Top 10 business applications stories of 2016

By:  Brian McKenna

The business applications of the internet of things have, alongside the emergence of artificial intelligence and machine learning in enterprise software, been the new and developing vista in 2016. The first three stories in this year’s crop reflect this wave.

In the field of business applications, Computer Weekly has, in its 50th year, been casting an eye back over the five decades past. We have recorded the rise of the spreadsheet and the spread of ERP, and now register the coming of a fresh era of user organisations developing their own business software for competitive advantage.

The enterprise software year is punctuated by the landmark global conferences of SAP, Oracle and Salesforce (Sapphire, Oracle Open World and Dreamforce, respectively). SAP has continued to push its in-memory, columnar database Hana as the ultimate platform for business transformation, Oracle has deepened the beat and stepped up the pace in its march to the cloud, and Salesforce is seeking to infuse its customer relationship management software with an artificial intelligence it has dubbed Einstein.

1. British breakthrough for IoT- based business applications this year

2016 was set to be the year that internet of things (IoT) technology moved into the mainstream. Or so said analyst firm Gartner. An IoT survey that the researcher conducted at the end of 2015 revealed that 29% of large companies were already using IoT-based products for business applications and another 14% planned to implement them over the next 12 months, bringing the total of new adopters to nearly half the potential market.

2. The rise of the robots in financial services

Robo-advisers are crossing the Atlantic to find a space in UK financial services in the form of IT-dominated startups. A research report published by investment bank Morgan Stanley in November 2015 predicted that several European banks would pilot robo-advice during 2016.

Hexagon, a manufacturer that measures and monitors robot, and other, components is using the Salesforce IoT Cloud to better tune components to environmental factors.

4. CW@50: Spreadsheets and ERP – 50 years of software coding business

Business software has been a rich field for IT professionals over the past five decades, and we are on the cusp of a new era of customers rolling their own for competitive advantage. There should be a bright future for IT pros working for user organisations, developing the applications that bring strategic advantage to their firms.

5. HR analytics tools promise edge in war for talent

A new wave of HR data analytics is said to enhance hiring decisions, improve employee retention, and boost company performance. Fact or fiction?

6. An overview of cloud customer relationship management

Businesses are confident about buying customer relationship management (CRM) software as a cloud-based service. Computer Weekly looks at the main players in the market.

7. Sapphire 16: SAP’s McDermott stresses customer empathy as Microsoft pact declared

SAP CEO Bill McDermott said the company will put more emphasis on “empathy” for customers, during his opening keynote at the supplier’s 18th Sapphire 2016 customer conference in Orlando.

8. OpenWorld 2016: Ellison stakes claim for infrastructure as a service

In his opening keynote at Oracle OpenWorld 2016, Oracle chairman and CTO cited AWS, Workday and Microsoft as main competitors for cloud revenue in enterprise IT. He staked a claim for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) business in enterprise IT, against the likes of Amazon, and played up artificial intelligence.

9. Benioff follows on stage to promote Stem education as way out

At Dreamforce 2016, Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff endorsed’s education drive for black youth and Bono’s anti-AIDS charity, (Red).

10. SAP Hana implementation pattern research yields contradictory results

Two separate research reports into the user adoption of SAP’s Hana database platform and its S/4 Hana ERP system presents a confusing pattern. Storming ahead or running aground?