Managing and measuring productivity is important to companies of all sizes. By this time next year, businesses will be spending about $58 billion on business and productivity apps for their smartphones, mobile devices, and even their desktop workstations. This is a huge market, driven by many technological advancements and cultural shifts. Public cloud adoption, Software-as-a-Service apps, diversification of IT, network and user dispersion, the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) culture, the Consumerization of IT (CoIT), and many more factors converged to create a perfect storm around productivity in the workplace.
In studying the productivity industry and the needs of the SMB workplace, we have identified a handful of trends that we expect to see over the next 12-18 months.
As eSignatures become more popular across the globe, developers will find that eSignature integration is a competitive necessity. eSignature capability in applications will become the norm, and a growing number of applications will integrate with eSignature providers to provide a deeply integrated experience. We call this ubiquity “eSignature Everywhere,” and we expect to see this take off in the next year.
SignNow is a leader in eSignature integration. With our comprehensive and easy to use REST API and flexible terms, we are the solution of choice for platform and application integrations. We are currently integrated into Salesforce, Google Apps, Office 365, and many more. SignNow has been the top ranked eSignature app in the Apple App store for 3 years. Learn more about SignNow integration and OEM options here.
App management v infrastructure management
2016 will see a transition in tech departments, where the bulk of IT management efforts shift from infrastructure management to application management. SaaS applications like Office 365 and Salesforce will become an increasing part of the job for many System Administrators. At the same time, infrastructure management will be streamlined and become more efficient, requiring less time from IT. Many organizations will source these tasks out to a Managed Service Provider, who may specialize in providing Infrastructure-as-a-Service.
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) will become increasingly important to productivity across the company. The System Administrator will be able to focus on support tasks that are closer to the end-users, which will help other departments and cross-functional teams work more efficiently. The MSP can take on the infrastructure support tasks that would be a disruption to those services. This division of labor plays to the strengths of the internal IT department and the Managed Service Provider, and allows both to work more efficiently.
The Barracuda Partner Program has opportunities for channel partners at all levels, including new opportunities in the MSP space. We also expanded our MSP reach through our recent acquisition of Intronis, a US based provider of data protection services. Roughly 2,000 Managed Service Providers are using Intronis to consolidate their online backup storage services, online backup software, and disaster recovery services.
Corporate email use declines
Corporate email has grown consistently over the last several years, and accounts for about 25% of worldwide inboxes (pdf). As part of this growth, employees began checking their email more often, and have begun to use email as files storage or project management. This created distractions and reduced workplace efficiencies.
We expect to see a significant decline in the use of corporate email, as more teams turn to applications to solve these problems. Slack, Yammer, Asana, HipChat, cloud storage, and eSignature applications can provide the communication and collaboration features required by modern workplaces. Corporate email isn't going away, but some companies have already banned internal email. Other teams have created 'email-free zones' or have been turning to purpose-built applications to meet their needs.
eSignatures are an increasingly popular way to close productivity gaps. Barracuda offers SignNow, an eSignature solution that cuts document turnaround time by as much as 90%. For more information, visit the SignNow corporate site here.
Forms minimized in schools
Educational institutions run on administration and paperwork. Transcript requests, permission requests, medical waivers, enrollment applications, and more. While technology was changing the classroom, it was also changing the administrative offices and the expectations of parents and students.
In the coming year, we expect a significant shift from paper forms to digital workflows and automated responses. Web accessible forms and mobile access will increase, and eSignatures will replace wet ink signatures for most documents.
This trend will enable productivity gains on both sides of the equation. Schools will have less paper to handle, smaller student folders, and lower costs on printing supplies and equipment. Parents and students will have easier and faster access to what they need from the school. These digital transactions and communications will reduce the time and effort involved in school administration.
Paper minimized in contracts
Companies of all sizes are discovering the benefits of eSignatures and digital contracts. Lower costs, greater convenience, and shorter transaction times, are all factors in the widespread adoption of eSignatures. Additionally, eSignature applications usually have tracking and accountability features and disaster recovery capabilities. A reduction in paper also has a positive impact on environmental concerns.
Because so many organizations have been adopting eSignature capability for their contracts, we expect to see a 30% reduction in paper contracts over the next year. Paper-based workflows simply cannot keep up with the speed, security, and savings, of eSignature workflows.
Barracuda products are designed to improve user and administrator productivity. Our goal is to create solutions that simplify IT and make it easier to do business. If you would like more information on Barracuda solutions, please visit our corporate site here.
If you'd like to chat with our productivity team, you can connect with them on LinkedIn here:
- Ken Grohe – SVP and General Manager, Emerging Products
- Chris Hawkins – General Manager, eSigning
- Thor Clark – Senior Director, Engineering and Integrations