The year 2012 saw a number of considerable advancements in the way that businesses purchase, access, and utilize software.
The growth of the cloud and Software as a Service has made businesses more flexible, while the increase in mobile shopping has businesses scrambling to optimize their websites for mobile access.
Here are the top five business software advances that took place in 2012.
The Emergence of the Cloud
2012 was the year that cloud-based computing and applications took off. According to the a tracking poll by CDW, 84% of businesses in the US use at least one cloud application; the number of businesses that will adopt the cloud, and the number of cloud applications they use, are expected to grow considerably. Programs that operate in the cloud range from email to file storage, video conferencing to office productivity suites.
Mobile devices -- smartphones, tablets, etc -- have now surpassed desktop and laptop PCs for a variety of uses. From 2011 to 2012, website traffic from smartphones increased 103% - making the development of mobile-friendly websites and apps top priority for many business' IT departments.
- Sales from mobile devices are predicted to reach $10 billion by the end of 2013, according to a report by Reportlinker.
Software as a Service
Hand in hand with cloud computing has been Software as a Service (SaaS). Rather than purchasing expensive on-premise software up-front, you can now pay a monthly fee to utilize software hosted on the cloud by an independent service provider.
The software is available anywhere you have an internet connection; the Gartner Group estimates that SaaS revenue will total $9.1 billion by the end of 2012.
- CRM software has been the largest market for business SaaS, which reached $3.8 billion in revenue in 2011 alone.
Related: Learn more about CRM Software for your business.
Thanks to the increased power of computers and mobile devices, and the greater storage capacity of cloud storage programs, big data has gone mainstream. Businesses have far more data available to them than ever before, and can analyze that data far more quickly and efficiently.
- The popularity of Google Analytics and other analytics software has increased exponentially. Whole new businesses and consulting firms have sprung up to help IT administrators and business professionals to understand their internet traffic and SEO.
- Not convinced that data is in? Look at the upsurge in infographics that has occurred over the past year. By parsing data into easily readable and understood graphics, infographics make big data comprehensible, and as such have enjoyed considerable popularity.
The consumerization of business software means that the line between business and personal software has blurred this year, as evidenced by the growing trend of Bring Your Own Device to work. The popularity of cloud-based platforms and Software as a Service means that businesses don't need to buy their own computers and devices on which to download proprietary software.
Employees can use their own tablets, smartphones and laptops to access the programs they need to do their work -- no downloads or installations required.
- This trend is especially prevalent in sectors like marketing, where engagement with social media platforms takes up a significant part of each marketer's workday.
The most important concept in 2012's software advancements was mobility -- the ability to access the cloud from anywhere, use integral business programs on any device, and adapt to growing consumer usage of mobile devices. There is no doubt that 2013 will find new ways to improve upon these already new technologies.
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