The Year in Connectivity

The Year in Connectivity

2016 has been a great year in the integration space.

Here’s a quick look back at some trends that stood out.

Best of Breed Becomes the Standard

It wasn’t so long ago that we were all talking about this new thing called “cloud,” and now, cloud-based apps and resources are absolutely the norm. The pervasiveness of cloud creates a world where a best-of-breed approach is now the standard. Even with acquisitions like SteelBrick and LinkedIn, the number of apps grew and will continue to grow.

Businesses can choose what tools work best at any given time, and can just as easily change when the business evolves.

As Massimo Pezzini, a Gartner analyst, says, “My view is the cloud environment will remain extremely fragmented, so there will always be a need for someone to play Switzerland, for some platform to integrate across these vendors.”

It’s now less important what app you choose, and more about how you connect them to realize true value.

Read more: What a Best-of-breed Approach to Apps Means for Business

Consumerization of IT Continues

As cloud-based apps grew, so did the need to use them from different departments. Marketing wants automation tools. Finance was faster, more accurate billing systems. Sales wants better CRM and predictive analytics apps.

IT no longer leads the charge of owning or bringing in technology. The demand for systems, apps and tools comes from the business and the users.  

As this article explains, “In the last 10 years, the adoption of new technology has shifted to the consumer and not the enterprise. As a result, employees who were accustomed to using technology at home pushed for adoption in the workplace. This left IT groups scrambling to adapt their policies and applications to work with consumer devices and software, not always willingly.”

This trend continued into 2016. As the 2016 State of Cloud Connectivity report uncovered, more than 70 percent of the Salesforce users that took part in the survey said the operating department (e.g., marketing, sales, or accounting) made or influenced the buying decisions for new software. Yet, 43 percent of these organizations also expect IT to own the responsibility for integrating their apps.

Empowering a business analyst or marketing manager to build integrations themselves in days, not months means greater returns on IT investments and deeper insights that will lead to better business decisions sooner. Plus, it frees up IT to focus on more strategic decision-making.

Which brings us to the final trend.

The Rise of the Citizen Integrator

As technology in the enterprise continued to follow the consumer marketplace, more users have become comfortable connecting apps at home. Consider the growing popularity of home automation. People are now able to integrate a number of apps by themselves with no training, and they now expect to be able to do the same at work.

Marketing expects to not only have those automation tools, but also connect them to CRM and analytics tools. Finance not only wants faster, more accurate billing systems, but also to connect them to SFA apps. Sales not only demands better CRM and predictive analytics apps, but also to connect them to CPQ systems.

And they aren’t waiting around for IT to do it for them.

Citizen integrators, or non-technical users, are starting to make waves in 2016, and it’s just the beginning. Learn how empowering digital citizens to connect the data and apps they use most can give any business a competitive advantage.