Forbes

Forrester’s Top 15 Emerging Technologies To Watch, 2017 – 2021

By Louis Columbus

December 5, 2016
  • Salesforce’s Einstein is an example of how Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize CRM and customer-facing systems.
  • Augmented reality has immediate implications for streamlining the Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) and Quote-To-Cash (QTC) strategies of many companies.
  • 74% of B2B buyers research half or more of their work purchases online before buying according to a recent Forrester Study. 

Customers’ expectations of excellent experiences are accelerating driven by the real-time responsiveness of the latest social, mobile, analytics and cloud applications. This is especially the case for B2B buyers, who expect the same contextually intelligent, data-rich interactions across any channel they choose to purchase through, anytime.

74% of B2B buyers research half or more of their work purchases online before buying according to a recent Forrester Study. 30% make half or more of their work purchases online today, and 56% expect to make half or more of their work purchases online in 3 years. Forrester’s recently released top 15 emerging technologies to watch, 2017 – 2021 reflect the accelerating expectations of customers who rely on digital channels the majority of the time to evaluate, buy and get support for products and services. B2B buyers are collaborators in the creation and continual refining of these technologies as their buying and service requirements force the issues scalability, speed, and service quickly.

Defining 15 Technologies That Win And Keep Customers

Forrester’s methodology of defining the top 15 emerging technologies is based on an assessment of which have the greatest potential to win, serve and retain customers. Looking at which technologies can make the greatest contribution to business growth in the next five years, Forrester didn’t include blockchain or 3D printing, however. Instead, the focus is on technologies that support systems of engagement, systems of insight and supporting technologies that enable greater speed, scalability and real-time integration for diverse systems, apps, and platforms. The following graphic provides an overview of the 15 emerging technologies to watch:

top ten emerging technologies forrester

  • Forrester sees the Internet of Things (IoT) creating more valuable customer interactions and improving the customer experience. Making the most use of actuator, sensor, and network-captured data through the use of advanced analytics techniques including Hadoop and R, organizations will better be able to understand and predict customer buying cycles. The most immediate benefit for B2B buyers will be in the supply chain they rely on, as IoT data will help alleviate stock-outs and inventory allocation problems
  • Intelligent agents are already accelerating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning in CRM and customer-facing systems. Salesforce will demonstrate and heavily promote Salesforce Einstein at this year’s Dreamforce 2016 happening October 4 – 7th in San Francisco. It’s a great example of how AI has the potential to revolutionize CRM and customer-facing systems. Expect to see several announcements out of the Salesforce partner community regarding intelligent agents, AI and machine learning, further making this area one of the main themes of Dreamforce 2016.
  • Augmented reality has immediate implications for streamlining the Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) and Quote-To-Cash (QTC) strategies of many companies. One of the most valuable lessons learned from being on hundreds of sales calls where CPQ systems were discussed is the need manufacturers have to be able to visualize the complete, finished product they are designing. The greater the product complexity the slower the sales cycles go. With augmented reality and 3D visualization, being able to walk through a proposed oil refinery, around a complex engine, and through a proposed jet would be invaluable.
  • Cloud native application platforms will continue to enable rapid advances in enterprise accounting software. Creating more scalable, secure and agile general ledgers is going to be increasingly possible with the continued growth of cloud-native applications platforms. SelectHub’s latest update on Enterprise Accounting Software Recommendations  provides an overview of where this area of enterprise software is today and where it is going.