think outside the box written on chalkboard
PHOTO: Karolina Grabowska

Businesses must find their “dexterity and vision” to survive in the era of technology disruption, researchers at Deloitte Consulting said in a report released this week.

Deloitte Consulting published its eighth annual enterprise technology trends report, "Tech Trends 2017: The Kinetic Enterprise." Researchers urged organizations to become kinetic — in motion and fluid, with leaders who recognize the need to deliver "deliberate innovation response to these disruptive forces," according to Bill Briggs, chief technology officer and managing director of Deloitte Consulting.

"It's not about chasing every shiny new object," Briggs added. "It's about translating the raw potential of emerging technology into a focused set of priorities with measurable, tangible business impact."

The researchers said enterprise technology this year is shaped by trends including:

  • Dark analytics: Computer vision and pattern recognition allows companies to tap unstructured data in images, audio, video and other information
  • Everything-as-a-Service: Next-generation enterprise resource planning and "replatforming" custom back-office applications will continue as businesses work to become more open and agile as they modernize legacy core systems
  • Machine intelligence: Artificial intelligence and machine learning — leveraged through cognitive and predictive analytics, bots and robotics process automation
    — will augment and automate complex tasks. Companies 

Businesses should also be aware of nanotechnology, advanced energy storage, synthetic biology and quantum computing technology advancements, Deloitte researchers said.

Speaking to augmented and virtual reality trends, the researchers reported a rise in sensors, gestures, voice, context and digital content that “help humans interact more naturally with the increasingly intelligent world around us.”

“Though it may be several years before mixed reality’s ultimate end game materializes,” authors added, “the time to begin exploring this dynamic new world — and the digital assets it comprises — is now.”

In other technology news...

Corp America Names Software, Tech Winners

Corp America Magazine has named its 2016 Technology & Software Awards winners. Here are a few:

Best Content Management Platform: Litera Anywhere by Litera, is a McLeansville, N.C.-based content and document management provider. It is led by President Paul Domnick, who’s been in the role since May 2014.

Best for Digital and Web-Based Marketing: A-Train Marketing Communications, which has offices in Denver and Fort Collins, Colo. A-Train works with organizations on branding, messaging, marketing strategy, graphic design and web and digital media.

Best App Development Company: Fusion Informatics Limited is an Ahmedabad, India-based company that’s served as an IT outsourcing and app development provider since 2000. CEO Ashesh Shah co-founded the company with Dhaval Shah. 

Best SMB IT Consultancy and Cloud Computing Experts of the Year: Boston-based iCorps Technologies is an Apple partner that provides IT support.

Best Content Management Product: Primero Systems, a San Diego-based software development company whose WCM platform — Webtreepro — is designed to address the complex needs of marketing a business across a network of websites.

Primero Systems CMS
Primero Systems CMS.

Retale Acquires Out of Milk

Chicago-based Retale, which offers mobile shopping experiences for retailers, acquired Out of Milk, a shopping list app. Available on Android and iOS, Out of Milk allows users to build and manage shopping lists by typing, scanning barcodes or through voice recognition. Out of Milk syncs shopping lists via mobile, desktop and email.

Out of Milk’s user base has built more than 25 million shopping lists since the service launched in 2011, according to company officials. It has a 4.6 overall rating in the Google Play Store across nearly 200,000 reviews. Founded in 2013, Retale enables 25 million active users worldwide to get shopping savings through ads, coupons and store information. 

Tamr Awarded Patent 

Cambridge, Mass-based Tamr has been issued a patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office covering the principles underlying its enterprise-scale data unification platform. 

The patent, "Method and System for Large Scale Data Curation," includes an approach for integrating a large number of data sources using machine learning techniques. 

“When my co-inventors and I began work at MIT CSAIL on what is now Tamr, we believed that traditional approaches to data integration had outlived their usefulness,” said Mike Stonebraker, co-founder and CTO of Tamr, whose clients include HP, Cisco and Thomson Reuters. “Our goal was to build an end-to-end system for enterprise-scale data curation that leveraged modern machine learning techniques to radically reduce the time and cost of producing clean, unified data sets.”

Tamr’s data unification system includes:

  • Unified methodology for linking attributes and database records
  • Ways to generate questions for experts across all stages of the data curation lifecycle
  • Scalability through automation
  • Data cleaning
  • Non-programmer orientation
  • Incremental data integration and data curation

Velocify Launches Sales 'Fitness Tracker'

Los Angeles-based sales acceleration provider Velocify launched a business intelligence solution it calls a “digital fitness tracker for sales organizations.” Velocify released ReportHub, which is designed to provide real-time intelligence through data visualizations.

