6 Technology trends for 2018: Innovation focused on your digital journey

1. Re-platforming the enterprise

In 2018, we’ll see an aggressive move to common IT platforms so companies can respond to market changes faster, be more productive and make better-informed decisions. These common platforms are rich in analytics, follow the information flow of the business and are simple enough that users can constantly change the business without writing (much) code. Moreover, they bring an operational and evergreen scale to traditionally bespoke enterprise IT.

These common platforms — from Amazon, Microsoft, Google and others — provide very suitable if not substantially improved replacements for what used to be custom builds.

“This is about the technology you need, not the technology you make,” emphasizes Dan Hushon, CTO of DXC Technology.

Common platforms enable companies to shift their customization efforts from infrastructure to applications and the user experience, which is where the action is.

Another bonus: Moving to common platforms frees up talent and working capital for differentiated services — where differentiation comes from the information you provide in context to customers, partners and employees for new and better outcomes and experiences.

Platforms will provide not only a foundation to improve processes, but also telemetry and insights. For smart adopters, we may see twofold to fivefold business acceleration.

2. The war for digital talent is vigorous and creative

Re-platforming the enterprise portends a major shift in talent, from operating computers to using multiple skills for information integration, analytics and governance.

These digital skills are incredibly scarce and demand is high. Companies will be fighting for people with digital skills to make the transition to common platforms and to drive disruptive change. So how can we get increased scale from a finite talent pool? And how do we maximize the productivity of the talent we already have?

The quick answer? We’ll use common platforms and a concentrated partner strategy to source experienced talent.

In 2018, companies will leverage team-based, distributed workplace platforms that use machine learning, intelligent automation, natural language processing and other technologies to drive productivity.

In addition, expect to see a rise in creative ways to access talent, described in Unleashing Digital Talent for Fun and Profit, by DXC Technology’s Leading Edge Forum:

  • Crowdsourcing — tapping talent outside your company to engage just-in-time talent
  • Bring your own teams (BYOT) — hiring entire teams at once
  • Incubators — creating or sponsoring organizations or spaces that support startups
  • Strategic acquihires — buying entire companies for their talent

Talent will decide who wins and loses in the next decade.

3. Quantified enterprise: Stop guessing and start measuring

Last year we predicted the rise of intelligent machines. We got that right; today business decision makers say artificial intelligence (AI) is pivotal to their organization’s future success. In 2018, companies will harness the “data exhaust” from their digital systems to quantify the business and become even more productive. This quantification will emerge as a primary driver of digital transformation.

Forced to rethink big data, companies will use advanced machine learning to make better decisions with less data. Call it: “The rise of intelligent decision making.”

The best companies are over 40 percent more productive than their peers — leading to operating margins 30 to 50 percent higher. So the potential benefits are huge. When it comes to determining what affects productivity, companies will stop guessing and start measuring. They’ll start shifting from making decisions based mostly on stories and gut feelings, to making decisions based on experiments and measured results.

The first opportunities will be the often-dysfunctional business processes that bring so much friction to productivity and revenue realization.

4. Businesses get stronger through cyber resilience

In the past, companies tried to create perfect security, but today security is viewed not as binary but as a continuum. In 2018, enterprises will focus on getting their resilience as high as possible to withstand attacks and threats. That means planning and practicing for such threats, because they will happen. The common practice will be continuous evaluation and improvement of risk posture.

Added to resiliency is the notion of antifragility, which means getting strongerwhen attacks happen — not just surviving the attack. You get stronger from practicing and responding. You use what you’ve learned to make yourself stronger the next time around.

With the many destabilizers facing enterprises today — cyber attacks, natural disasters, vendor failures, human error, mergers and acquisitions — enterprises must work to become ever-more resilient by applying continuous improvement to productivity, differentiation and the resiliency of the business itself.

5. Companies grow through digital business extensions

The digital core will provide enterprises with an information-rich, scalable foundation. In 2018, companies will grow by leveraging that information and scale, extending their digital capabilities into every facet of the organization — as well as into new markets and new businesses — through digital business extensions.

