7 Enterprise Technology Trends for 2019 and Beyond
2019 is here, and it’s hard to believe, but the 2020s are around the corner. What was once science fiction is now reality, as amazing technologies from artificial intelligence to robotics transform the way businesses get things done.
The enterprise technology trends for 2019 are far from mundane and boring. There are exciting IT developments that are already revolutionizing business.
The advancement in cloud communications is just one of the technology trends of 2019 that is completely transforming the way people work. These tech trends have an important role in enterprise organizations.
Companies that want to survive and thrive in 2019 and throughout the 2020s need to pay attention—not just to stay informed, but to make the right choices about what technologies to adopt and implement.
Here are some of the top enterprise technology trends for 2019, 2020, and beyond:
Trend #1 – Real-Time Operations Throughout the Entire Organization
One of the top enterprise technology trends is the implementation of real-time operations, not just for specific applications, but across the entire enterprise. It means things are being processed and accessed in that exact moment, without delays or processing queues. While this hasn’t been implemented across the board on a mass scale, especially on the consumer level, that day is coming.
Imagine, for example, if all banking transactions were instantaneous. Instead of waiting a day or two for checks to clear or bank transfers to process, they happened instantly. This kind of processing has obvious benefits when it comes to financial transactions. Reconciling transactions and keeping disparate databases synched and up-to-date are just a couple of problems that can be solved with this.
On a more mundane level, real-time operations mean that inventories can be tracked instantly, improving supply chain management. Data can be produced instantaneously, improving long-term strategic planning as well as on the spot decision making.
Real-time transactions and operations may involve all kinds of disruptive technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), automation, next-generation cloud services, and more.
Trend #2 – Advancements and Adoption for Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence is now beyond just being one of the hot technology trends—it is now an expected part of technology. It’s machine learning that has become the fascination for tech trends watchers. 2019 is supposed to be a banner year for machine learning innovations and its practical applications.
For example, AI driven development may utilize machine learning to help accelerate the process of software application development, testing, debugging, and implementation.
Trend #3 – Can’t Avoid the Cloud
When the concept of the online “cloud” first came on the scene, people were skeptical. What about security? Why would I want all my information online? Yet, the cloud has become not just one of the biggest tech trends, but a total transformation in the way people not only do business, but use computers.
Computer software is also changed forever—instead of being something that is bought in a package at a local computer store for a set price, it runs on a subscription model in the cloud.
The cloud is not just a passing phase or trend—it is the way that technology works these days. Always connected and set to share, cloud services and SaaS (software as a service) enable better communication internally and externally for companies of all sizes.
One of the ways businesses are now utilizing the cloud is through enterprise collaboration systems (or ECS for short). These cloud communications platforms enable teams to communicate and share information and files in real-time (there’s that term again) quickly and securely.
For example, PanTerra offers integrated, unified enterprise collaboration through its Streams software solution. This ECS includes cloud phone systems (PBX, VoIP) with texting and conferencing, team messaging with unlimited team groups, file sync and sharing that is HIPAA compliant, and real-time analytics to support business intelligence.
Trend #4 – Leaps and Bounds for Chatbots Improvement
Chatbots are basically AI-driven customer support systems that pop up on web pages, usually in the lower right-hand corner. The customer or prospect can type a question in the box, and the chatbot will immediately answer.
This, of course, saves money in terms of customer support staff needs. It also enables human customer-support personnel to handle people who truly need human assistance and a personal touch.
The problem, so far, with chatbots, is that they are often frustrating to use and not very helpful. A common response to typing a question into a chatbot is, “I don’t know what you mean.” Or: “I don’t understand, can you rephrase that?” Or, the chatbot will tell the customer it can’t answer the question and kick it out to the knowledge base, email, or a phone call.
Fortunately (to the coming relief of frustrated customers everywhere), chatbot technology is getting an upgrade, and the AI behind it is improving. This means that chatbots will be more humanlike, be better able to answer questions, and ultimately be actually helpful, instead of just a block to getting real support, as most are today.
Trend #5 – Businesses Evaluate and Scale Blockchain
Of all the tech trends from 2018 that may have caused the biggest eye rolls, “blockchain” may be at the top of the list. The blockchain, or simply “blockchain,” is a technology originally developed for cryptocurrency. It works as a distributed, permanent ledger where transactions are recorded in a “chain” format that gets appended to the data.
