5 technologies that CIOs can’t ignore in 2017

EducationSummary: As technology evolves, it plays an increasingly important role on the business world. More than ever, the modern CIO must stay ahead of the ever-changing technology curve, and understand how new technologies might affect their business. What technologies could have the biggest impact on the business world in the coming year? In this article, we explore a few such technologies that the modern CIO cannot afford to ignore.

photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay cc

photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay cc

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
— Leon C. Megginson

That quote–often misattributed to Darwin–applies perfectly to the world of business technology. We’re living in a time of rapid technological change. Those who succeed aren’t necessarily the largest companies. It’s those who adapt.

We’ve seen it time and time again recently. New companies take advantage of modern technology and disrupt entire industries. Just think of Netflix and Blockbuster. Or Amazon and bookstores. Or Uber and the taxi industry. I could go on.

Forrester shared a shocking statistic a few years back: “Seventy percent of the companies that were on the Fortune 1000 list a mere ten years ago have now vanished–unable to adapt to change.

Think about that. Strong, successful companies fell because they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) alter their course. They didn’t adapt.

Guess what? In another 10 years, I’m sure we’ll see a similar statistic. After all, technology is evolving faster than ever. New technologies emerge on a regular basis that can dramatically alter the business world. The most successful companies are those who recognize these important technologies and adapt.

So, what are the most important technologies going into 2017? As a CIO or IT leader, what technologies cannot be ignored in the coming year? We’ll cover 5 such technologies today, and another 5 in a future article. Stay tuned.

Here are 5 technologies that you cannot afford to ignore in 2017:

1. Blockchain

photo credit: geralt via pixabay cc

photo credit: PeteLinforth via pixabay cc

Popularized through the rise of Bitcoin, Blockchain technology has recently picked up steam in the business world. Experts predict it will transform everything from digital currency to voting processes to entire economies.

What is it? In the most basic definition, a blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of records (called blocks). Blockchain makes it possible to create a digital ledger of transactions and share it among a distributed network of computers. Just think of it like an unchangeable financial ledger that requires both parties to verify accuracy before adding a transaction.

I realize that’s not the clearest definition, but this isn’t a simple concept. If you’d like to learn more about the technology, here are a couple of great youtube videos which explain it in more detail. You can find them here and here.

In short, blockchain has the potential to become a revolutionary technology. And, as explained below, it’s primed to take off in the coming year.

“Blockchain is the technology that runs Bitcoin and Ethereum,” says Ameer Rosic, CEO Of Blockgeeks.com. “2017 will be the year that blockchain technology becomes a major mainstream player.

Every major business will need to start paying attention as this technology is going to change almost every facet of business. From payments, security, voting and even creating your own company cryptocurrency. Imagine, if you are a fortune 500 company and you can transfer 10 million dollars in 10 minutes and it only costs you a penny?. Bottom line. No matter what size of a company you are, you should be investing the impact this tech will make.”

2. Container technology

photo credit: snoku via pixabay cc

photo credit: snoku via pixabay cc

Containers aren’t new technology, but they’re still surrounded by confusion. As a result, enterprise adoption hasn’t taken off.

This article sums up the state of container adoption: “Less than half of Fortune 500 CIOs surveyed said that their companies are using containers, suggesting that technology hasn’t gained steam in large enterprises.”

What are containers? For those unfamiliar with the concept, this article offers a nice definition: “Containers are a solution to the problem of how to get software to run reliably when moved from one computing environment to another. A container consists of an entire runtime environment: an application, plus all its dependencies, libraries and other binaries, and configuration files needed to run it, bundled into one package. By containerizing the application platform and its dependencies, differences in OS distributions and underlying infrastructure are abstracted away.”

While we’ve seen more companies experiment with containers, it’s largely a bottom-up approach. The developers recognize the value of the technology, but it hasn’t quite taken hold in the C-suite. However, in the coming year, we can expect that to change–as more business leaders recognize the value that containers provide.

“Containers and related technologies can drastically simplify software management,” says Wes Higbee, President, Full City Tech Co. “Part of the problem is that people don’t understand the underlying technology. So here are a few high-level points:
– Containers are simply isolated processes.
– Containers are not a replacement for VMs, they complement VMs.
– Images simplify the distribution of software.”

