There’s a lot weighing on today’s CIOs. Their job is no longer a matter of keeping business tech running — it’s a matter of knowing which technology could catapult their company (or their nearest competitor) to success.
That task is made even more difficult in the new era of disruptive technologies, when technology has the potential to play as large of a role — if not larger — in a company’s growth as the actual product or service it offers.
It was one of the most over-used buzzwords in the tech industry last year, so one might get the false impression that “disruption” is a trend rather than a radical shift in today’s business game.
In a time when some companies are still struggling to provide free Wi-Fi and update their “chip” machines, it’s clear that 2017 will prove to be the year when the digital revolution truly separates leaders from followers (i.e. winners from losers) in nearly every industry.
It was one of the most over-used buzzwords in the tech industry last year, so one might get the false impression that “disruption” is a trend rather than a radical shift in today’s business game. But as one writer so accurately states, today’s advanced technology has made disruptions “more powerful and more frequent” than ever more.
Whether you like it or not, it’s a force that is here to stay. Today’s businesses need to run with an R&D mindset, and spread a clear vision for innovation throughout every layer of their companies. It can be overwhelming.
The following are just a few examples of the disruptions making the biggest waves in today’s market.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
It’s estimated that more than 26 billion devices will be connected by 2020, with more than half of new business processes involving IoT functionality. If you aren’t planning for IoT to change your industry, you haven’t been paying attention.
As a multi-dimensional innovation, IoT could revolutionize how you meet customer service needs, how you market, and even what you manufacture. Think quantum physics for the business world. All areas of your company must consider it, from marketing to your call center, if you want to be successful.
Remember the memes that popped up when Apple unveiled the iPad? Who’s laughing now? As one expert says, we need to stop thinking about mobile devices as cell phones and start thinking of them as small “mobile terminals.”
You’ll want to find new and novel ways to connect via mobile technology, from texting to tracking, if you want to stay in relationship with your customers.
Indeed, smart phones could be even more important than computers in today’s business market, with consumers buying, selling, paying, and conducting business all from their mobile hand-held devices.
At the basest level, the onus will no longer be on the consumer to carry your preferred method of payment. At the highest, you’ll want to find new and novel ways to connect via mobile technology, from texting to tracking, if you want to stay in relationship with your customers. And believe me: They want you to.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Delivery drones, autonomous vehicles, sensors to track patient vitals within the comfort of their own home: All are possible with AI. The technology can take on high-cost/low-value jobs like counting, checking, and tracking to help you improve your bottom line in nearly every department.
Even on a personal level, AI will change how we live and function. Imagine if you could completely automate the mundane parts of daily existence, such as being stuck on hold, waiting in line at the grocery store, or even doing your taxes.
Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR)
This a year when virtual reality will finally move beyond the entertainment and gaming industry and into the wider business world. According to Goldman Sachs Research, VR and AR could form a combined $80 billion market by 2025.
It could allow medical students to rehearse life-saving surgeries without ever risking a patient’s life; military personnel to learn how to fly, fight, and shoot without jeopardizing their own safety. Yes, it could save money. But it could also save lives.
Companies around the world have been moving toward self-service for years, but automation will only grow from here on in.
From a customer satisfaction standpoint, that’s great. Consumers will no longer be forced to wait in 20-minute queues to talk to a service representative halfway around the globe. Instead they can hop on an interactive and intuitive DIY user dashboard and manage their issues in an instant.
Automation is great for your IT team, as well. Instead of spending their time on password changes and simple fix-its, they can focus on what will really make a difference for your business moving forward: The next disruption.
If your head is spinning, you’re not alone. If nothing else, digital transformation means that your company needs to change the way it screens and hires its IT team if you truly want to grow your business.
It’s no longer enough to choose IT employees set on responding to fix-it tickets and managing software upgrades. You need to create a team with a strategic vision and passion for keeping your company growing.
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