Cloud-based software solutions, biometric terminals and mobile applications are among the key trends in the years to come for managing the workforce in business settings, according to the latest market study by IHS.
These trends increasingly point to a pattern where automated or remote systems are taking over individual and locally situated responses. These market dynamics generate significant growth opportunities for those companies that take advantage and innovate -- they will also displace the ones that fail to act.
The growth prospects are especially positive for cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS). Revenue for the global SaaS market will rise to $983.9 million in 2018, that's up from $539.0 million in 2013.
"The adoption of SaaS will be driven by the strategic advantages offered to using cloud-based software," said Samuel Grinter, analyst at IHS. "The cloud enables customers to centralize management of workforce solutions over several sites, to outsource the information technology infrastructure required to host the software, and to pay for the solution as an operational expense rather than as a capital investment."
But the shift in technology from SaaS could be potentially disruptive. As customers become long-term subscribers instead of just occasional purchasers, variables like customer care, software features and competitive pricing will become increasingly important for vendors seeking to limit customer churn.
As a result, the prevailing landscape could alter dramatically, and market share among the current players could also enlarge or shrink in unexpected ways. Nonetheless, the increasing adoption of SaaS also means the market for such solutions will ultimately stabilize.
Upside for Biometric Terminals and Mobile Apps
Another key trend that will shape the workforce is the growing use of biometric terminals, replacing card- or PIN-based terminals. Last year, biometric hardware terminals represented over one-third of all hardware terminals sold globally in terms of revenue, with most of the sales taking the form of fingerprint terminals.
Driving the adoption of biometric terminals are the falling prices of the terminals, a need for a higher level of authenticating credentials and the wider adoption of biometrics.
Confidence in biometric technology is growing as consumers see how it is being implemented in new smartphones, reducing fears related to privacy concerns.
Mobile self-service apps also represent a new way of workforce management. A workforce mobile application in a smartphone, for instance, could give employees direct access to their human-resources data, or let them clock in or out remotely.
While the potential for abuse could increase with such technologies, companies could also save money by not needing to purchase as many hardware terminals for employee workforce management.