It's important to understand where IT trends are headed, so that companies can adequately prepare themselves for the road ahead, as well as seek out ways in which they can be an early adopter of some competitive-balance-shifting phenomenon. It's getting more and more critical as omni-channel commerce occupies a larger role in supply chains, especially as one survey recently found that just 5 percent of retail companies have successfully implemented an omni-channel commerce strategy. To take a look at what's coming up, we turn to Gartner, which recently unveiled its list for the top 10 "strategic technology" trends for 2015.
Three top trends
Let’s take a look at three key IT trends with definite ramifications for e-commerce and supply chain management professionals:
Analytics of all typesGartner stated that data analytics will continue to be in high demand, in an increasing variety of forms. Specifically, the research firm mentioned advanced, pervasive and invisible analytics. The ability for omni-channel commerce enterprises to execute data-driven customer fulfillment strategies, combined with back-end supply chain analytics tools, will be imperative to continued growth. Omni-channel commerce depends on fluid communication no matter the device or environment, and that all users have information available, whether they're customer service reps or supply chain management. The adoption of analytics tools will continue to grow as they become more powerful, and omni-channel commerce users figure out how to wield them.
The Internet of ThingsWhile it's certainly been on the rise for the past couple of years, the Internet of Things will accelerate in deployment and value as organizations figure out more ways to monetize it and identify better strategies to manage it, Gartner reported. Enterprises, especially in the supply chain, can derive value from the accuracy, visibility, accountability and availability that connected devices provide, particularly in crucial areas like production, transportation, ordering and inventory. Centralized data-collecting devices and increasingly user-focused IoT applications will make these assets more commonplace and effective.
Proactive, risk-based securityIT security teams will continue to be under scrutiny next year as their abilities to predict risk areas and prevent vulnerabilities becomes increasingly critical to every aspect of optimal business performance, Gartner stated. With the number of users, apps and processes multiplying, in many cases almost exponentially, there's very few areas in the enterprise where security isn't of utmost importance. E-commerce applications and consumer-facing mobile platforms need to insulated from issues in order to preserve information integrity, while companies will need to evaluate their B2B partner relationships to see if they need to be recalibrated in the face of rising threat levels. Compliance will continue to be a high priority, especially for organizations involved in financial and healthcare supply chains, although it's important to remember that sheer compliance does not necessarily mean a business will be shielded from issues.
Other IT trends for the next year with implications in the omni-channel commerce and supply chain industries include the deeper immersion of contextual computing, smart machines, increasingly software-defined infrastructure and other phenomenon that will make virtually every business operation intertwined with IT. It will be vital for companies to either seek out development of these solutions themselves, or work with solutions providers that can offer critical outsourced support.
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Prepare for 2015 with an omnichannel business strategy: