The fusion of business and IT, the theme for the sixth annual Tech Trends report, seeks to inspire a fundamental shift in the way we conduct business as usual. Every company, globally and across the African continent, in some way or other, is leap-frogging to transform into a digital business. Technology today, more than ever before, is being infused into all facets of society, which makes it difficult to separate business and IT.
Tech Trends 2015 examines eight current technology trends that will fundamentally transform the way C-suite leaders and CIOs collaborate to leverage disruptive change, chart business strategy and pursue potentially transformative opportunities. These trends range from the way some organisations are making use of application programming interfaces to extend services and create new revenue streams, to the dramatic impact that connectivity and analytics have on digital marketing. “From a strategic perspective, these trends herald a fundamental shift in how technology is used within the organisation and help accomplish the growth objectives of the business”, says Kamal Ramsingh, Technology Leader, Deloitte Africa.
Deloitte has identified the eight trends that could be the most impactful over the coming 18 to 24 months irrespective of industry, geography, or size of the business.
CIO as chief integration officer
As technology transforms existing business models and gives rise to new ones, the role of the CIO is evolving rapidly, with integration at the core of its mission. Increasingly, CIOs need to harness emerging disruptive technologies for the business while balancing future needs with today’s operational realities. They should view their responsibilities through an enterprise-wide lens to help ensure critical domains like digital, analytics, and cloud aren’t spurring redundant, conflicting, or compromised investments within departmental or functional silos. In this shifting landscape of opportunities and challenges, CIOs can be not only the connective tissue but the driving force for intersecting, IT-heavy initiatives.
Application programming interfaces (APIs) have been elevated from a development technique to a business model driver and boardroom consideration. An organisation’s core assets can be reused, shared, and monetised through APIs that can extend the reach of existing services or provide new revenue streams. APIs should be managed like a product—one built on top of a potentially complex technical footprint that includes legacy and third-party systems and data.
Possibilities abound from the tremendous growth of embedded sensors and connected devices – in the home, the enterprise, and the world at large. Translating these possibilities into business impact requires focus – purposefully bringing smarter “things” together with analytics, security, data, and integration platforms to make the disparate parts work seamlessly with each other. Ambient computing is the backdrop of sensors, devices, intelligence, and agents that can put the Internet of Things to work.
Marketing has evolved significantly in the last half-decade. The evolution of digitally connected customers lies at the core, reflecting the dramatic change in the dynamic between relationships and transactions. A new vision for marketing is being formed as CMOs and CIOs invest in technology for marketing automation, next-generation omnichannel approaches, content development, customer analytics, and commerce initiatives. This modern era for marketing is likely to bring new challenges in the dimensions of customer engagement, connectivity, data, and insight.
Amid the fervor surrounding digital, analytics, and cloud, it is easy to overlook advances currently being made in infrastructure and operations. The entire operating environment – server, storage, and network – can now be virtualised and automated. The data center of the future represents the potential for not only lowering costs, but also dramatically improving speeds and reducing the complexity of provisioning, deploying, and maintaining technology footprints. Software-defined everything can elevate infrastructure investments, from costly plumbing to competitive differentiators.
Organisations have significant investments in their core systems, both built and bought. Beyond running the heart of the business, these assets can form the foundation for growth and new service development – building upon standardised data and automated business processes. To this end, many organisations are modernising systems to pay down technical debt, re-platforming solutions to remove barriers to scale and performance, and extending their legacy infrastructures to fuel innovative new services and offerings.
Analytics techniques are growing in complexity, and companies are applying machine learning and predictive modeling to increasingly massive and complex data sets. Artificial intelligence is now a reality. Its more promising application, however, is not replacing workers but augmenting their capabilities. When built to enhance an individual’s knowledge and deployed seamlessly at the point of business impact, advanced analytics can help amplify our intelligence for more effective decision making.
IT worker of the future
Scarcity of technical talent is a significant concern across many industries, with some organisations facing talent gaps along multiple fronts. The legacy-skilled workforce is retiring, and organisations are scrambling for needed skills in the latest emerging disruptive technologies. To tackle these challenges, companies will likely need to cultivate a new species – the IT worker of the future – with habits, incentives, and skills that are inherently different from those in play today.
In our Technology Trends 2014 report, we took a look at “exponentials” for the first time. In collaboration with faculty at Singularity University, a leading research institution—based in the heart of Silicon Valley and whose founders include Cisco, Google, and others—we explored innovations that are accelerating faster than the pace of Moore’s law, that is, technologies whose performance relative to cost (and size) doubles every 12 to 18 months.
The rapid growth of exponentials has significant implications. Powerful technologies—including quantum computing, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, additive manufacturing, and synthetic or industrial biology – are ushering in new and disruptive competitive risks and opportunities for enterprises that have historically enjoyed dominant positions in their industries.
In this year’s Technology Trends report, we once again discuss exponentials to build awareness and share new knowledge about their trajectory and potential impact.
“Each one of these eight trends has an impact across the African continent, and understanding what these trends mean locally is critical to implementing them sooner rather than later”, says Kamal. “The modern African CIO needs to shape the opportunities of tomorrow and inspire the rest of the organisation to transform in order to be ready for what is to come”.
Click here to access the full report
To find out how to implement this year’s Technology Trends into your enterprise of future, contact Kamal Ramsingh.