5 jargon-free IT trends real tech managers are watching in 2016

May 2, 20163 Minute Read

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When it comes to IT trends and goals, tech managers are focused on the pragmatic. Surveys show that IT pros are focused on working smarter with less, improving personal efficiency, and staying within strict budgetary guidelines. You can’t invest in every trend, which is why it’s crucial to understand the trends that matter.

If you’re looking for a nebulous listicle filled with tech no one needs or can afford, you’ve come to the wrong place. Nobody’s marketing VP is here to talk to you today ad naseum about the converging Internet of semantic drones. We’ve taken a deep dive into the trenches of corporate IT to talk to real people with actual budgets, priorities, and pain points. Our goal is to help you understand which concepts could have a real impact on how you work in the next twelve months.

1. Automated machine learning

Don’t glaze over just yet. Today’s solutions for automated machine learning aren’t mysterious algorithms run by the most sophisticated data scientists. They’re accessible, ready-made tools that are human-friendly, thanks to software layers that support ease-of-use. Anthony Jullien, IT director at Dupray, is one pro who’s actively excited about automation with the help of tools that take care of “semantic analysis for customer service, predictive analysis for inventory shifts, culling software for HR onboarding,” and more.

2. Next-generation messaging tools

Collaboration is more than a buzzword for many corporate leaders who have adopted platforms like Slack or Yammer to support communication between global employees. Andre Preoteasa, IT director at Castle Brands, believes there will be active innovation in messaging platforms for end-user resource access. Per Preoteasa, his future peers will use “messaging platforms as a way for employees to query information, ask questions, [and] reset passwords.”

3. Smarter project management platforms

Project management tools aren’t just a beneficial way to handle very real duties, like tasking and communications. The best platforms can assist with “people analytics” for process management and improvement. Franklin Valadares, CTO of Runrun.it, predicts adoption of smarter management tools which combine data capture, project management, and employee performance trackers into a single system. These tools won’t replace your middle management, but they’ll make their jobs a lot easier.

4. Smart offices

Sensors aren’t the future—they’re now. Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC) research indicates that 18 percent of businesses have already adopted sensor technology, with significantly higher adoption in Asian markets and among top-performing organizations. Tech author and entrepreneur Leo Welder predicts these adoption trends will continue in 2016, with very pragmatic applications that include “connected climate control and access device” for smarter and greener facilities management.

5. Friction-free tools

Every IT manager knows that early adopters are often the exception, not the rule, when it comes to end users. Entrepreneur Bo Ma refers to the majority of corporate IT consumers as “not-quite power users.” There’s already an existing trend towards reducing friction and the learning curve on productivity and communication platforms in the workforce, such as centralized platforms for communication and file sharing.

Application vendors are increasingly wise to the importance of ease-of-use, particularly for users who may not have the time, knowledge, or desire necessary to customize their settings. IT managers are likely to make the switch to these options as a very pragmatic way to increase adoption rates and satisfaction. The importance of friction-free products that are truly designed for people could take hold in 2016.

Regardless of your industry, today’s IT decision-makers typically have at least one thing in common: they’re balancing competing demands from users and leadership, with limited resources. As you look toward your strategy and IT trends for the remainder of 2016 and early 2017, take a pragmatic approach to understanding what’s next. Friction-free user interfaces, sensors, and messaging bots could be three of several practical ways to transform your organization in 2016.

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