Sluggish manufacturing activities and consumer spending are just some signs of an upcoming global recession, underscoring the critical need to innovate and differentiate under resource limitations. Amid these stormy economic conditions, IT companies need to reposition their technology strategies to steady the ship and deliver on business outcomes.
It’s not all bad news, however. New technologies such as robotics and machine learning are maturing just in time to give businesses the productivity boost they need. In the right hands, these can spur innovations that will boost revenue by enabling business leaders to accomplish more with less.
Mastery of these technologies, however, will require a keen understanding of the factors shaping enterprise requirements and growth opportunities. We ask our Foundry Influencer community of experts about the new technologies that caught their eye and how they will leverage these to capture growth opportunities.
The democratisation of technology
The arrival of next-generation technology that will shape virtually all businesses within the foreseeable future isn’t just popping up overnight. According to Sridhar Iyengar, Managing Director of Zoho Europe, providers of AI products and services have been working on their offerings for well over a decade. “Last year, we finally released the first no-code design studio within the online productivity tools and SaaS applications space. This will allow businesses to customise their CRM and build chatbots without writing any code,” he says.
Similar products and services continue to democratise the tech process, allowing non-professionals to participate in fraud detection, sales and business forecasting, customer experience improvements, and other high-level activities—and to do so with lesser risk and greater efficiency. The proliferation of open code and citizen development platforms means that from here on, low-code no-code functions will multiply exponentially.
Cybersecurity to protect against new risks
That said, business leaders would be well advised to look before they leap. As the owner of a SaaS provider company himself, Iyengar urges business owners to “carefully evaluate all providers to ensure that they offer comprehensive security that covers both the preservation of company and customer data”. Proactive rather than reactive measures are necessary for businesses to constantly move forward, especially in a hyper-competitive environment where staying put is akin to moving backward.
Kieran Gilmurray, CEO of Digital Automation and Robotics Limited, seconds Iyengar’s point, stressing the importance of not just selecting the right program, but implementing it the right way.
“A poorly implemented security program is a nuisance at best, a threat at worst.”KIERAN GILMURRAY
Having customers and colleagues waste time navigating your program defeats its purpose. However, as firms connect more devices to the internet, they must also guard against rising levels of threat,” he explains.
Technology trend predictions for 2023
Both the democratisation of technology and the need for airtight cybersecurity apply universally to upcoming tech developments, designed to expedite current processes but also present new risks as businesses navigate uncharted waters. In light of these landscape considerations, Gilmurray highlights three key technological developments for businesses to pay close attention to:
Tech trend #1: 5G and 6G
Even as 5G networks are being tested and implemented, governments and tech business leaders are already having discussions on its successor 6G to stay ahead of the curve. But no matter how things pan out, low latency and high bandwidth will be the order of future businesses. This will usher in an era of Work from Mobile, where any connected device or individual can work securely from anywhere.
Tech trend #2: Edge
Edge will transform clockwork-like machines into flexible, contextual, and spatially sensitive tools that adapt and adjust to their surroundings as well as business needs. Some of the upsides that companies can look forward to include the maximisation of machine production uptime, reduction in health and safety risks, real-time patient monitoring, as well as greater efficiency and accuracy in supply chain coordination and inventory management.
Tech trend #3: Conversational business applications
AI-infused customer service models can help businesses create personalised customer experiences by means of conversations. Conversational business applications can deliver real-time reports on customer experience strategy through AI insights and analytics. This means weeding out the inherent problem of fraud that is plaguing the customer service industry, aligning better with compliance and training standards, as well as reducing operational costs.
Joe Baguley, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, EMEA of VMware, echoes Gilmurray’s predictions.
“What’s driving these developments is AI.”Joe Baguley, VMware
“5G and edge go hand-in-hand from a strategy perspective, especially around how the technology is becoming more distributed and how that distributed technology is being connected. And what’s driving these developments is AI. Businesses need to move quickly to stay ahead of fast-paced markets, and that means having the data to be acted on and inferences to be made at the point of collection instead of back to the data centre is key,” explains Baguley.
Pacing development with technology adoption
The proliferation of technology has been so far-reaching that it has even penetrated industries like arts and manufacturing—places that were once thought to be inseparable from human labour and creativity. AI-generated paintings and laser-printed ceramics, as well as hybrid labour and remote-first processes, are just some examples of how human presence in art studios and factories might become less of a necessity in the coming years.
As Aldo Ceccarelli, CIO at SEDAMYL, puts it: “The human factor is anything but marginal in the future of work”. But transitioning to this AI-integrated future will be a bumpy road ahead. For manufacturing, in particular, finding the right brains that can solve the problems of remapping commodity impact and balancing between global and local sourcing will be key.
Indeed, the temptation to jump into the cloud, low-cost sensors, IoT solutions, and other shiny new technology can be hard to resist. But as Nicki Doble, Chief Transformation Officer of AIA Philippines, says, “We have to remember that it takes time to introduce new technology, for change to take place, and for benefits to be seen. Just as when agile methodologies were first introduced, few businesses did it correctly in the beginning. However, once large-scale adoption took place, it became a game changer for many enterprises.”
Does IT innovation have to be disruptive? Jason Conyard, CIO of VMware, certainly thinks the term “innovation” is overused. In this podcast, he focuses on what’s really required–a change in mindset instead of just transformation in technology—and how creativity, trust, and diversity are what we should talk about when using the term innovation.
- Jason Conyard
- Yadin Porter de León