Did you know that, with a little bit of automation magic, it is possible to get your coffee machine brewing from the moment you wake up? Processes such as this demonstrate the way that software is increasingly changing the way that everyday tasks, both personal and professional, are carried out.
When we think of how various technologies will develop in the future, we’re often looking way off on the horizon. Thinking of the days where we work in a fully integrated way with robotic co-workers, for example, is something that is still 30 or even 50 years in the future.
Yet for software development, we are facing a unique situation. With the current rate of advancement, a world where business software can complete entire tasks for us and inform strategic decisions may be as little as one decade away. Most of the technologies that would make this a reality, such as intelligent sentiment analysis of messages or the automatic completion of administrative processes, are already available and being implemented. As more devices begin to interact and connect, we are entering a world where the list of what we cannot achieve with software is shorter than the list of what we can.
Having a steaming cup of coffee waiting for you when you wake up is just a small step. In the future, we could see entire businesses completing administrative processes with the use of software, freeing employees to use their time more valuably or to accurately monitor performance. For example, managers could set a software trigger that registered when employees signed into a network and held this against an expected start time. After a set time period, this could cross-reference with an employee sickness record and, if there was no entry for that date, it could alert the relevant manager.
Feats of business automation will be consolidated by database software that would grow increasingly advanced in operation, providing companies with comprehensive business intelligence. Data will be accumulated from a number of interconnected sources and automated processes would be triggered in response.
These projections might sound far fetched, but they are already starting to happen. Retailers are already able to use software to guide customers through the sales funnel from start to finish, using a combination of reverse IP lookup and live chat automation to minimise fall-off.
In addition to this, more and more software developers are making the APIs of their projects available to others. This has driven a recent increase in software connectivity, allowing businesses to use an extended range of functionalities from one familiar dashboard or interface. Interest in open source and shared API from big brands such as Microsoft – with the announcement of its open source net core earlier in 2016 – has led to a surge of smaller developers with the same open mindset.
As a result, the current software marketplace has been opened up to developers working together to solve shortcomings and bring solutions together. It is through this coexistence and cooperation of software that we will see a significant change in the way company processes are carried out in the future.
Of course, employees will still have their place. For all the software development and technological advancement, there is simply no substitute for the human touch. Live chat software, for example, is simply a way of offering real time support to customers or visitors – and an employee will always be necessary to form a meaningful relationship between company and consumer. They may, however, find themselves taken off coffee duty.