3. Self-service analytic platforms

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photo credit: StockSnap via pixabay cc

As we deal with ever-increasing data volumes, traditional BI practices are less effective. The modern business can no longer run reporting processes through a single department.

This article sums up the importance of self-service BI: “Self-service analytics is one of the tactics separating industry leaders from laggards. In today’s world, “self-service” is no longer synonymous with passively consuming static reports pre-packaged by IT. It’s more about building one’s own reports, exploring data, and interacting with it.”

However, a recent study finds that 53% of companies believe they are falling behind when it comes to BI. The same study finds that 57% of companies plan to accelerate their investment in self-service BI.

These two statistics highlight one reason why self-service analytics is a technology you cannot afford to ignore. It’s becoming a competitive necessity. The data avalanche combined with the rapid adoption of self-service tools creates a perfect storm. Businesses can either jump on board or fall behind the competition.

Another reason why you can’t ignore self-service analytics: It’s rapidly improving. As mentioned below, we’ll see self-service tools become even easier to use in the coming year–a trend that will further drive adoption.

“At the low end, easy-to-use analytic toolkits will come into their own,” says Mike Stonebraker, Ph.D., co-founder and CTO of Tamr. “At the high end where performance and scalability matters, it will continue to be “rocket science” for another few years.”

4. ChatBots

I recently read an article entitled, “How Bots Will Completely Kill Websites and Mobile Apps.” While I don’t agree with that prediction, the article brought up some interesting points.

Most notably: Chat bots have become a technology that businesses cannot afford to ignore. This technology has advanced to the point where it now offers a wide range of business uses.

Like what? As explained below, chatbots hold potential to improve brand awareness, support, and far more.

“ChatBots are a business solution, not only a tech solution, but they should be utilized by every company as a means to engage in conversational commerce with their clients and even with their employees,” says Chris Skelly, CEO and founder of ChatLogix. “From brand awareness and engagement, operations and support, and media and information services, companies will need to align with this communication channel. ChatBots have solidified their place as a frictionless way for companies to engage with their consumers and make meaningful connections. There are countless pathways to utilize this technology and the data gathered can have a positive impact the bottom line for any business. Utilizing artificial intelligence also helps to move forward to create interactions that sustain and encourage use. Ultimately, companies want to retain their consumers and encourage brand loyalty, and consumers want the convenience to interact with the businesses they use the same way they connect with their friends.”

5. Augmented and Virtual Reality

photo credit: geralt via pixabay cc

photo credit: fill via pixabay cc

In the consumer realm, we’ve seen virtual reality start to take off. Phone manufacturers are now releasing VR headsets, and it’s clearly the next big thing in the world of gaming.

However, virtual reality isn’t just about consumer technology. It holds many business uses as well. Here’s a great article that highlights virtual reality’s possibilities for business. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Going into 2017, we can expect this technology to take off in the business world. As explained below, it holds the potential to alter businesses in a variety of industries.

“Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies have received a lot of hype for consumer applications but what’s talked about less frequently, and is potentially just as impactful, is b-to-b applications for both,” says Marc Sollars, CTO, of Teneo. “Retailers particularly stand to benefit from these technologies because they can offer the physical in-store experience to consumers, no matter where they are. Imagine being able to try on a shirt when you’re not even in the store. Wayfarer has been an early adopter in this space, utilizing Augmented Reality via Google Tango to help customers visualize what a product would look like in their home. Lowes has added VR kiosks to 19 stores and just yesterday launched an Augmented Reality app called Vision that also uses Tango and that lets customers measure spaces and visualize how products will look and fit into their home. As consumers adopt this trend, industries like education and construction are also taking advantage. With construction, for example, clients are able to make changes to building designs virtually rather than during the construction phase where the cost to them would be much higher.”

Summary

These are just 5 technologies that you can’t afford to ignore in 2017. We’ll cover more in an upcoming article. Stay tuned! If you would like to add anything to this list, I’d love to hear it. Feel free to share in the comments.

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