What Are The
Business Software Trends 2019?

Business Software 2019: Watch out for These Trends

No software without hardware

Cavernous open-plan offices jam-packed with obsolete, stationary computers have largely disappeared. Instead, companies start their fight for the best employees by offering attractive, up-to-date workplaces. And they obviously need modern hardware.

But modern hardware is no longer a question of adding RAM, more memory or high-resolution screens. Modern hardware is flexible – to reflect the way in which our working days have developed. Desktop PCs are fairly useless in a home office, on training courses or at meetings. Companies are therefore switching to the provision of more versatile smartphones and tablets. Hip startups in particular are likely to adopt a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy.

It’s a step in the right direction, but by no means sufficient. After all, the younger generation of employees – the millennials – are unlikely to swoon with rapture at the thought of high-quality hardware, because they tend to take it for granted.

Is performance obsolete?

The following checklist reflects how companies used to select the best software solutions:

  • Technology: Process coverage, system architecture, web compatibility
  • Future-proof: Adaptability and scalability to suit future requirements
  • Cost-benefit ratio: Investment, ancillary costs

Don’t get me wrong: These factors are not irrelevant in 2019. But like smooth and universally operable hardware, they are now considered self-evident. If even fridges automatically place orders when the stocks of food are running low, it is obvious that a software solution should be up-scalable for larger projects as well.

Usability wins

If performance is not the issue when deciding which software to buy – what is it then?

The answer: Usability. The user interface. The undisputed business software trend for 2019. Interaction with the program is getting faster, simpler and almost an aesthetic experience. Applications are being given a minimalistic/artistic facelift.

Anyone familiar with old enterprise software will find the concept hilarious. In the past, nice-looking software programs were one thing and one thing only – useless. The underlying idea was that if a software solution is really meant to resolve an issue, it will be unable to manage without complex systems. And you could tell just by looking at them: A toolbar with 20 options, a screen for every application, and weeks of training were absolute requirements to even begin operating the darn things.

Are millennials simply too lazy to invest the time needed to understand complex systems?

What makes millennials tick?

The millennial generation, aka Generation Y, now accounts for over a third of employees, and this number will have risen to two thirds by 2025.

It is high time that software was adapted to suit their needs.

Social media set the tone

Anyone who grew up with Facebook, Instagram & co. will have a clear idea of what software needs to look like. Easy-to-use and simple-to-understand.

So when millennials are confronted with traditional software used in everyday working life, they tend to experience a lot of frustration. The millennials simply want to enjoy the same interaction with apps as they do in their personal lives. They have no time for unwieldy technology.

The new world of work

Money alone cannot make us happy. Millennials have grasped this concept. Financial bonuses will not be enough to entice them into accepting an otherwise unpleasant job. Their bucket lists include flexible tasks, work-life balance and an enjoyable atmosphere on-the-job. Put succinctly: They want to look forward to going to work.

Software also contributes to the atmosphere at work. After all, nobody enjoys laboring away on a project if the applications they need promise an arduous user experience. This is particularly true if one considers that many millennials take a roundabout approach to their careers. So if they are asked to complete weeks of retraining to learn how to operate obsolete software each time they switch jobs, they are likely to look for employment elsewhere.

variety of studies confirm these findings:

  • 47% of people under 35 require a digital enterprise culture in order to work productively (Microsoft study).
  • 77% of millennials state that suboptimal applications put a dent in their performance (study by Nimble Storage in cooperation with Oxford Economics).
  • The proportion of millennials in managerial positions is rising. This also means that they influence the procurement of technologies*

* Study by IBM: "To buy or not to buy? How Millennials are reshaping B2B-Marketing"

Addictive Software

Please do not misunderstand me. The purpose of this blog post is not to castigate allegedly lazy habits among millennials who ruined social media. Quite the contrary: I also am far more likely to enjoy my work if the user interface is attractive.

That’s just the way we people are.

Dopamine – The happiness hormone

Dopamine is a stimulating neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Put simply: It is our happiness hormone. It makes us feel buoyant, driven, attentive and pleasure-seeking.

Dopamine is secreted in particular the minute we feel even the hint of a reward. For instance a like, a new follower or a retweet. Prompted by this incentive, people will post more on social media in order to receive fresh rewards. An endless cycle.

In contrast, insufficient dopamine will lead to a dip in motivation and performance.

Oxytocin – The cuddle hormone

The hormone oxytocin stimulates trust and empathy. That’s why it is also known as the ‘love hormone’. It is active, for instance, during interaction between a mother and her child, but also in all other kinds of social interaction, even on the Internet.

People do not feel connected with their environments if oxytocin levels are deficient. It follows, therefore, that employees will not identify with their companies or feel trust toward their colleagues.

So how is that related to a software solution?

Not at all. At first glance, at least. But if you take a closer look, hormones significantly influence how we behave.

Software that is designed to appeal to millennials should lead to the secretion of dopamine and oxytocin – like with social media. What might it look like then?

  • Learning software used in seminars could ask participants to demonstrate their knowledge in the form of a quiz. Rewards are given for correct answers – and the dopamine hit.
  • Internal communication via a platform should stimulate the secretion of oxytocin. In other words: It must enable the sharing of personal messages.

Modern business software can make millennials feel happy in an indirect way, also. Simple interfaces are fun to use. And as a side effect they are reminiscent of easily operable social media, which passively prompts the subconscious mind to stimulate the secretion of dopamine and oxytocin.

Summary

The trend towards simple business software persists unabated in 2019 as well. For good reason. After all, millennials want usability more than anything else.

Employers should be aware of this fact. Not just software, all aspects of interaction with employees ought to be adapted to suit the needs of millennials. At the same time, it is important to ensure that older generations within the company are not left behind – a tricky task indeed.

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The business software trends of 2019 are clearly shaped by the needs of millennials. Usability and the benefits of social media are at the heart of upcoming developments. But how can software be injected with a more youthful look and feel?

  • Wednesday 27 February 2019

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Author

Thino Ullmann, Senior Technical Presales Executive

Thino Ullmann Go-To-Market Manager Central Europe

Microsoft products with a focus on Modern Workplace and Cloud Computing

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