ReportHub runs on top of the Velocify platform and provides sales activity data. It will help sales teams evaluate contact strategy, allocate sales team resources and improve lead sourcing efforts, company officials promised.

The platform sees sales analytics as three main categories: lead source performance, contact day/time of call performance and sales rep/user performance. 

Other capabilities include:

  • Insights into high and low return on call activity by time-of-day and day-of-week
  • Sales reps performance activities below
  • Near real-time assessments of sales stages.

CompTIA: Orgs Prioritize Efficiency                                   

Organizations investing in digital technologies want to enhance efficiency, innovate and maintain key customer accounts, a new study by CompTIA found.

CompTIA released the study, “Building Digital Organizations,” in which they interviewed 350 US business leaders. The top strategic goals for these organizations include:

  • Enhancing efficiency: 48 percent
  • Innovation: 46 percent
  • Renewing/maintaining key customer accounts: 42 percent
  • Identifying new customer segments: 38 percent
  • Hiring skilled workers: 38 percent
  • Launching new products/services: 36 percent

The downside?

Most companies say they're not fully prepared to enter this new digital era. Most business function employees (24 percent extremely confident in 2016) or executives (17 percent extremely confident in 2016) just don't have the confidence.

“The situation is especially critical for small businesses, who tend to put weight on more traditional goals and also feel the least confident in their technical acumen,” report researchers wrote. “While large organizations build specialized teams, resource-constrained small firms must explore different models."

For IT professionals, infrastructure is still the primary focus: 35 percent said it’s a top priority. Another 26 percent said innovation was their top priority, followed by integration (20 percent) and intelligence (19 percent).

Researchers found the low ranking of integration as surprising.                  

“Integration typically represents the lion’s share of an IT project, as making everything work together is a much larger task than simply procuring individual pieces,” researchers wrote. “Integration also seems a little low since it is one of the leading drawbacks to rogue IT. Thirty-eight percent of companies have experienced difficulty integrating technology that has been chosen by a business unit, making that one of the top two integration challenges.”

HubSpot Partners with Shutterstock

Cambridge, Mass.-based HubSpot has partnered with Shutterstock to help its customers access stock photos for marketing campaigns.

HubSpot officials said marketers will be better able to access the images for landing pages, websites, blogs and social channels.

“It's important for marketers to quickly and easily find images that support their campaigns,” Jon Oringer, Shutterstock’s founder and CEO, said. “It's not enough to include just any image in your marketing material.”

HubSpot customers can search Shutterstock’s curated collection from within the HubSpot platform.

Brian Halligan, CEO and co-founder of HubSpot, said the partnership gives marketers access to “high-quality visual content.”

New Hires

Beezy Hires Microsoft Exec

Joey Young
Joey Young

Enterprise collaboration provider Beezy, a solution for Office 365 and SharePoint deployments, appointed Joey Young to lead business development for the US. He held a Microsoft post for three years and was at Dell for nearly 14 years before that in enterprise and service sales. 

Beezy plans to tap Young’s Microsoft connections. It wants to “deepen and broaden the company's relationships with Microsoft and build out the partner channel,” it said in a release. Beezy is a Microsoft Gold Collaboration and Content partner.

“With Joey focused on building strong, long-term relationships with Microsoft and our channel partners, we expect our growth to accelerate even faster,” Ritse Klink, COO of Beezy, said.  

Beezy, based in San Francisco, released of a tool for idea management last July. It extended the ability of teams to capture and take action on ideas surfaced through corporate intelligence apps across Office 365 and SharePoint environments

The new Ideas Campaign release added idea management across all levels of the enterprise and enables management to uncover dialog and expertise at all levels of an organization.

Norris Joins mParticle from Salesforce

Tim Norris
Tim Norris

New York City-based API provider mParticle hired Tim Norris as general manager of its new EMEA headquarters in London.

The new office supports mParticle’s existing European customer base, which includes such international brands as Ticketmaster, Spotify and King. The move comes at a time when the European Union is preparing to enact new data protections.

Norris joins mParticle after stints with Krux Digital and Salesforce, which acquired the former company last year. He focused in data management, marketing and advertising technologies.