This is the time of the year where everyone outlines their top 2018 technology trends. At Propel, we're just as guilty, and we've already written about our predictions for robotics and life sciences in 2018. If you read the latest from Gartner, Forrester, Accenture or almost any other thought leader, next year is all about Artificial Intelligence, blockchain and bitcoin, IoT, cybersecurity, Augmented Reality and autonomous vehicles. At least a few, if not all, of these 2018 technology trends will definitely impact your company. But if all your company is focusing on is these technology trends, you may be in danger of missing some other key trends that could potentially disrupt your business.

Here are 5 major 2018 technology trends that don't have the hype of AI, AR or blockchain, but that you can't afford to ignore, especially if you're involved in product development and launch:

  1. Services: Forrester predicts that by the end of 2018, about 40% of the revenues of global industrial firms like GE, John Deere or BMW won't come from their traditional hardware products like cars and tractors, but rather from value-added services or software-related initiatives. If you're using PLM or ERP to manage products,  how does that shift in revenue impact how you design, launch and sell these new types of "products?" How do Services and Software teams work with Engineering to launch products? And how does this impact your sales channels?
  2. Customer collaboration: IDC writes that by 2019, 50% of manufacturers will be collaborating directly with customers and consumers regarding new and improved product designs through cloud-based crowdsourcing, virtual reality, and product virtualization. The expectation is that companies will realize a 25% improvement in product success because of this customer collaboration. PLM solutions like Propel that allow for direct, easy and secure customer collaboration, should help companies tremendously in 2018.
  3. Public clouds: Propel's own research surveys have shown that cloud adoption is growing more prevalent as companies migrate away from on-premise systems or as on-premise software becomes end-of-life. Forrester agrees as well. They predict that in 2018, 50% of global enterprises will rely on at least one public cloud platform to drive digital transformation and delight customers. For Propel, we like the Salesforce platform because it's super flexible, easy and scalable.
  4. Search: Search and finding information quickly have always been key features for any collaborative business tool like PLM, Slack or Atlassian. While parametric search, full-text search and Google-like search have been dominant over the last several years, thanks to Amazon Echo and Google Home, alternative ways to find information should become more prevalent. I'm curious to see how the future of computing will be where a room full of engineers are talking to their computers, but Gartner predicts that by 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual- and voice-search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30%.
  5. Bots: In terms of helping people become more productive, bots in business will start being interesting in 2018. Gartner predicts that by 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will be spending more per annum on bots and chatbot creations than traditional mobile app developments. Gartner is predicting that by 2020, 55% of all large enterprises will have deployed at least one bot or chatbot.


I'm sure many of us have thought about how AI and AR could impact our business, but what about these five 2018 technology trends that haven't received all the hype?

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Miguel Tam

Miguel Tam

Dec 14, 2017