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Tech trends that count

Deloitte, last week launched its fifth annual Tech Trends report highlighting 10 trends that could have an impact on South African companies across industry sectors over the coming 18 to 24 months.

“At their core, these trends inspire disruption by having the potential to reshape organisations, business models, and even entire industries in South Africa and beyond. While some of these technologies might seem far-fetched for some, the reality is that the evolving competitive landscape means they can provide companies with a distinct business advantage,” says Kamal Ramsingh, Technology Leader for Africa at Deloitte.

Ramsingh says that the disruptive technologies highlighted in the report can challenge CIOs to anticipate the impacts that these forces may have on their organisation. “This year, we look at how technology forces offer CIOs the opportunity to shape tomorrow, to inspire, to create, and to transform business as usual.

The report is organised into two categories – disruptors and enablers.

“Disruptors are areas that can create sustainable positive disruption in IT capabilities, business operations, and sometimes even business models.

Enablers are those technologies in which many CIOs have already invested time and effort, but warrant another look because of new developments and new capabilities. Simply put, disruptors are trends that will disrupt current ways of doing things, while enablers will enable ways of doing things differently,” adds Ramsingh.

According to Mark White, the global chief technology officer of Deloitte, “the trends identified in the report have to adhere to very strict criteria which include having to be business-led and technology-enabled, as well as have at least three real world instances of adoption.

“It is clear that organisations need to be forward-thinking to develop strategies that are cognisant of the pace of technological change. However, trends that are too future-focused are of very little practical value for decision-makers wanting to get a competitive edge in the market in the short-term. As such, the Tech Trends report is focused on those emerging technologies that can provide measurable returns in the next 18 to 24 months,” says White.

1. CIO as venture capitalist – CIOs should actively manage their IT portfolio in a way that drives enterprise value and evaluate portfolio performance in terms that business leaders understand.

2. Cognitive analytics – Bridging the gap between the intent of big data and the reality of practical decision-making use aspects of artificial intelligence and machine learning

3. Industrialised crowdsourcing – The enterprise adopting the power of the crowd to dynamically source specialised skills from anyone, anywhere, and only as needed.

4. Digital engagement – Creating a consistent, compelling, and contextual way of personalising, delivering, and potentially monetising the overall user experience.

5. Wearables – Examining the potential that wearable technology could have on how work gets done, how decisions are made, and how companies engage with employees, customers, and partners.

6. Technical debt reversal – Organisations should purposefully reverse their technical debt to support innovation and growth.

7. Social activation – Companies should focus on measuring the perception of their brand and then changing how people feel, share, and evangelise.

8. Cloud orchestration – The current adoption of cloud is creating the need for a coordinated, orchestrated set of actions that manage business processes across clouds and firewalls.

9. In-memory revolution – As in-memory technologies move from analytical to transactional systems, there is the potential for business processes to be fundamentally reshaped.

10. Real-time DevOps – Responding to business needs with speed and agility in product development and operations.

“This year’s report reflects the reality of the connected world. Data, mobile, social, cyber security, and the cloud are all key drivers in what businesses do online. Even South African organisations are starting to realise the business benefits that leveraging developments in this area can provide them,” says Ramsingh.

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