Ten Enterprise Apps That Dont Yet Exist—but Will Be a Big Deal in 5 Years

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Ten Enterprise Apps That Dont Yet Exist—but Will Be a Big Deal in 5 Years

by Eric Lundquist

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Social Netalyzer

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are just starting to get traction in the enterprise. But soon they will be integral to the way companies communicate internally and with the outside world. The problem is those applications are proprietary unto themselves and are under the control of the employees rather than the company. The social netalyzer will allow companies to see how they are being evaluated, discussed and measured in social networks.

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Forum Former

You have one group of users at Facebook, another group of bloggers and a hash tag on Twitter marking your new product. How do you build a company-sponsored forum where disgruntled customers can get their problems resolved and ardent customers can influence your company's new product directions? You'll want to make full use of video, online seminars and distance learning to build forums where your company's next, new strategies are developed.

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Energy Dashboard

This idea has been around for a while. Digital instrumentation will allow you to not only measure and manage energy usage but be a player in a carbon trade market where you can measure your "greenness" against your competitors.

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Real-time Reality

What is the current state of your financials, employees, IT systems and inventory? This is the company business intelligence dashboard on steroids.

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Compliance Thermometer

What is the current state of customer privacy records? Have you met all financial reporting requirements? What about employee safety and environmental reports? Compliance requirements have become a major corporate time-drain, and systems to measure those requirements will become part of the enterprise application suite.

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Real Risk Analyzer

Risk analysis got a bad name in the current economic meltdown. While the quants were confidently predicting they could measure and manage financial risk, the financial time bombs were ticking. The ability to fully measure the risks in a company's financial portfolio will be a major activity for banks, insurance companies and traders.

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Needs and People Mashup

Companies need to be able to match up their employee capabilities with project requirements. However, too often the projects are not well-defined and employee capabilities cannot be captured in standard human resource systems. This becomes even more complicated when employees are dispersed and the work force consists of full-time, part-time and contract employees. The ability to quickly match employees with new market opportunities may spell success or failure for enterprises in the next five years.

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Where Everything Is Dashboard

Supply chain and inventory management is still one of the trickiest enterprise problems. The advent of RFID-tagged components and products should help resolve this, but a continued worldwide sourcing environment will still stymie supply-chain efforts. Not only will companies have to know where their products came from, but they will have to know what went into those subcomponents to avoid potential liabilities. Tracking everything that goes into a product will be high on the list of new enterprise applications.

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Supply/Price Maximizer

Product and service pricing will become a real-time enterprise. In the world of consumer products, the ability to get a couple more cents per product without causing customer falloff can spell success or failure. Product pricing is difficult. Service pricing is often just a best guess at what the customer will bear. Tighter margins, greater global competition and consumers still unwilling to unlimber their wallets following the economic meltdown will mean pricing systems tuned to the second.

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Customer Handholder

Customer (and potential customer) education will become the key to developing sales leads that turn into sales. New products and services will continue to evolve faster than schools, informal groups or social networks can explain how someone can evaluate one product from another. Think about mobile phones where customers are going to be asked to decide between iPhones, Android phones and Windows Mobile devices. Vendors are going to have to find ways to train customers to evaluate their products, use the products to the fullest and fix glitches without getting stuck in frustrating help queues.