5 Trends to Watch in 2017

Gartner predicts that by 2020, 75% of enterprise organizations will be investing in custom technology applications that support digital transformation. To remain competitive in today’s marketplace, business leaders must encourage innovation and endeavor to develop the next round of industry-disrupting solutions.

The recent impact of social media, the Internet of Things, Cloud technology, mobile applications, and Big Data and advanced analytics highlights the importance of studying emerging trends. Ignoring them – or even failing to appreciate them until it’s too late – leaves an organization vulnerable to more aggressive competitors and new startups.

So what’s next for digital innovation? Design Thinking, digital platforms, Virtual Reality, blockchain technology, and Artificial Intelligence – these domains are widely predicted to redefine our world in the next four years:

Design Thinking

Design is not only about what a product or platform looks and feels like, but also how it works. More and more, brands are becoming defined by the experiences and interactions they share with their customers. This means the user experience presents a huge opportunity for differentiation in commoditized industries like fintech, retail, and other sectors experiencing massive digital disruption.

Experience design will continue to rapidly evolve as traditional interfaces make way for voice interfaces or biometric interfaces or even cognitive and neurological interfaces. What will not change is this: in the hearts and minds of consumers, no single feature or benefit will ever outweigh convenience and usability.

In the hearts and minds of consumers, no single feature or benefit will ever outweigh convenience and usability.

Digital Platforms

Facebook, Snapchat, Uber, Airbnb – these are just few of today’s digital platforms that have disrupted traditional industries and created new business models seemingly overnight. To succeed in the era of digital transformation, it is important to create and own digital experiences, which often involves building your own “space” on the web. In the near future, there will be a great shift from pipes to platforms to enable interactions between producers and consumers. As digitization increases, businesses with their own platforms will transform their respective industries.

Virtual Reality

Until recently, Virtual Reality (VR) lived in the imagination of Hollywood filmmakers and was a point of inspiration for science fiction writers. Now, with advanced technology and improvements to computer-generated environment, VR is on the cusp of becoming a part of daily life.

Today, most VR is restricted to headsets like HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear, and Google Daydream View for the purposes of entertainment or gaming, but that will begin to shift in 2017. In fact, many enterprises have already started to experiment with virtual spaces. There is enormous potential to transform industries, including medicine, retail, education, engineering, and more, by combining video, audio, graphics, and realistic special effects to create an immersive Virtual Reality experience.

Blockchain Technology

Already a key consideration for enterprises in the financial services industry, blockchain technology is considered by many experts to be a disruptive force with the potential to transform not only the world’s financial system, but also government, healthcare, and other heavily regulated industries.

Bloomberg says, “The cost of settling trades in the finance industry runs as high as $80B a year. If each transaction that requires human verification is included, the figure is much larger. With digital ledgers, it would be a fraction of that. Not to mention the time taken would drop from days to minutes, or hours at most…”

A relatively new approach to security, blockchains rely on decentralization and immutability to protect data. In addition to fintech, blockchains are also particularly applicable in the sharing economy and IoT, where security is of increasing concern, and considered a good system for distributing computing workloads, which would impact infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers as well as providers of other Cloud services.

Artificial Intelligence

Last but not least, Artificial Intelligence (or AI) is a popular buzzword and widespread phenomenon, especially in industries that have already been transformed by machine automation. AI will not only introduce new sources of growth and enable cost savings, but also change our perception of work and daily tasks.

Artificial Intelligence will change our perception of work and daily tasks.

While the first disruptors were driven by smartphones and Cloud technology, the next ones are likely to be summoned by AI. In a world of universal connectivity, Artificial Intelligence is unlocking the power of data in real-time and removing the need for human interaction for applications like driverless cars.

Leading the charge for this change will be those companies, which will be able to improve services and products faster than organizations relying on legacy technology. Tech giants like Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon are already building AI solutions, which illustrates the potential competitive advantage this technology represents for enterprise organizations.

Soon every digital system will be measured on its cognitive abilities. Like Experience design prioritizes human convenience and usability, AI and cognitive computing will lead a revolution that brings us closer to digital humanism.

Once you begin introducing significant digital investments to your business, the process is continuous and a digital mindset starts to naturally take shape. The first step is simply to start. Technology is developing rapidly, and if you wish to remain relevant for years to come, now is the time to embrace digital transformation.

Looking for more insights on technology, innovation, and industry disruption in the new year? Take a look at our guide exploring “Digital Strategies for Future-Proofing Your Business in 2017.”