Technology has changed how consumers are using the Internet dramatically over the last few years. What’s just as dramatic is how businesses are evolving with the way consumers are behaving and the innovative software they’re using to move their business forward. Here are some of the top software trends that you’ll find in the business world as we move deeper in to 2017.
1. Cloud Migration
More businesses are using the cloud in one way or another. For the most part, they’re using the cloud to back up their files. This is obviously the most ideal solution as backing up to physical hard drives and other servers can get really expensive. But what’s interesting is that more businesses are opting to go with cloud hosting instead of going with the traditional dedicated or third party web hosting servers.
By migrating to the cloud, businesses are seeing a reduction in web hosting costs, reduction in equipment cost and reduction in labor costs. It offers an economic solution for database driven businesses. With that said, it’s not for every business. Some businesses obviously are more hands on and want to be secure about their business assets. As a result, the cloud serves as a backup plan when a crash happens.
2. Collaborative Project Management Tools
Projects are naturally a collaborative effort. Businesses used to work with workflows and use traditional communication to update their team members on what needed to be done or changed. This has become easier with collaborative project management tools. These tools put everyone on one platform where they can interact and edit the projects as they like.
This allows the whole team to be on the same page without the need of using traditional communication like email or phone. It allows for a truly collaborative effort where productivity is maximized. It allows business owners to better manage their teams and allows teams to be more self-sufficient. Like workflows, projects are streamlined but there is the additional benefit of making the reiteration process more seamless.
3. Customer Relationship Management Software
As marketing campaigns get more complex, businesses need better solutions to manage their leads, understand their customers and analyze their sales. That’s where customer relationship management (CRM) software comes in. These programs help you with the process of lead nurturing and maximizing the customer value.
For example, like other email marketing programs, you can create a follow up process to convert the lead into a customer. But once the initial follow up process is finished, the lead or customer is put on another list based on what action was taken. Customers are also upsold or cross-sold based on what they purchase. If the customer is known for buying specific types of products, they can also be automatically put on a sub-list for targeted marketing.
4. Custom App Development
In the past, apps were only seen as an expense for most businesses. They were usually for SAAS companies or development companies. Now, more businesses are investing in app development to increase and help grow their businesses. It’s about finding the strategic angle with the app rather than developing an app for the sake of having one.
One example of an industry that’s seeing more app development is the eCommerce industry. eCommerce businesses are using apps to help guide customers to sales. They are using push notification messages, personalized customization, exclusive in-app content and exclusive rewards to get their customers to use the app and keep coming back to it.
5. Software as a Service
There are more software as a service (SaaS) companies being started up more than ever. This is a business model that offers a software solution on a subscription basis. This is an attractive model because businesses can get more value out of selling software in this manner. They also fund their development costs for updating the software through the subscription model.
A big selling point of this model is the fact that businesses can quickly acquire leads and convert them into customers using a premium model. Many businesses offer a basic version of their software for free to bring in users. Through training video and sales presentations, they’re usually able to convert free users in to paid customers.
6. Chat Bots
More businesses are using chat bots to help guide their online visitors to the right destination or solve their problem. You can see chat bots in action with the chat option that’s presented to you when you visit certain websites. These bots are programmed to look for certain keywords and use user-guided feedback to provide answers.
At the moment, these bots are fairly basic. But app developers are creating more advanced chat bots that do a far better job in simulating a real conversation. This is a solution for businesses that want to use chat functions to guide their visitors and customers but need an economical way to do so. At the moment, a real person operating the chat is still the best solution.
These are just some of the software trends that you’re going to see in 2017. Saas, CRMs and project management tools have already gotten fairly popular. With the success of these software programs/solutions, there are more companies developing these types of software and as a result, more options available to business owners.