Five Business Tech Trends for 2016

Mike Gioja, CIO and SVP of IT, Product Management and Development, Paychex
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Mike Gioja, CIO and SVP of IT, Product Management and Development, Paychex

It is unrealistic to think that business leaders will keep up with every new technology that emerges in 2016. However, recent technological developments will have a significant impact on businesses of all sizes, starting with the smallest of business operations, all the way up to the enterprise level, improving their ability to be successful through well-advised decision making. 

“In order for senior leadership to accurately plan, they require access to detailed, real-time data on everything from benefits and compensation, to time and attendance” 

Here are five business technology trends expected in 2016 that business leaders should be aware of: 

1. Human capital management application platforms 

The features and functions of technology once privy to large corporations will continue to move down market in 2016, becoming more readily accessible to small and medium-sized businesses. As technology continues to advance and more options become available, business owners will demand ease of use and a unified experience when it comes to the tools they invest in. Integration will be key and as a result, human capital management application platforms will fulfill human resources and technology needs. 

Human capital management (HCM) can be described as a set of processes and technological tools that companies use to systematically improve recruiting, management, and performance. This approach highlights employees as a company’s most valuable asset and how they can be a source of competitive advantage in the marketplace. Leveraging HCM best practices help businesses generate profitable business models, high-performing cultures, and memorable brands, in an efficient manner unlike ever before. 

In 2015, HCM emerged as a way for business owners to capitalize on employee talent and strengthen performance management tactics to help identify leaders, manage staff reviews, and develop ongoing training and management plans. In 2016, HCM platforms will become even more valuable due to the integrated features the technology will offer. As a result, businesses who implement an HCM platform will increase overall productivity. HCM services include: 

Full-suite, including employee life-cycle and business partner interaction, accessible in the cloud. 

Consistent and feature-rich user experience across devices 

Flexibility with API capabilities, to leverage existing solutions 

Technology-enabled service models to meet needs from a pure Software as a Service (SaaS) or self-service functionality to Business Process Outsourcing. 

While some HCM solutions substitute partnerships for actual integration and use an attractive user interface to mask legacy solutions, business owners will continue to demand more. As a result, integration is paramount to businesses’ success, via a comprehensive mobile and cloud-based technology built around a single source of real-time employee data. 

2. Data-driven decision making 

In the past, HR leaders had limited access to data that would help them make critical business decisions. However, data plays a significant role in a company’s success today, and will continue to do so as we head into 2016. When looking at business technologies, there is an expectation that the application will easily provide data to verify and validate actions and patterns when needed. Data-driven decision making relies on three key components: 

Analysis: Immediate access to relevant information and the ability to select the applicable data 

Report: Robust reporting options that provide statistics and metrics for instant analysis 

Share: Tools that allow for the information to be shared throughout the organization 

In order for senior leadership to accurately plan, they require access to detailed, real-time data on everything from benefits and compensation, to time and attendance. This technology will provide instant insights and the ability to look at topline information about every aspect of their business. From tracking progress to informing future planning, data and analytics provide a sound foundation upon which to unroll a strategic business strategy. 

3. Consumerization of Information Technology 

The lines between business and personal applications are blurring. Similar to how HR administrators prefer an integrated platform, so too do users expect to have an integrated, consumer-based experience. Not only will technology be interactive, but it will be device-independent, flexible, and social. 

Like many consumer-based technologies available on the market today, business technology will have varying levels of complexity to fit each user’s experience. It will also be device-independent, ensuring information is available for employees to review when and where they want to, with a familiar experience as if they were logging into their company’s system from a desktop. 

Over the past few years, social media has flourished, causing a shift in the way people communicate with one another. Business leaders can expect to see greater social interaction internally, allowing for collaboration and information sharing. This can be done through messages, push-notifications and onboarding, enhancing the employee journey to increase engagement, retention and productivity. Additionally, many social media platforms have new features added through a software upgrade, which is another trend shaping business platforms today. 

4. Digital disruption due to competitive market 

In 2016, business leaders can expect greater options to emerge, as the future of technology enables low-cost entries into the market. This increases competition and will innovate how businesses interact with software. Low barriers to entry, such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and open-source contributors significantly reduce start-up costs and the need for building infrastructure. 

Paired with the heightened pace of innovation, digital disruptions can now occur at increasingly shorter intervals. As the consumer and business need for a bigger, better, faster product steadily increases, so does technology. By incorporating a continuous delivery model with smaller, more frequent releases to production, businesses will have more services at their fingertips to choose from. As a result, business leaders will need to conduct thorough research to ensure they are making a sound investment in a company that both meets their needs today, and will help them grow tomorrow. 

5. Collisions of platforms 

The introduction of new devices has made our society as a whole much more mobile. This too has impacted the way in which employees work—and from where. Increasingly, desktop capabilities are expected to function the same way on mobile devices, whether that is a smart phone, iPad, etc. 

With this comes a new cross-device user interface, establishing a familiarity and foundation to deliver on these expectations. As the traditional workplace undergoes a transformation, more and more people are working from home or on the road, in conjunction to time spent in the office. Having a variety of platforms to send, receive or view information will be increasingly important for businesses. 

When looking at the trends of 2016, a pattern is easily recognizable. Business leaders at all sizes of organizations will have greater access to technology that will help them become more efficient, more productive, and more knowledgeable to help them grow their business. 

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