Over the past few years, a great many technological innovations promised major tech revolutions in the near future. In 2017, we will witness these innovations entering the mainstream and transforming businesses in a big way. Some of these tech trends have already been in the public domain for some time now, but have largely remained in experimental stages. In the coming months, these tech changes will disrupt the competition among businesses completely and force them to transform their business operations.
AI, Big Data, and Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Big Data are not really well-defined fields. All presently known forms of Artificial Intelligence are massively dependent on Big Data and Machine Learning. The three fields overlap each other so much that there is no clear demarcation between them. Advancements in one of these usually means advancements in the others as well.
Organizations across the world are making use of these technologies to change our very way of living. For instance, machine learning was used to study the early mammography scans of women who later developed breast cancer, and the computer discovered the cancers as much as 52% of the time, sometimes a year before the onset of cancer. Similarly, big data was used to monitor premature babies, and predict infections in them up to 24 hours before they displayed any physical symptoms.
Business Value Metrics
Time and again, IT departments in organizations find themselves at odds with CFOs and CEOs in their attempts to justify the various IT initiatives. The top management usually considers an IT initiative based on its automation potential and consequently, its cost-reduction ability. Business Value Dashboards are one all-encompassing solution for many of the woes of the IT department.
Business Value Dashboards leverage the IT infrastructure and business data to generate comprehensive real-time analytics on the business impact of various IT initiatives. This way, the top management can see for themselves the business value added by every IT initiative, and understand their impact on the bottom line of the organization. Equipped with these dashboards, the CXOs can decide which metrics to focus on. Based on such criteria, the operational team will be empowered to take quick decisions that ensure the optimization of these criteria, thus leaving no room for misunderstanding or miscommunication.
Legacy vs. Innovation
IT department does not get the appreciation it deserves for keeping the entire infrastructure up and running. Ironically, the IT department gets noticed more when things are not working rather than when things are working perfectly. Instead of sulking over it, the industry has simply evolved to adapt to it. It is in the nature of every growing organization’s IT to evolve continuously to stay updated with the latest technology. However, business processes cannot be stalled, and changed instantly across the organization every time the IT infrastructure and its practices need an upgrade. The solution to this is Bimodal IT.
Bimodal IT means retaining the current IT practices while deploying and implementing the latest innovative features, such that the business operations are not affected. Adoption of Bimodal IT principles enables IT teams to seamlessly transform their organizations without affecting its efficiency negatively.
Agility will again be the most loved and most hated buzzword of 2017. Organizations not only need their IT infrastructure to meet all their present technology demands, but also to be agile enough to scale horizontally and vertically as per the varying needs of the organization, with minimum or zero downtime.
Approaching this problem from the hardware point of view means investing loads of money on hardware. Even then, agility is a far cry. When agility is needed, everything needs to be software-defined – the storage, the hardware, and even the networking. SaaS allows organizations to scale up their IT infrastructure horizontally with incredible ease. Software-defined infrastructure is not a cost-cutting solution, but a long term investment that delivers a much better, seamless experience both for the employees as well as the customers.
Internet of Everything
The Internet of Things is already here. Washing machines, home security systems, refrigerators, and other appliances are being connected to the internet to provide a digitally controlled experience for the users. The next step is communication and coordination – between these appliances.
Imagine this. A user switches on the coffeemaker early in the morning and the coffeemaker sends the signal to the water heater in bathroom to heat up the water. Simultaneously, the home computer has collated all the major news articles that morning, and presents them to the user. By the time the user is done with their coffee and reading the news, the water is hot and ready for them to bathe. As the user leaves the bathroom, the toaster receives the signal to begin its job. When the user gets ready to begin their day, the breakfast is already prepared.
All of this coordination and communication is well within the realm of present day technology. During 2017 we will simply witness this technology going popular, powered mainly by reductions in costs of production. The only impediment in its path to mainstream acceptance will be the privacy and security issues.