It’s hard to have a discussion about 2017 without a clear definition of “DIGITAL”. In my mind Digital is the application of contextualized information to improve experience and outcome, whether consumer or employee, an informed decision brings all available information to the point of decision to attempt to guide and de-risk that decision. As a result we are building services in the cloud for agility and scale, composing with independent services that are linked through HTTP/S based API’s. These applications are intensive in the information that they produce for downstream analytics as well as consume. For the past several years, we have talked about the digital client experience, but the pressing opportunity is the digitization of the core. Whether a more dynamic set of streamlined processes, more predictive analytics across a broader set of real-time enterprise information, or more agile approach to take down of critical requirements; true, stock growth enhancing, enterprise productivity becomes possible.
Every company I talk to today has a strong vision leading it to a digital future. The digital imperative is forcing businesses to rethink their products, technologies, operating models, management systems, corporate culture and beyond. And as we move into the new year, I predict that change will continue at warp speed.
1 Reconfiguring the Enterprise for the 21st Century
The 21st century enterprise really needs to rethink how it operates – and 2017 will be the year the pieces start to fall into place. More and more, companies will embrace agile approaches, focus on innovation and empower employees with a “small-team” mentality. Data will rule decision-making, as every employee gains access to the right information at the right time.
And these changes, I think, will be top-down, as our executives become the true digital leaders needed for today.
More blogs on reconfiguring the enterprise:
- Leading the digital business, beyond the technology
- Why innovation matters and how to inspire it
- Agility: What is it and how do we get it?
- Gene Kim on the Benefits of DevOps
2. Rise of the Intelligent Machines
Technology is becoming better at people tasks than people. Anyone who has ever watched a sci-fi movie knew this day was coming!
We’re beginning to see machines outthink their counterparts with the ability to perform much more complex math, integrate broad information sets and find correlations – even causations – that would escape the human mind.
On the whole, this is a good thing. But it will mean some disruption in the workplace as intelligent machines get added to the mix, maybe even replacing human employees. In 2017, we’ll see these tools serve in a “coaching” role, helping employees in nearly all sectors make better business decisions.
More blogs on intelligent machines:
- Will a robot take my job? Not if I’m creative!
- Your robot boss would like to see you in its office
- Why artificial intelligence will never be smart enough to replace a good leader
3. Maturing of IoT and the Industrial Internet
2016 was a remarkable year for the Internet of Things (IoT). We saw broad-based adoption and a pent-up demand for these technologies. What businesses will be looking for now is a platform that makes IoT easier to implement and drive value from.
We’re also going to be talking about how to protect the information that comes from sensors and other edge devices, as well as the devices themselves. As a massive Dyn DNS attack in 2016 showed us, cybersecurity will be central to the IoT conversation going forward.
More blogs on IoT:
- What will you do with what you learn from IoT?
- Data analytics: The key to making IoT work for the enterprise
- Welcome to the wonderful world of hijacked IoT devices
4. Emergence of the Sinosphere as an Innovation Leader
The Internet economy has truly gone global, but those of us who orbit Silicon Valley tend to discount the amazing innovation happening in other parts of the world. One of those areas I’m keeping an eye on is East Asia – the Sinosphere. I think we’re right on the cusp of seeing a massive amount of business and technical innovation coming out of that region emerging to advantage the intimate knowledge of local culture.
Ideally, this will lead to what I call “competitive geographic competition.” As enterprises in the Sinosphere ride this wave of innovation, businesses around the world can watch what they do and catch the next wave that comes our way.
More blogs on innovation:
- Exploring cross-cultural aspects of collaborative innovation
- When it comes to innovation, swarm…don’t run!
- Can replicating best practices stifle innovation?
5. Increased Adoption and Simplification of Cloud Platforms
In talking to CEOs and CIOs recently, I’m hearing from many of them that they have an 80/20 plan for cloud adoption. That is, they are making plans to have 80% of their business in the cloud by 2020. This is truely a “operate my business in the [public] cloud” strategy!
This growth in cloud adoption will lead, I believe, to a new range of competition in cloud providers – and a new conversation around how to make it easier, safer and cheaper for clients to adopt cloud. I also think 2017 will bring new cloud-native staff into our IT organizations, and these folks will add big value to the enterprise.
In 2017, there’s no turning back on cloud. We’re going both feet in.
More blogs on cloud adoption:
- 2016 and still cloud clueless?
- Who should be making your cloud decisions?
- Cloud market update: AWS still leads, but is another player on the rise?
6. Next Wave of Digital Interface: Virtual and Augmented Reality
In the VR/AR world, we’ve been waiting to see consumer technology move into the enterprise. But I predict this will start happening in 2017.
We’re seeing firefighter helmets fitted with AR safety tools. Technicians are building failure-prone parts of aircraft engines with the help of AR. Architectural design is being greatly enhanced by VR/AR capabilities, as is healthcare. There are so many new use cases being explored successfully.
As more companies start to see how putting these devices in employees’ hands can raise productivity and drive efficiency and success, we’ll start to see a huge upswing in adoption.
More blogs on AR/VR:
- Why Pokémon Go could fuel demands for AR/VR jobs
- Virtual reality slowly becoming reality in some industries
- After Pokémon Go craze, what’s next in augmented reality?
Well, that’s what I predict 2017 will bring our way. What’s on your “wish” list for the year?