2015 technology trends update: We are a third of the way through, are you staying ahead of the digital disruption?
Digital disruption is here to stay! Couple this with increasing customer expectations, and more power of choice in the consumer’s hand, enterprises today have no choice but to stay ahead of the curve to survive. No doubt, digital transformation is a key buzzword among the C- suites today. Many are still struggling to figure out how to embrace and adopt emerging technologies to accelerate their digital journey.
During the Gartner 2014 Symposium there was a buzz of 2015 technology predictions from the many keynotes and sessions. One of the more startling assertions came during the session entitled “Digital Business is Driving Big Change”: “By 2018, digital business require 50% less business process workers and 500% more key digital business jobs, compared to traditional models.” For businesses to survive in the digital world, they need to invest in customer experience and people.
Let’s look at what CIOs should do in 2015 to prepare and embrace some of these technologies.
- Explore cognitive computing for complex business problems. Over the past several years, we’ve watched the evolution of IBM Watson to marshal in a new era of computing. Unlike traditional IT systems, cognitive systems get better over time and the more they can learn about an industry or problem domain the faster they can come up with solutions. Cognitive computing will become the most disruptive computing force since the advent of the Internet. The ability to use computing power to extract patterns and insights can be applied to a range of industry problems from identifying financial fraud, accelerating drug discovery, and solving cyber security problems. Over time, cognitive computing will transform all types of analytics by combining traditional structured data analysis with unstructured data to deliver insights at a depth and scale that will mimic and possibly surpass the human brain. CIO’s should begin to harness these capabilities and explore opportunities for deploying cognitive computing as part of their global IT infrastructure. This is not as futuristic as it may seem. Gartner predicts that by 2017, a significant disruptive digital business will be launched that was conceived by a computer algorithm.
- Take advantage of smarter systems and IoT to drive more intelligent actions. The connected world is rapidly becoming a reality. It’s easy to see how we got here. Over the past 10 years, the cost of connectivity has declined 40 times, the cost of processing has declined 60 times and the cost of sensors has dropped in half. 2014 saw the emergence of Smart Homes, Smart Cities, Smart Cars and Smart Offices. According to the GMSA, more than 50% of vehicles sold worldwide in 2015 will be connected (either by embedded, tethered or smartphone integration). Business Insider reports that there are 1.9 billion connected devices in the home today, and there will be 9 billion by 2018, roughly equal to the number of smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, wearable computers, and PCs combined. But the IoT is not just about connecting cameras, fridges, vehicles, etc. Most IoT smart devices will be found in factories, business and healthcare. People want to be able to analyze and use the vast amounts of data to do things that are more intelligible, accessible and actionable from a business standpoint. Organizations that can capitalize on the data from these “smart” ecosystems will have an opportunity to drive their innovation to new heights and leapfrog their competition.
- Create a data sciences group to capitalize on your big data. One of the effects of digital transformation is the sheer volume and variety of data that enterprises now have to process. And that volume of data continues to grow! Big data has passed the hype stage and many enterprises have implemented Hadoop or equivalent technology to provide a very agile, cost effective, self-service way to manage and interact with these new the data formats. While progress has been made on the technology front, opportunity exists for organizations to invest is setting up a data sciences group to drive better insights. The role of this group has the potential to expand beyond the analysis of customer behavior or operational efficiencies to include new areas such as data forensics to combat the rise of cyber threats or the launch of new business services based on these data insights. We’ve seen the application of data sciences and advanced analytics applied to industries like manufacturing to improve areas such as production distribution planning, demand and pricing optimization. These opportunities exist across industries and can be unleashed by setting up and sustaining a strong Data Sciences group.
- Use tablets to redefine the mobile worker. We’ve been hearing about the death of the laptop and desktop for years now. 2015 will finally make Steve Jobs’ prediction that tablets will outpace PC’s come true. Gartner indicated that “the traditional PC market (desktop and laptop) will follow the same downward trend and is on pace to contract another 5.3% in 2015”. 2015 will be the year of BYOT (bring your own tablet). The Surface R3 will make inroads into the Enterprise as a multi-purpose device that will have most Windows laptop users never look back. A recent Chitika survey showed that the Surface is the most popular tablet used during traditional work hours. To prepare for this, enterprises will need to ensure they have the proper security in place, have the required integrations with their enterprise systems and data and have carefully chosen the use cases. We have seen examples in law enforcement for using tablets for mapping, examining, note taking and research. In healthcare they are being deployed to providers to better service patients. Even a notable New York law firm issued some 500 lawyers with tablets to replaces standard-issue laptops.
- Increase focus on providing OMNI channel customer experiences. According to a recent Customers 2020 report, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Customers “will expect companies to know their individual needs and personalize the experience.” The number of smartphone users in the U.S. next year is predicted to be around 182.6 million, more than 16 million than this year. With customers going mobile, online experiences need to follow. Customer service is also becoming more social. More customers turn to social media to solve their issues. Companies need to adopt multichannel experiences for managing their customers. According to a Temkin Group report that looked at ROI of customer experience in 2014, there is a “strong correlation between customer experience and loyalty factors such as repurchasing, trying new offerings, forgiving mistakes, and recommending the company to friends and colleagues.” In 2015, companies will use better analytics to measure performance of their customer experience strategies.
- Adopt the cloud as the “Digital Glue” to accelerate time to market. The richness and depth of cloud based services is evolving at an alarming pace. Much like service oriented architectures (SOA) once enabled agility and flexibility within the enterprise, the Cloud unleashes potential far greater across a boundaries. Even though adoption of cloud by enterprises are at various stages, one thing is clear cloud is here to stay and companies that leverage it have the opportunity to bring agility, save costs and drive innovation. It is important that businesses understand that digital era applications need to be built with a new style and cloud-centric architecture, for providing an engaging experience to their stakeholders whether they are consumers or employees. This requires them to design for web scale IT, provide rich integrations, create context-rich experiences and embed “smart” analytics. In 2015, the cloud will further emerge as the “digital glue” in making many of these applications realize these capabilities.
Gartner’s survey of 2,800 CIOs in 84 countries showed that CIOs are fully aware that they will need to change in order to succeed in the digital business, with 75% of IT executives saying that they need to change their leadership style in the next three years.
Are you ready to embrace the change?