In 2019, blockchain applications may finally start to come into their own. The real-world applications of blockchain technology are at last becoming more apparent, instead of inappropriate use cases fueled by a desire to jump on the blockchain bandwagon.
Supply chain management and supplier tracking can be helped significantly through the proper blockchain technology. Blockchain applications will start to be used more with the cloud, to enable better transparency while improving security and flexibility.
So, in 2019, expect to see more practical applications of the blockchain, even as the ICO (Initial Coin Offering) hype of cryptocurrency may die down.
Trend #6 – Companies Adopt Smart Spaces
The term “smart spaces” could be easily dismissed as one of those trendy sounding tech expressions that sound like it says more than it actually does. Smart homes, smart cars, smart everything—right? So, what is a smart space as it applies to business?
Let’s backtrack to the 1990s when the first cybercafes opened up. These were the trendy spots of the day, where people could go and get connected to the Internet (usually for a fee) and perhaps pick up a coffee and maybe a donut (if they were lucky). Prior to the ubiquitous wi-fi that is now found in every coffee shop in the Western hemisphere, cybercafes were sometimes the only public spaces where one could connect to the internet.
Cybercafes were also the first “smart spaces,” though they weren’t called that at the time. But they provided all of the basic attributes of a smart space—the first being internet connectivity, and technology that could be shared, as well as a community environment.
When applied to a business, a smart space is sort of an in-house cybercafe—not that it’s where the staff comes to get a cappuccino and a scone, though that might be part of it too. A smart space is an environment where people can collaborate using connected technology ecosystems. (A digital space can also count as a “smart space” or an extension of a physical smart space.)
On a practical level, this is where employees and teams meet virtually to interact as well as take advantage of the latest technology tools to get work done.
These environments would likely include (on the software side) an enterprise collaboration system, and (on the hardware side) connected devices such as multifunction printers and app-enabled, connected devices. On a bigger scale, these smart spaces might extend out to the greater community, for smart cities that foster collaboration with mixed use spaces and connected communities.
The five keys to successful smart spaces are: openness, connectedness, coordination, intelligence, and scope. Thus, smart spaces, more than any other enterprise technology trend of 2019, are as much a philosophy of how to do business, as they are a tech trend.
Trend #7 – Robotic Process Automation
Robotic Process Automation, also known as RPA for short, is not actually about physical robots taking over human jobs. It refers to computer software that automates frequent, repetitive business operations and transactions.
As a 2019 technology trend, RPA is not surprising, but it does have the inevitable downside of displacing human workers.
RPA should not be confused with the use of real robots to displace workers. But it is part of the inevitable transition towards an automated workforce, such as what has already been happening in manufacturing.
When automation first came on the scene, it was hugely disruptive.
Human factory workers were among the first to experience the effects of automation through technology. The 1980s were the first decades in which robots (physical ones) were utilized en masse in manufacturing. These modern industrial robots were best known for taking on repetitive tasks on automobile assembly lines.
Starting in 1980, new industrial robots were launched approximately once a month. The initial robots were crude machines that often consisted of large, metal robot “arms.” Of course, now almost 40 years later, we have robots and androids that can talk, walk, and even sing on late night TV shows.
What those industrial robots couldn’t do, however, was think. The new “robots” that are being developed via software and machine learning are being taught to think. This leads us to Robotic Process Automation, where the new threat is not so much about physical robots taking away jobs, but virtual ones.
We’ve already mentioned the improvements going on with chatbots. This potentially takes away jobs from human customer service agents. But higher-level white-collar workers should not be complacent. RPA could potentially displace jobs for everyone from doctors to computer programmers.
These new bots may take jobs away from 9 percent of the global workforce—or 230 million knowledge workers.
But RPA is here to stay. And, on the positive side, businesses that implement RPA could potentially provide better customer service and improve the velocity of business, while reducing costs.
Enterprise Technology Trends: Final Thoughts
2019 offers many exciting (and scary) enterprise technology trends. The one trend that most businesses should be implementing right away is enterprise collaboration via the cloud. For more on how the cloud will impact your enterprise be sure to read:
To see how enterprise collaboration can benefit your organization risk free, try PanTerra’s Streams platform for free today.