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Analysis / Business

Top 5 Business Technology Trends For 2018

Blockchain

Growing use of artificial intelligence, machine learning with data analytics, and business intelligence. Business applications continue to churn out large volumes of data, and users are trying to mine that data to determine patterns and predict user behaviour. In e-commerce, users want to know customers’ buying patterns, which will help market products better.

Website designers want to understand how visitors move through their sites in order to improve conversion rates. And companies want to analyse their sales data to correlate marketing dollars spent with sales dollars generated. Business intelligence and data analytics activities are becoming easier to perform, and that’s driving their adoption in mainstream businesses that are seeking to make better, faster decisions.

1. Rise Of AI-Powered Chatbots

Over the past few years, chatbots — the automated, human-like chat responders — have been more an experiment, with limited adoption. Now, chatbots are becoming more mainstream as people see the benefits of those experiments, especially in customer service and support. Unlike human customer service and support reps, chatbots don’t have the physical and mental inconsistencies that can degrade service levels. More, AI-powered chatbots are learning how to respond to customers and predict what they want. Based on customer history or questions customers ask during a chat session, AI-powered chatbots can ask users what they need and even ask leading questions, all to improve the support experience.

2. Language Processing As An Interface

Star Trek fans aren’t the only ones who’ve been waiting for this prediction to manifest. Business users, too, are eager to have computers understand natural language. Take a sales manager who wants to generate a quarterly report. If the manager has to ask for it from an analytics specialist, the manager has to explain what she’s looking for and hope the specialist accurately translates her request into something the computer can process in order to generate the information she wants. Natural language processing bypasses the analytics specialist and lets the manager work with a computer directly via speech. In response, the computer may generate a visual or auditory response, depending on the manager’s preference.

3. Tightening Of Data Protection Laws

Everything is heading towards digitisation. Every business process, every technology, everything done with information — from storing, transmitting, and processing it —-it’s all in digital form. Now, a lot of countries are recognising that their citizens’ personal data needs to be protected. More, they’re recognising that users have to opt-in to these digital relationships; and they have to know the reason their personal data is being provided to a data process or data consumer and know what the consumer will do with their data. Tighter data protection laws are designed to secure their citizens’ privacy as well as prevent data abuse and outright criminal activity such as fraud or theft. Most recent example of this is Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). While some countries like India are also coming up with data protection frameworks, others will enhance their current data protection framework.

4. Continuation Of Cloud Adoption

Cloud is a mindset. And governments and larger enterprises have been slower to adopt that mindset, preferring to a private cloud/private data centre strategy as a starting point. Now, the biggest barriers to their cloud adoption — security and data privacy risks — are well understood and processes and mechanisms have been put in place to mitigate them. Enterprises now also recognise that most cloud companies invest heavily in the security of their cloud infrastructure, platforms and cloud applications. And they recognis that, in most cases, the security teams of the cloud companies are much larger and much more experienced than their own. Overall, the larger enterprises are finally becoming comfortable and confident with cloud security and the cloud itself. Governments are also taking the steps to putting out citizen-facing non-sensitive data and applications on the cloud.

5. Use Of Blockchain For Identity Management

Blockchain provides a distributed, secure, and unique system of records, so you can have a strongly encrypted authentication mechanism that prevents malicious users from breaking in. This makes it a great choice in terms of enterprise security, especially for identity access management system, which manages user logins and authentication. In 2018, we’ll like start seeing blockchain adoption in areas such as banking, financial services, and health care.

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Sridhar Iyengar is the VP of Product Management at ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corporation. Sridhar was part of Zoho's initial startup team and has been building software products for over 20 years. Sridhar has the passion, entrepreneurial drive and proven track record to create multi-million dollar winning products with great customer experience. In ManageEngine, Sridhar has set a fast-paced, agile product culture that creates high-caliber teams, while working with cross-functional and executive teams to get stakeholder's buy in to get stuff done. He has a strong background in technology that has enabled him to play effective leadership roles in Product Management, Marketing, Program Management and Product Engineering. Sridhar is a product management and product culture evangelist, speaking and conducting Product Management workshops for NASSCOM product forums, startup hubs, IIT Madras and global Technology forums. He also mentors aspiring product builders & teams and publish thought-leadership content.