By @SimonCocking

It’s that time of year when we should all be trying to nail what to expect for tech trends in 2015. As we try to workout what on earth it might be, it’s always interesting to read other people’s take on it. See what you think, and whether you agree or not. Wearables get the natural mention, the big question is going to be about how to use it in a positive and productive way, rather than just turning workers into automatons.

Running your business from your phone, or at least your laptop is probably already upon us, though in Ireland there will probably still be a big value for those who get out and meet face to face as well. Tone, nuance and gesture, all those non verbal aspects of human to human interaction that still make a difference. Still it’s great to spend some time thinking about blue sky predictions too.

These predictions came in from Mark Stanley, @markstanley VP of Web Marketing and Marketing Operations, EMEA at Salesforce.

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Run your business from your phone: We are entering a new world of computing where everything is connected. Ofcom has reported that smartphone ownership has doubled in the last two years and both consumers and employees have become accustomed to instant communication and information using these devices.  Speed is the new currency of business and in 2015, companies have to be ready to sell, service, market and engage with customers anytime, anywhere and on any device. Research conducted by Salesforce this year showed that business managers already expect this functionality. In 2015, companies that are not equipped to run their businesses on their phone will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

Year of the start-up: 2014 saw high levels of growth among start-ups as the ‘sector’ becomes a major contributor both to the economy and to the jobs and skills market. We believe this growth will only increase next year. In November, Vince Cable announced £50m funding for start-ups with innovative science and technology ideas, which will further bolster a ‘sector’ that has several high-profile growth enhancement programmes like TechCity’s Future Fifty and Salesforce’s Innovation Challenge. What’s more, as more millennials choose these exciting start-ups over traditional blue-chip corporates as their employers of choice, we’ll see continued buzz and momentum around these customer-focused businesses.

The Rise of the Citizen Programmer: App development isn’t just for professional developers and consultants anymore: over the next year, huge numbers of “citizen coders” will have more opportunities than ever. Spurred on by easy-to-use development platforms such as Salesforce1 Lightning, in 2015 business people will be empowered to quickly create powerful enterprise apps without writing a line of code. By making app development easy, Salesforce will drive exciting business opportunities both for these “citizen programmers” and for the customers that benefit from these apps.

Analytics: Diving into business data has never been more critical to businesses to enable fast, accurate business decisions and drive holistic business knowledge. But knowledge has been siloed across multiple departments and the tools required specialized training, making insight elusive for most business professionals. That will change in 2015. The new Salesforce Analytics platform will make it easier than ever for business users to explore data, uncover new insights and take action instantly from any device. Companies will quickly deploy sales, service and marketing analytics, and build custom analytics apps that derive actionable insights from any data source—empowering everyone, at every level of an organization, to make smarter decisions anywhere, anytime.

Wearables:  In 2014, we saw the high-profile launches of the iWatch and Puls, Google Glass went to work in industries, such as manufacturing, for the first time. At the same time, new platforms for developers to create apps that enable end-users to reap the rewards of wearables emerged, making the devices viable business tools aimed at delivering enhanced customer service and increased productivity. The stage is now set for wearables to become one of the hottest business trends of 2015, improving employee productivity and fundamentally changing the way organisations work.

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Giving back to the community: More companies are making philantrhopy a part of their business model. Fifteen years ago, Salesforcedisrupted philantrhopy with the 1-1-1 model of integrated philantrhopy which leverages 1% of the company’s product, equity and time to improve communities around the world. Here in the UK, Salesforce employees have given more than 10,000 hours to UK charities in the past year alone, and we’re seeing more companies adopt the 1-1-1 model and join our mission and create impact in the communities where we live and work. CloudSymphony and Huddle are two examples of businesses in the UK that follow the Salesforce Foundation model.