Summary: 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.
In a recent report, Forrester states, “There has not been a time when technology has had a more profound impact on customer experience and revenue performance. By the sheer force of nature, this places CIOs and technology front and center.”
I couldn’t agree more. We’re going through a time of rapid technological change. Many of these changes are poised to significantly impact the business world. The most successful CIOs and IT leaders are those who recognize and capitalize on these changing technologies.
This begs the question: What technologies will have the biggest impact on business in the coming year? What technologies must CIOs closely monitor in this year and the next?
Today, we’ll explore 5 such technologies that CIOs can’t ignore, and cover another 5 in a future article. Stay tuned.
Here are 5 technologies that you cannot afford to ignore in the second half of 2017 and 2018.
1. Artificial Intelligence
“The most important technology that CIO won’t be able to ignore (not even if they try to) in 2018 is artificial intelligence. AI will dominate the tech scene with its software revolution,” says Nick Chandi, the CEO of SlickPie Accounting Software. “A considerable chunk of the workload performed on computers will be delegated to bots. This will bring direct impacts on all sorts of industries such as accounting, bookkeeping, legal, and even writing. This will affect companies of all sizes and the access to such technology will become rather affordable. If AI-driven vehicles are still a few years away, software bots will hit the mainstream big time in 2018 and will change many landscapes.”
AI isn’t a new technology by any means, but we’re finally seeing widespread business applications. From marketing to IT to HR and everything in between, AI will impact all aspects of your organization.
How can AI change your business? While the list could be much longer, Artificial Intelligence can help with:
– Cybersecurity: It will help companies predict and prevent cybersecurity attacks before they happen.
– Analytics: It can take your analytics past historical reporting, and into the predictive realm.
– Marketing: AI will take marketing personalization to a whole new level.
Those are just examples, but the potential uses of AI are too many to even list. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. AI is a technology you can’t afford to ignore in 2018.
With the rise of container technology, we’re seeing the growth of container orchestration engines. While there are a few to choose from, Kubernetes is separating itself from the pack.
What is Kubernetes? As defined on their site: “Kubernetes is an open-source platform for automating deployment, scaling, and operations of application containers across clusters of hosts, providing container-centric infrastructure.”
Now, I realize that’s just a basic definition. If you’d like to learn more about the technology, here’s a great video that explains the whole concept in simple (animated) terms.
Why is this technology so important? As explained below, Kubernetes makes it easier to adopt microservices and move applications between on-premise and the cloud.
“The adoption of Microservices and Containers is currently hitting mainstream IT,” says Nic Grange, CTO at Retriever Communications. “For most of these companies, the biggest challenge they will face in order to benefit from these technologies will be to actually run these services in production at any sort of scale. The last couple of years has seen a large amount of flux in this space with a clear winner now emerging in the shape of Google’s Kubernetes project. The project comes out of Google’s own extensive experience running containers in production at scale. While most companies are moving workloads to the cloud, there are still currently far more workloads being run on-premise than in the cloud. Kubernetes allows companies to adopt Microservices and containers now without requiring them to also make the jump to the cloud at the same time. It then provides a simple future path to move applications to the cloud with little change or even move them back to on-premise. Most IT departments are used to deploying applications directly to the operating systems, but technologies like Kubernetes move up the level of abstraction which makes it easier to move applications between on-premise and the cloud. IT departments will have to adapt to this to allow their business to be competitive and responsive to market changes by reducing the cost of changing directions.”
While it hasn’t reached widespread adoption yet, experts predict Blockchain will transform everything from digital currency to voting processes to entire economies. How disruptive is it? This article explains how blockchain will impact the financial system like the internet did to media.
But, what is Blockchain? Popularized through the use of cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin), 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.
If that’s confusing, here’s an article that explains the concept in simpler terms. However, while many are still wrapping their head around Blockchain, one thing is certain: It’s a technology you must keep your eyes on in the coming year and beyond.
“I feel like 2018 is going to be the year of the blockchain,” says David Cox, CEO at LiquidVPN. “We are seeing some fascinating things being created with blockchain. Most of the exciting projects are currently in development, but we are starting to see the financial and security sectors adopt the blockchain for voting, authentication, investing, and crowdfunding.”
Like AI, the Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t a new trend. But, it has picked up steam over the last few years, and shows no signs of slowing down. Gartner estimates that 8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide this year, up 31 percent from 2016.
While the consumer segment accounts for 63% of IoT usage, business usage is on the rise. Businesses are on pace to employ 3.1 billion connected things in 2017, with the number expected to rise substantially in 2018.
How can IoT help your business? I won’t get into all of the details in this article, but here’s a nice article that explores 7 ways IoT will change your business. That’s just scratching the surface. It’s clear that IoT holds amazing potential for the business world, and cannot be ignored moving forward.
“Every CIO should be thinking about how the adoption of IoT could improve their business and drive new revenue streams and Smart Applications,” says Mighael Botha, CTO for North America for Software AG. “IoT should not just be thought of as an initiative for CIOs in manufacturing, retail and transportation, but also as a discipline that really spans all industries. For example, in Healthcare, if I run a 24-Hour Emergency center with an MRI machine that is only utilized 60% of the time, I could create a service (through APIs and a mobile app) in which Physicians can ‘book’ time for their own patients to use the MRI so I get better utilization rates and a new income stream. But adopting IoT has many challenges. Creating an IoT Framework tailored to an organization and its unique infrastructure is a critical first step. Adopting IoT should really be part of the overall strategy to become a Data Driven Enterprise and a stepping stone to further enhance an organization’s AI capabilities.”
5. Real-time stream data processing
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a data explosion. Businesses now have access to more data than ever before…and it isn’t slowing down. As IoT continues to grow, so will the data avalanche.
The big question: How will you use this data to your advantage?
As Gartner reports in their 2017 CIO Agenda, “Analytics underpin the mediation and value exchange occurring in digital ecosystems, and although top performers have a higher investment target than others, this capability is clearly seen by all as the key to digital value.”
In the coming years, real-time BI and analytics will become essential. Businesses must focus on technologies that turn their steady flow of data into meaningful information.
“Businesses are collecting more and more data, yet many still don’t have the capabilities to do much with it, at least not in real-time,” says Grange. “For years, businesses have relied on reports generated on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. Nowadays this isn’t good enough. Businesses need the information as soon as it is available and need to make fast decisions that allow them to adapt to the changing needs of their customers. The impact of IoT will only accelerate the amount of data a business collects and then need to be able to process in real-time to make everyday business decisions. All the major Cloud Providers are now offering stream processing services and companies like Confluent who is behind Apache Kafka are leading the way in offering capabilities required for the IoT era. Many people still view these types of platforms as a luxury and only required for companies operating on a large scale. This is slowly changing as adoption becomes easier. The introduction of all these managed services from cloud providers reduce some of the traditional barriers. Developers within IT Departments will need to adapt to this programming paradigm.”
These are just 5 technologies that you can’t afford to ignore in 2017 and 2018. 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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