Information Technology

Technology predictions for 2017

By Ian Stone, Managing Director of Anaplan UK and Ireland
Information Technology
Published: 19 January 2017

2016 was a politically, financially and economically uncertain and chaotic year. Across a range of industries and geographies, businesses have had to negotiate almost constant change, which promises to continue in 2017. As organisations attempt to adapt to the shifting market, there are five trends which I believe will dominate the business landscape next year.
Getting ahead of the game: look forward, not back
As the turbulent market makes it hard to predict business trends in 2017, companies that embrace forecasting and modelling tools that allow them to prepare for the future will be best placed to weather any potential storms. While business analytics can make sense of actions in the past or present, industries are moving so quickly that leaders need to prioritise the data that they work with.
For example, organisations that have the tools to map the effect of fluctuating corporate tax or exchange rates can put measures in place to ensure that the impact is minimised. The businesses that will succeed in the next few years are the ones that are prepared for multiple scenarios, and can review and change strategy as necessary based on real-time data, getting a head-start on the competition.
The rising tide lifts all ships: joining the dots between departments
With many costs higher than ever and trade deals being re-negotiated in light of the looming Article 50, the pressure is on for businesses to work smarter. In part, this means understanding the full downstream impact of a deal on different business units. However, most businesses today operate in a state of disconnect, unable to join the dots between related functions.
Over the next year, we’re going to see a greater emphasis on integrated business operations, as companies realise that siloed data just doesn’t work. Companies that bridge the gap between finance and HR, for example, will instantly be able to see the impact of changes to the workforce on the balance sheet. Therefore, it’s vital to see different departments as one interconnected model rather than separate, isolated elements. Successfully joining up your workforce in this way will be a big factor in driving success for businesses in 2017. 
The death of shadow IT
Technology is no longer the sole remit of the IT team. With maturing cloud solutions, departments throughout organisations are inspired to drive innovation through technology. As the role of CIO broadens within businesses, we are already seeing more collaborative relationships between the CIO and the rest of the business to ensure a comprehensive and cohesive technology strategy. This includes becoming more adept at integrating existing legacy systems alongside new innovations to ensure that they aren’t held back in today’s fast paced market.
IT in banking finally matures
As technology permeates the banking industry and agile start-ups threaten traditional outfits, the latter group has had to keep up with evolving consumer habits, with out-of-branch banking and greater personalisation an expectation rather than a bonus.
The legacy systems at the core of traditional banks are insufficient to cope with business challenges alone, and at the speed required today. To stay at the top of the industry and duplicate the agility of their nimbler competitors, banks are increasingly balancing existing technology with newer, scalable cloud platforms to manage areas such as workforce and compensation planning.
Reacting quickly to market changes will be key
Businesses from many industries are facing a new challenge in the rise of disruptive brands entering the market and contesting established methods of working. As more such organisations are founded, a key trend for 2017 will involve how traditional companies co-exist with them; many will prefer to simply adopt nimble competitors into existing operations. For example, Estee Lauder purchased cosmetics company Too Faced for approximately $1.45 billion, acquiring a makeup brand giving them access to a younger target market. For existing businesses to integrate these high-growth innovators into their business models, they must be able to make decisions quickly. To do this, leaders will need access to the necessary data and forecasts instantly, so that pivotal choices can be made in an informed way.