Leadership

Software Business Predictions for 2018

In the software industry, change is the only thing we can count on. Thought leaders shared their insight with SandHill.com on the trends they are seeing in their space for the year ahead in 2018. 

  • Enterprises Warm to New Technologies – I see blockchain getting traction with more B2B use cases. We will also see more practical AI applications emerge for businesses. And there will be continually wider IoT adoption across the board. – M.R. Rangaswami, Co-founder of Sand Hill Group & publisher of SandHill.com
  • Goodbye Screens 2018 comes down to one simple prediction: It’s the year of “screenless software.”  Increasingly, the user interface disappears into the background with the best software applications. Lower friction interfaces begin to emerge, including voice, wearables, text and mobile. – Byron Deeter, Bessemer Venture Partners
  • Cybersecurity Becomes the new “Marketing” Spend Gartner predicts that the cybersecurity market will grow to $96 billion in 2018. Cybersecurity spend is the new “Marketing spend:” Everyone knows they must do it, but few know what to focus on. Half the spend is wasted; we just don’t know which half. Companies that build security hygiene into everything they do and who share threat intelligence with peers and competitors will fare better. Increasingly severe threats combined with chronic security staff shortage will lead companies to adopt emerging AI-driven technologies and new security models that encourage outside security research to augment their efforts. GDPR and other norms will drive a new level of transparency in cybersecurity. (Click here for more executives’ predictions about the 2018 security market.) – Mårten Mickos, CEO, HackerOne
  • Subscription Model Lines Road to Revenue Growth The next frontier for future growth is to build on established subscriber relationships through experimentation with pricing and packaging. According to the bi-annual Subscription Economy Index, usage-based billing – think the metered use on the New York Times website, where how much you read decides how much you pay – is a growth accelerant.  Companies with just 10% of their revenue coming from usage-based billing can see growth rates that are twice as high as their peers. That’s a massive opportunity to amplify revenue and future subscriber growth, whether you’re selling online news to millennials, software to enterprise CIOs or single-origin roasts to coffee snobs. – Tien Tzuo, CEO & Founder, Zuora
  • Value-based Agreements Will Replace Transaction-based Agreements: The increasing use of bots will result in the output of highly-automated companies moving up the value chain. 2018 will see more transactional-based businesses, especially those which deal in service-level agreements (SLAs), turn into value-based businesses. This type of business will measure ROI not by the quantity of data or money spent, but instead by the additional business value they will create with faster, more reliable automation. Example: Instead of mortgage applications being simply processed at a bank, RPA along with cognitive and embedded analytics will be able to forecast the value of the mortgage applications to the bank at any given time during the process. The application’s value to the business, therefore, will be able to be “plotted” as the processing, evaluation and decision-making progresses. Banks will have the ability to take a mortgage value “snapshot” at any given time in the evaluation of any application, in real time.  – Abhijit Kakhandiki, SVP of Product, Automation Anywhere
  • Containers will be the Window to Multi-cloud Adoption: One of the barriers to multi-cloud architectures is portability of workloads. As more enterprises gain experience developing and delivering applications that run in containers, it opens a new level of cross-cloud capability that in 2018 will mean these organizations can more easily spin up workloads in the cloud – or clouds – of their choice. This will make is possible to place and run applications where it makes the most sense based on a number of factors, including economics and locality. – Avinash Lakshman, CEO & Founder, Hedvig
  • Trending Technologies Depend on an Open Infrastructure  Much is made of trending technologies such as the IoT, AI and containers. A less discussed – but more important – component of trending technologies is making sure they’re able to work together, which lends itself towards an open infrastructure. Integration in a proprietary world can be very complicated, while open source technologies are broader from the start. Additionally, most of the new emerging technologies are already open source, like AI or machine learning framework, all those things have become open source first. As a result, if you want to combine different pieces of the stack together, you have to be open to your competitors, and you have to be open to things with other companies as well. A true open source approach means you have to be willing to work with everyone. – Thomas Di Giacomo, Chief Technology Officer, SUSE
  • Regulations will Prompt Action With major breaches at Equifax, Deloitte, Verizon, the University of Oklahoma and other major organizations in 2017, a number of companies will start taking security more seriously. In particular, regulations such as NIST 800-171 and the upcoming GDPR regulations will prompt companies to examine their overall security strategy and mitigate risks to their private information. Data privacy is now more important than ever; ensuring that companies abide by these standards will ultimately strengthen companies’ business decisions. Start with a standard such as GDPR, and use it to put a holistic plan in place. Make sure you cover enforcing authorization into systems and networks, protecting content behind firewalls in case data is stolen, and having a plan of action for how to respond to a possible breach. – Erik Brown, CTO, GigaTrust 
  • Funding for AI Will Move From Innovation to Operations In 2018, we will see budgets for AI shifting from innovation to operations as more companies realize the transformative benefits of moving AI out of the lab and into practical operations within their organizations. Because there will be this shift, chief data/technology officers will serve a more important role within their organization as they take experimental AI and make it “real” business. – Shay Sabhikhi, CEO, CognitiveScale
  • Ever-Heightened Importance of User Experience The role of ITOps/DevOps is continuing to be more closely tied to end user experience, which will change the nature of ITOps/DevOps’ relationships with other lines of business––particularly customer service. As consumer expectations for a seamless digital experience become increasingly higher, the pressure is now on ITOps/DevOps to address service disruptions quickly while keeping customer support in lock-step as they resolve problems. As we’ve seen with recent headline-making data breaches, this is particularly true in the case of security incidents. Real-time customer communication about IT and security issues is becoming table stakes, and ITOps/DevOps will need to reconsider their business-wide communications strategy in order to meet these expectations. - Eric Sigler, Head of DevOps, PagerDutyA
  • A Tetonic Shift in Expectations The biggest shift in technology now is, we are moving from doing a lot for apps that give us little, to doing little for apps that give us lots. – Christopher Lochhead, Legends & Losers Podcast 

 

Clare Christopher is editor of SandHill.com.

 

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