Top 10 Strategic Trends in Technology 


Every business will become a digital business. The boundaries between digital and physical are increasingly blurred.

We are starting to spend more time on digital than in the physical. For most of us, we're waking up with a phone alarm, and instantly checking notifications. Whether its Facebook, text messages or emails, the next generation will be the digital-first generation.

We spend a significant chunk of our days starring into the digital world, at work, in our homes, while in transit, or even at the dinner table, it has become habit as opposed to a conscious thought.

The next generation may just grow up in a world where driver's licenses may become obsolete due to driverless cars, or the next time you're in surgery and the fact that it may be a robotic surgeon. Things are changing, fast.

Here are the top 10 strategic trends in technology from the recent Gartner Symposium ITXPO in Barcelona I attended. I was humbled to have had the chance to attend as perhaps the youngest digital executive in the audience. I was blown away by what's to come as a reflection of the agendas of the world's CIO's.

Top 10 strategic trends in technology

Inspired by Daryl Plummer, managing vice president, chief of Research and chief Gartner Fellow's presentation at the Gartner ITXPO.

Machines are taking an active role in enhancing human endeavours such as:
  • Robotic surgeons
  • Driverless cars
  • Machines are more in places where there is danger because they can make safer decisions
1) By 2017, a significant disruptive digital business will be launched that was conceived by a computer algorithm A entire digital business model can be created by computers -- perhaps at a level of advancement that is beyond the capabilities of humans.
  • Recommendation: CIO's must begin to simulate technology-driven transformation options for business
  • Google reads your emails to place good advertisement content, but it can also be really "creepy." We need to find a balance between this.
2) By 2018, the total cost of ownership for business operations will be reduced by 30% through smart machines and industrialized services
  • Recommendation: CIO's must experiment with precursor "almost smart machine" technologies and phantom robotic business process automation
  • We need to understand how to use these technologies in the business of tomorrow. We are very unprepared to harness such technologies
  • What are the implications for employment?
3) Digitization is on the path to human freedom and extension
  • Not social, not antisocial but postmodern social
  • Wearable medical devices can extend life
  • Assisted shopping
  • As times change, people are required to change too.

We may start thinking about "what is writing," when most of us grew up on keyboards now. The next generation may ask "what is writing.." "what is typing.." as they use hand gestures and smart audio technologies.

4) By 2020, developed world life expectancy will increase by 0.5 years due to widespread adoption of wireless health monitoring technology -- this is on top of any other life expectancy growth
  • Business leaders must examine the impact of increased wellness on insurance and employee healthcare costs as a competitive factor
  • Wearable technologies become relevant when they are put into our health -- to track if we are cancer prone, or perhaps lacking the exercise
  • Your device may ping you to "get up and walk up the stairs, you are being lazy today."
  • Your insurance premiums could increase because you are not exercising
  • But seriously wearable technology can be invasive
  • Devices are notoriously gullible about private data
  • Hackers could cause injury. Imagine if your pacemaker was hacked?
5) By 2016, 2.5$ billion in online shopping will be performed exclusively by mobile digital assistants.
  • Your refrigerator will tell you that your milk is sour -- and it will order a new one for you
  • We are going to see more and more of this type of movement because we can
  • Recommendation: marketing executives must develop marketing techniques that capture the attention of digital assistants as well as people.
  • Machines don't care about what people care about -- they are a different species.. Can you imagine marketing to attract a shopping-robot?
6) By 2017, US customer's mobile engagement behaviour will drive US mobile commerce revenue to 50% of US digital commerce revenue
  • All functionality is mobile at one point because we are going to reach more people this way and we will be able to do it more consistently
  • It includes going online and on and buying new products
  • It includes getting a new advertisement and getting it from Groupon
  • The mobile device is critical
  • Recommendation: mobile marketing teams investigate mobile wallets such as Apple's passbook and Google wallet as consumer interest in mobile commerce and payments grows
Renovating the customer experience is a digital priority
  • Don't make them fill out a form -- do it digitally
  • Don't make them be forced to interact with a physical site -- do it digitally
  • The customer experience is reshaping the way customers understand the context in where they buy
What do F16 fighter jets, pizza and digital business all have in common?
  • Answer: they all depend on deliberately unstable processes
  • Digitalization destabilizes process (No longer is process 1, 2, 3 and repeat. This doesn't happen anymore, but the process itself will change each time with smart tech.
  • We will be doing things with unstable processes
  • The drone cannot fly without control software to keep it stable -- these are unstable things we can learn from.
7) By 2016, 70% of successful digital business models will rely on deliberately unstable processes designed to shift as customer needs shift
  • Look at the Disney wearable wristband
  • Recommendation: CIO's -- create an agile, responsive workforce that is accountable, responsive, and supports your organizational liquidity
  • We need to create an agile, responsive workforce. It has to be accountable and has to support organizational liquidity. Share knowledge effectively. Enable teams to come together and disperse -- you don't need things to all be planned.
8) By 2017, more than half of consumer product and service R&D investments will be redirected to customer experience innovations
  • If we think about how our customers think -- they can often help themselves better than we can help. Crowdsource the solutions!
  • Social help desk -- where customers answer their own questions which will increase customer experience and reduce the number of calls to your call centre
  • Get customers to do the work
  • This is key to a digital future or everything will overload you
  • Recommendation: Consumer companies must invest in customer insight through persona and enthographic research
9) By 2017, nearly 20% of durable goods e-tailers will use 3D printing to create personalized product offerings
  • CIOs, product development leaders and business partners -- evaluate gaps between the existing "as is" and future "to be" state (process, skills and technology)
  • We need to change the attitude of the physical state of our business as digital evolves
10) By 2018, retail businesses that utilize targeted messaging in combination with internal positioning systems will see a 20% increase in customer visits
  • There is a trend of accelerating personalization, but at the risk of privacy erosion -- creepy or opportunity?
  • Recommendation: CIOs must help expand good customer data to support real-time offers

This just might get you re-thinking about the future and how you will live within it.

I invite you to comment on your thoughts and inspirations. You can tweet me @gdondon