Five business process and application trends for 2008

Forrester Research details the five most significant trends in the business process and applications space for 2008.

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It's hard for most IT workers to look ahead. The day-to-day requirements of keeping enterprise systems up and running efficiently and ensuring a happy user base is one huge challenge.

Yet, as Forrester Research analyst Sharyn Leaver notes in a recent report, many of these same people point to "a lack of insight into future trends as an inhibitor to their effectiveness and development."

In her "Five Trends That Will Shape The Business Process" report, Leaver and her team detail the five most significant trends in the business process and applications space for 2008. They include: Dynamic Business Applications; Web 2.0 and tech populism; software-as-a-service (SaaS); business process centers of excellence (COEs); and the evolving business analyst role.

Here, with Leaver's explanations, are why these will be so important:

Dynamic business applications

"Globalisation, rapid market change, a changing workforce and regulations have turned the desire for more agile and usable applications into a business imperative," Leaver writes. "As a result, process and applications professionals are on the hook to deliver more of these applications," which Forrester calls Dynamic Business Applications. She says that Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and IBM are helping by delivering more flexible cross-functional applications, "but legacy architectures, entrenched business models, maintenance and support requirements, and licensing constructs will limit how far these vendors go."

As such, Leaver contends that in 2008 more and more business process and applications staffers will consider targeted apps from smaller application vendors as well as business process management (BPM) suites to complement their large application investments and offer flexibility in areas where competitive differentiation matters most-such as in customer service or product management.

Web 2.0 and tech populism

It's not surprising to hear that consumer technology used by people at home and outside the office will continue to find its way into the workplace. Five years from now, however, Leaver envisions that employers will have difficulty dictating to many employees what technologies they can, and will, use on the job.

"Employees are already bringing in their own mobile devices, and intercompany collaboration is already taking hold through third-party services like Facebook, LinkedIn, Second Life and Wikipedia," Leaver writes.

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