analytics Ombudsman’ will be created to provide an official platform to redress real world grievances caused due to faulty algorithms / incorrect data.
From CRM to CDP (Customer Data Platform)
The last 3 decades were the age of CRM or Customer Relationship Management software. It made it possible to store detailed information about customers, their purchases, grievances, service calls made, customer feedback, et cetera.
The future is CDP or Customer Data Platform softwares which will allow businesses to store detailed customer behaviour across multiple formats in the digital & offline world. Data will be pulled from online sources as well as CRMs & secondary sales systems. And the CDP will recommend new ways to retarget customers based on this data – both online & offline.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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