8 Enterprise Software Predictions for 2015: Page 2 of 2

5. Deeper ERP integration. “ERP is becoming more versatile, providing deeper integration with procurement, human resources and customer service software,” says Michael Golz, senior vice president & CIO, SAP Americas. “SAP has made a number of strategic acquisitions, most recently with Concur, that help customers expand the value of their ERP system,” by having it to “interact with new areas.” That increased integration and depth will continue to blur the lines between enterprise software systems and help organizations derive greater value from their IT investments.

“Historically, ERP and CRM have been viewed as two separate systems of engagement,” notes Jeremy Roche, CEO, FinancialForce, a provider of cloud ERP software on the Salesforce platform. “However, many businesses are starting to realize the immense value in eliminating distinctions between front and back office processes, bringing ERP to the forefront,” he explains.

“Rather than continuing to allow vital customer information to be scattered among various pieces of a business,” he says, “companies will begin to merge ERP and CRM into one single system of customer engagement, so they can better support the entire customer journey, from the initiation of interest to the delivery of a product.”

6. Open source will continue to gain ground. “Data warehousing and BI has long been the domain of proprietary software concentrated across a handful of vendors,” notes Ali Ghodsi, cofounder and head of product management and engineering at Databricks. “However, the last 10 years has seen the emergence and increasing prevalence of Hadoop and subsequently Spark as lower-cost open source alternatives that deliver the scale and sophistication needed to gain insights from Big Data,” he explains.

And open source software will continue to gain a foothold in the enterprise space in 2015, predicts Ghodsi and others. “The Hadoop-related ecosystem is projected to be $25 billion by 2020,” says Ghodsi. “And Spark is now distributed by 10-plus vendors, including SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, and Teradata, with support for all major BI tools, including Tableau, Qlik and MicroStrategy.”

7. Business Intelligence software will become more visual — and easier to use. “In 2015, BI solutions will look as good as they operate, and will operate as good as they look,” says James Richardson, business analytics strategist, Qlik, a provider of business intelligence and data visualization software. “Enterprise customers have been asking for BI solutions that are easier to use — self-service solutions. And visualization is key to this,” he explains. “By rendering data in easy-to-read graphs and charts, users will be able to understand their data in a way that is natural to them, breaking down the barriers between people and their data.”

8. Social intelligence gets even smarter. “In 2014, we saw organizations begin to analyze social data in earnest,” says Ellie Fields, vice president, Product Marketing, Tableau Software, a provider of business intelligence and analytics software. In 2015, this trend will continue to grow. “Tracking conversations via social will let companies find out when a topic is starting to trend and what their customers are talking about,” she explains.

And this ‘social intelligence’ will allow companies to be more nimble and responsive to customer needs, desires and issues — and get a leg up on the competition.