In recent years, significant technology developments have occurred:
- Rise of the Apple ecosystem with main products: iOS, iPad, iPhone and the iCloud infrastructure, especially designed for the consumer market.
- Strengthening of the Google position as a direct competitor to Apple, through the success of Android on mobile and tablet devices.
- The redesign of Microsoft Windows by the launch of the touch-based Windows 8 OS coupled to a robust cloud infrastructure, which for the first time delivers an eco-system suitable to develop cloud-based applications independent of the form factor/device type. This is especially important for the business market.
A proper application of the cloud paradigm on integrated business information systems, such as ERP applications, will decrease the costs of these systems substantially. In addition, the innovation speed will increase significantly because only one version of the application – with multiple configurations – is used by all customers (‘single code base’). This means that smaller companies in particular, who could not afford advanced information systems in the past because of the high costs and complex implementations, now can deploy integrated business systems at relatively low cost to automate their complete business processes.
The developments outlined above are reinforced by the maturing of cloud technology and data centers, which also make ‘mission critical’ applications, such as ERP applications, scalable and reliable. Modern techniques, such as fault tolerance, clustering and failover, which have been applied previously in heavy mission-critical systems only, are now also available as standard functionality in cloud-based systems.
Overall we see the following technology trends in the market:
- The rise and development of cloud technology and the availability of reliable cloud-based infrastructures. Important examples are Windows Azure, Force.com, Amazon S3.
- The application of advanced touchbased user interface technologies, such as those developed for the consumer market (iPad, iPhone, xBox), which are more and more considered as a commodity and becoming available now for the business market and the knowledge worker. Windows 8 is an important development herein.
- The traditional PC-based back office systems are increasingly integrated with mobile systems. This means that the knowledge worker can use multiple device types to perform his tasks. Here we see a shift from the user interaction paradigm from keyboard/mouse to touchscreens (e.g. iPhone, iPad).