Business and Data Analytics Tops Tech Trends List

February, 2017

Business and data analytics ranks No. 1 among the top technologies that organizations are investing in for 2017, based on the Computer Economics Technology Trends 2017 report.

The study polled 248 IT organizations on their experience with 12 leading technologies and ranked them based on their adoption rates and investment rates. This year, software as a service (SaaS) was one of the most mature technologies in the study, combining adoption rates and investment, but business and data analytics is the fastest growing, according to Figure 1 from the full study, Technology Trends 2017.  

“Big data cooled off a bit for a year or two as people revaluated how to do it affordably,” said David Wagner, vice president for research at Computer Economics, an IT research firm based in Irvine, Calif. “Trendy names like ‘small data’ and ‘right-sized data’ became the rage. But advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, and also the growing Internet of things make it impossible to ignore data.”

TechTrends fig 1 - Business and Data Analytics Tops Tech Trends List

Mobile applications and the previously mentioned software as a service also received high scores for investment. Both feature prominently in the core functions of modern organizations.

Our IT maturity analysis compares the technologies along two parameters: the current investment rate and the current adoption rate. This provides an assessment of how widely each technology is deployed, along with an assessment of how many organizations are currently investing in the technology. Taken together, these factors provide insight into how mature a technology is relative to other technologies in our study.

The chart is divided into nine sectors, representing low, moderate, and high current investment rates, and low, moderate, and high current adoption rates. Each of the initiatives falls into one of the nine sectors as follows:

  • High Investment/High Adoption: Only one technology falls into the high-investment, high-adoption sector this year. Software as a Service (SaaS) (1) is now widely adopted, and it is continuing to attract new investment. Cost certainty, ease of deployment, and better security are some of the reasons SaaS is in this quadrant for the second year in a row.
  • Moderate Investment/High Adoption: Four technologies fall into this sector, and all four were in this sector last year as well. While these technologies are widely adopted, they are not being invested in at the same rate as the previous technology. For the most part this is because the technologies in thi sector represent mature, core technologies that most businesses already have in place. Most new investment will either be in replacing legacy systems or smaller companies investing in their first solution in this category. Social business and collaboration solutions (3) appear to have matured as the trend to social networking has spread from the consumer world to business. ERP (5) has become a foundational system and a transactional backbone for most organizations. CRM (6) is a widely-adopted technology, but this year appears to be attracting only moderate new investment. Human capital management (7) continues its steady growth that began last year. Every organization requires a system for managing its workforce, and this technology has gained a firmer footing due to the inroads made by SaaS vendors and new solutions for workforce management.
  • High Investment/Moderate Adoption: When the investment rate outpaces the adoption rate, a technology is growing quickly. There are two technologies in this sector. Business and data analytics (2) is back in a period of high investment after a brief cooling off. The importance of big data and analytics has been known for some time, but predictive analytics may have triggered a new wave of investment. Mobile applications (4) are in the high investment sector for the second straight year. They are on a trajectory to reach a high adoption level but are not there yet.
  • High Adoption/Low Investment: When a technology reaches a stage of high adoption, but low investment, it is likely that either that technology is waning or it is going through a period of low innovation. The only technology in this sector is mobile devices/wearables (8). In the case of mobile devices, they are too new to already be waning. However, the development curve of phones and tablets has slowed down, and applications for these devices, rather than the devices themselves, are where the innovation is. However, a new generation of wearables may soon create a new round of investment in this area with virtual reality and augmented reality promising to change the way work is done.  
  • Moderate Adoption/Low Investment: Software-defined networking (10) is the only technology in this sector. This relatively new technology requires some specialized skills and that is likely slowing the investment rate. Security benefits, the ease of network management, and the use of relatively open systems, speak to a positive long-term growth.
  • Moderate Investment/Low Adoption: This sector often indicates a technology that is about to take off. Infrastructure as a service (Iaas) (9) is not exactly a new technology. In fact, the market for public cloud infrastructure services is consolidating around three major providers (Amazon, Microsoft, and Google), with a long tail of secondary providers. However, the trust factor with IaaS, which to date has constrained more aggressive investment, seems to be eroding, and investment is getting stronger. We believe this is the beginning of major growth for IaaS.
  • Low Investment/Low Adoption: Not all technologies are destined for widespread adoption. Desktop virtualization (11) has been emerging for a while without leaving this sector, indicating it is facing obstacles to wider adoption. Supply chain management systems (12) are vital in some industries, but the category appears to lack broad appeal outside the manufacturing, distribution, and retail organizations.

The full study is designed to give business leaders insight into the staying power of 12 technology initiatives that are currently top of mind for many companies. It provides a glimpse into how quickly an emerging technology is being adopted, how deeply more-established technologies are penetrating the market, and how positive the customer experience is with each technology.

The study also delves into the specific types of solutions under consideration. By understanding the adoption trends, investment activity, and customer experience, business leaders are in a better position to assess the potential risks and rewards of investing in each of these technology initiatives. They also can gain insight into just how aggressively competitors and peers are investing in these initiatives. Sample pages are available for free download.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our study, Technology Trends 2017. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).