10 Technology Trends for 2014-2016, via Forrester

Technology isn’t new. Social media isn’t emergency. Mobile isn’t game changing. So what are the next big things we can look forward to as technology continues to evolve?

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Forrester lists these as the technology trends to look at for the next three years:

1. Digital convergence erodes boundaries

Our physical and digital worlds converge every day and, as a result, consumers expect more consistent, uniform service in both worlds. If a customer doesn’t get good service in real-time they automatically take it to a much wider audience online. As we continue to blend business and personal use of technology, this fuels this trend.

2. Digital experience delivery makes (or breaks) firms

“A great digital experience is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a make-or-break point for your business as we more fully enter the digital age.” Mobile is the first screen. More and more firms chose a mobile-first approach, but then fall flat because their old systems can’t keep up with the engagement, service, clicks or traffic. The customers’ impressions of a business are established through digital engagement and what they experience as they choose mobile for search and information, which forces businesses to recognize “software is the brand.” The same goes for companies and corporations.

3. APIs become digital glue

Application platform interfaces (APIs) provide “open access to useful functionality through network-based services using technologies that are readily accessible from a broad range of programming environments.” This also highlights the need for much more sophisticated security seeing how more data is accessible to more and more individuals.

4. The business takes ownership of process and intelligence

The report says, “a new class of users demand more user-friendly, self-service features to automate ad hoc processes without expensive and scarce IT resources.” They also suggest some IT depts and leaders are losing control over business intelligence platforms, tools & applications because they can’t keep up with the pace of the business as things move faster every day.

5. Firms shed yesterday’s data limitations

Forrester says “firms that embrace big data concepts, open data, and adopt new adaptive intelligence approaches are creating next generation smart systems that overcome limitations and create disruptive business innovations.” Cheaper, more agile, collaborative analytics and data sharing are key. We must design “predictive apps able to sense their environment and respond in real-time, anticipate user action, and meet users in their moment of need.”

6. Sensors and devices draw ecosystems together

The Internet-of-Things is already moving from a concept to reality with how connectivity fuels our society and the millions of devices that are almost overcoming human population. Wearable computing will go the few to the many and become more prevalent.  These changes will take us away from the traditional “spray-and-pray promotional campaigns” into marketing to consumer ecosystems that emerge as a result of these changes.

7. “Trust” and “identity” get a rethink

Trust is a hard think to come by as we’re constantly worried about who has access to what. The report says “it’s impossible to identify ‘trusted’ interfaces, many data breaches comes from trusted insiders, and the concept of ‘trust’ doesn’t even apply to data packets.” With a large number of IT devices and apps, it’s important to rethink who is trusted and how you are trusting your data to IT and software. Data breaches can cost $10 million or more, so this should not be passed over.

8. Infrastructure takes on engagement

Welcome to social business and the collaborative economy!  The report says leading companies are changing (or should be changing from) silos, mobile device management and desktop computing to better foster employee engagement, collaboration and innovation. “Converged infrastructure and software-defined networks are leading to the emergence of the software-defined data center (SDDC) as the new organizational model for intelligent infrastructure management.”

9. Firms learn from the cloud and mobile

While many companies have cloud and mobile strategies in place,  the cloud can be limited by the speed. The cloud will see many changes and new re-designs. Mobile strategies now need to be a part of the broader omni-channel approach which requires a new kind of “application architecture that must be capable of supporting systems of engagement.” It starts with mobile, but what is your entire multi-channel experience strategy?

10. IT becomes an agile service broker (or fades away)

Forrester says “today’s leading IT organizations are moving from aligned IT to empowered business technology practices.” Examples:

  • Changing portfolio management to focus on products rather than projects as projects are more narrow in focus which = narrower value
  • Replacing the success metrics to gauge project management “from time, cost, and resources” to “value, capacity and time-to-market metrics.

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