A new year is upon us, and technology continues to evolve at lightning speed. In this month’s article, we’ll take a look at the technology trends to watch in 2017 and how those technology trends align with business leaders’ priorities in the coming year.
Computerworld magazine surveyed professionals across the US and discovered the top five business priorities in the new year to be: improving employee productivity and efficiency, improving customer satisfaction, containing costs, optimizing and automating business processes, and accelerating business processes and agility.
Do you share these priorities? Do you have a plan as to how you will achieve these goals? Below is a list of the technology trends that align with these business priorities. In the months to come, we’ll take a deeper dive into each one.
Technology Trend #1: The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of physical objects that communicate data to one another wirelessly. IoT devices are prevalent in many businesses and homes today. There’s smart thermostats, security cameras and lighting, health tracking devices, even smart pet feeders and smart toothbrushes. They have one thing in common: they collect information. The business opportunities created as a result have incredible potential for improving your business when used in partnership with our next technology trend: big data and business intelligence.
Technology Trend #2: Big Data and Business Intelligence
The partnership between IoT and the “big data” it collects allows business leaders to gather business intelligence about their business. I’ll explore this deeper in a future article, but I want to challenge you to think today, at the start of your new year, about what you’d like to know about your business, what impact it would have on your business to know this information and begin a strategy for collecting it. Regardless of your business size, you can take advantage of the benefits that IoT and big data can provide to your business. Here are some real-world examples provided by McKinsey to get you started:
- Sensor data is being used in industries heavily reliant upon machinery to alert production managers when equipment is wearing down (before it breaks). This enables equipment maintenance to be scheduled, reduces unplanned downtime and can reduce maintenance costs by as much as 40%.
- Auto parts suppliers are using cameras to measure components in smart bins to automatically place supply orders for inventory.
- Self-driving vehicles used in mining have been shown to raise productivity by 25% and cut safety costs by up to 20%.
Technology Trend #3: Cloud and Hosted Services
Cloud computing is not new. Usage, however, is expected to skyrocket this year as more businesses take advantage of IoT and big data. As businesses collect and process increasing volumes of information, the sophistication of the computing equipment required to complete these tasks also increases significantly. The most cost effective way to scale such growth is through the use of cloud-based services. I’ve written about the advantages of cloud-based technologies in the past. I’ll revisit those in a future article in the coming year.
Technology Trend #4: Security
I’m hesitant to refer to security as a technology trend. Security is a critical area that must be addressed by all businesses regardless of how simple or complex your business’ computer infrastructure, and yet it is an area that has historically gone ignored by business leaders. Often security matters are pushed off on the “IT guy” who “handles all of that.”
This past year we saw unprecedented numbers of attacks on computer systems globally with cyber-extortion attacks executed via ransomware being the top security attack facing businesses. In August of 2016, security firm Malwarebytes found that 40% of the businesses it surveyed had experienced a ransomware attack. One-third of those businesses lost revenue as a result of the attack.
Those attacks will continue in 2017, but we anticipate there will be greater efforts being made by IT and business professionals to combat those attacks through user training and efforts to tighten up policies and procedures related to the phenomena known as “shadow IT” where users go rogue and bypass its IT departments to use unapproved technologies that put their business data and environments at risk.
I want to hear from you. What are your business goals for 2017? Is there a technology you want to learn more about this year? Submit your questions and/or suggestions for future columns to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.