The technological innovations that are expected to come to fruition in 2018 are generally a continuation or expansion of products and services that planted their seeds in the tech community in 2017 and earlier. One or two unexpected game changers may be waiting in the wings, but most analysts are of a common mind regarding the following five predictions for the tech industry in 2018.

#1 – Cloud Computing Will Gain Greater Acceptance:

Corporations are seeing the advantages of transitioning away from dedicated on-premises servers and expensive software licenses. Instead, businesses are moving instead toward cloud-based “software as a service” (SaaS) systems.

These systems give companies greater flexibility to scale, without large capital outlays. Cloud technologies also provide a robust network environment for mobile workforces. Microsoft, Amazon, and Google will continue to be the dominant service providers in the cloud platform market. Other tech companies, including IBM, Adobe Systems, and Oracle are also expanding their cloud-based offerings.

Better data security and protection against cyberattacks will be an added benefit of cloud computing systems for companies that are concerned with data and information privacy.

#2 – Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things Technologies Will Become Commonplace:

Software developers are using AI to train systems to respond in real-time to changes in computing environments without significant input from IT staffers. AI systems spot trends and deviations more quickly, allowing managers to react more efficiently and effectively to rapid changes in business environments.

As IoT connectivity is added to more devices, the greater amount of data that those devices feed into AI systems will improve their accuracy and lead to greater growth in business productivity. Are you ready for the AI and IoT tech revolutions in 2018?

#3 – ERP Products Will Transform the Efficiency of Manufacturing Systems:

Enterprise resource planning systems, from companies like Kenandy, will make greater inroads into manufacturing. This is particularly true as ERP moves into a cloud computing environment that is better adaptable to all sizes of businesses. ERP products will improve automation in manufacturing facilities and will help manufacturing managers to identify the most productive aspects of manufacturing lines and to outsource other aspects to improve efficiency.

ERP systems will also provide a more effective launching pad for globalization, as manufacturers will have better access to all data that they can then use to coordinate the efforts of all facilities under the manufacturer’s umbrella.

#4 – Tech Talent Development and Retention Will Be a Major Concern for All Corporations:

With the global recession waning in 2017 and 2018, employees will have fewer incentives to stay in positions that do not satisfy their work habits and lifestyles. Companies will need to put more effort into keeping valuable employees that have the tech skills needed to manage and support their operations.

As younger workers grow more accustomed to contract work and “gigs” – also known as temporary employment – companies will expend more resources to develop talent outside of their immediate organizations with the intent of calling that talent in on an as-needed basis.

#5 – Technology Will Advance the Field of Influencer Marketing:

The information and data from ERP systems and AI technology will make influencer marketing more of a reality in 2018. Influencer marketing relies on “micro-influencers” to tout the benefits of a company’s products and services to a dedicated base of individuals who follow those micro-influencers on social media platforms.

Without good data, companies have no mechanisms to discover who those influencers are, how they connect with their followers, and how they can or should be paid for their services. The technology that companies will have at their fingertips in 2018 will give them better access to this new realm of marketing. They will also develop stronger and more durable connections with their customer base through feedback and product reviews that will be more readily available with data-driven technology.

What are your tech predictions for the new year? Do you agree with ours?