While autumn is a season that evokes colorful pumpkins, graceful falling leavings, and apple orchards, for the technology community it is the season of end-user events where branded backpacks, conference-pass lanyards, and customer appreciation events with big-name rock bands dot the landscape. Over the past month, I have had the pleasure of attending many of these events across a slew of solution areas. What is fascinating this year is the commonality of the overarching themes and what this suggests about the path to digital transformation.
Nearly every industry has reached or is about to reach the steepest part of the curve for the adoption of enterprise applications in the cloud. Cloud migration is taking flight, particularly for ERP and HCM. Leading vendors are not only putting the full force of their sales teams against leading this migration, but also taking aggressive steps to reshape their organizations across customer service and product development to support it.
As the frequency of business disruption grows and its impact becomes more profound, the challenges enterprises face become increasingly complex and difficult to solve. Consequently, employing a single IT application is no longer sufficient, and instead enterprises must bring together a set of solutions in a unified way that is driven by the unique requirements of the business problem. In response to this reality, vendors are investing in vertical markets, developing industry expertise, and expanding their target prospects to include nontechnical line-of-business leadership.
While it may still be early days in the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions, the conversation about them is pervasive at nearly every conference. In some ways, it is the expected outcome when combining increasingly robust connectivity, cloud adoption, an API-driven economy, advancements with analytics, and the business need to do more with less. However, it is the pace of development in these areas that is truly staggering, even for this wizened analyst. In less than a decade, innovation has gone from being business intelligence reports delivered in Excel to a CRM solution, with the aid of AI, constructing draft emails to prospects based on their characteristics. Heady days indeed!
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