Between data security breaches, huge valuations, and IPOs, 2017 was an eventful year in tech. While the Equifax breach and MuleSoft IPO made mainstream headlines, I have been most excited to see the steady stream of news from tech players that continue to push the boundaries with technology that will transform the way we work. Here’s a look at three things that happened last year and what they signify for the future of work.
Slack reached a $5.1 billion valuation
We’ve seen money flowing through Silicon Valley for the past several years, and 2017 was no exception. Slack’s recent $5.1 billion valuation is evidence that the way we work is changing and will continue to do so. Slack’s facilitation of collaboration, integration of multiple communications channels, and simple, consumer-like interface are just a few of the many features employees look for in their workplace software.
It’s clear that Slack and more focused enterprise players, like Microsoft with their Microsoft Teams announcement, are taking stock and listening to employees in order to deliver the experiences they are asking for. In 2018, enterprise software will start focusing on building the experiences employees want, and as a result, vendors will now compete for customers based on these digital experiences. (Did you see Slack’s one-page ad in the New York Times?)
AI was the buzzword of 2017
Everyone from tech companies and consumer device manufacturers to beer makers used AI to help make smarter business decisions and increase customer engagement. The enterprise saw an influx of AI tools to help improve productivity and employees’ use of software. Why? Because employees expect tools to cater to them. They want personalized, relevant information. Software that learns user behavior and adjusts accordingly is crucial to successful digital transformation. Therefore, it is no surprise that 81 percent of IT leaders are currently investing in or planning to invest in AI and we only expect that to increase.
Virtual assistants and chatbots are changing the way enterprises operate
They started out in the consumer world with Alexa and Google Home. But despite their success in our personal lives, the enterprise world has not kept up – a simple workplace bot that replies “yes” or “no” no longer cuts it. Employees expect conversation and questions from these tools that are relevant to them and customized to their individual needs, similar to those they get when ordering a pizza from Dominos.
But, progress is coming. Microsoft announced its support of chatbots within Microsoft Teams and many vendors were quick to follow suit. Google announced its Chatbase cloud service at Google I/O this year, which gives bot builders the ability to understand what works to increase customer conversions, improve the bot’s accuracy, and create a better user experience. In the not too distant future, chatbots will provide enterprises with the tools they need to increase productivity, cut expenses, and automate business processes.
2017 was an eventful year in enterprise software and we made many strides in simplifying work for employees. As better digital experiences, AI, and virtual assistants continue to engage employees in 2018, the lives of workers will only get better.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.