Amazon’s journey – from online bookseller to online-everything marketplace, to cloud platform, to online- and offline-everything platform, including groceries – is not about a company being irrationally greedy and trying to put a finger in every pie. It is a story of smart digital extensions. In other words, Amazon can run some of those businesses better because of its digital capabilities.

GE’s big plans for the industrial internet of things and its Predix platform can also be seen as a digital business extension.

To make the right digital extensions, companies need a “strategic backflow” from digital capabilities to corporate strategy. This backflow must be embedded in strategic planning rather than based on heroic behaviors, water cooler conversations and special relationships.

That means ensuring that corporate strategy and, ideally, all functional strategies (e.g., marketing, manufacturing, logistics) have mechanisms to consider digital extensions. Ask: “What can I do now?” and “What should I do next?”

Let’s let the digital tail wag the corporate dog, at least a little, in 2018 and beyond.

6. Artificial intelligence gets smarter and more practical

For all of these technology trends, artificial intelligence (AI) will determine the long-term winners and losers. In the past, people were not building AI with the right goals in mind, but that will change in 2018 as companies become more information-driven and use neural networks for continuous learning and productivity.

A big bastion of AI deployment is IoT, because it generates so much information. Other rich areas for AI advances include employee information systems and processes, clinical health advisement systems and IT service management (managing millions of computers is untenable for humans).

Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs), a class of artificial neural networks, will evolve and trigger an explosion of opportunities:

  • Very Deep CNNs will push computer vision and natural language processing (NLP) to achieve emotional intelligence with end-to-end conversation capabilities.
  • CNNs will open new opportunities in fields such as system-driven drug synthesis models, leading to cost-effective drug discovery.
  • Improvements in NLP will lead to automated content generation.

AI will continue to redefine what is sci-fi and what is reality. AI is here to help people do better. But rest assured, AI will not be self-aware anytime soon.

With the right roadmap and these guideposts, companies can succeed on their digital transformation journeys in 2018 and beyond.

Source: DXC-6 Technology trends for 2018: Innovation focused on your digital journey

Advertisements

C-suite roles in reducing the risk of innovation

While vendors are very excited about the amazing possibilities of the huge tsunami of new technology, executives who lead organisations need to balance embracing the new technology with the realities of the risks they may be running. Most organisations will have to embrace the new technologies to drive their organisations forward or to defend them from competitors so a level of risk is unavoidable.

The desire to use new technologies is often expressed as the need to innovate, or with a question about cloud, the internet of things (IOT) or one of the other marketing terminologies. We have a unique confluence of opportunity:

· An eye-watering amount of new technology opening up new business opportunities

· Cloud based services are changing the outsource model cost profile, allowing organisations to move faster but also reduces the capital requirement barrier for new business entrants

· A tidal wave of new providers

· A change in the risk as technology is now an integral part of every organisation.

The ultimate success, like so much in business, is a combination of foresight, planning, hard work with an element of luck and good timing. In summary:

The Digital Strategy is owned by the CEO and changes the way the business operates.

· Innovation won’t just happen; it needs to be an integral part of the organisation.

· Leverage the risk assessment process to support innovation and the digital strategy implementation.

· Outsourcing arrangements must support the customer-centric digital strategy.

Innovation Wanted

There is so much opportunity now, the risk is that we will place our bets, or invest our innovation budget on the wrong things. Senior executives are asking the CIO for a Digital Strategy. In those cases, it’s often thought that the Digital Strategy is just the IT Strategy under another name. The most successful organisations in this space recognise that the Digital Strategy is a business strategy, owned by the CEO and implemented by the CIO, CFO, CMO and other C suite executives depending on the industry.

The Digital Strategy will change the way the organisation operates. It demands that the organisation be customer centric rather than product centric. It will change the organisation structure to reduce silos and to become much more collaborative. That will require a change of accepted behaviours by leaders and staff. These are not minor changes, but necessary if the organisation is to leverage the opportunities and prepare itself for disruption. Travelex has talked about the journey of change it is on. Thinking like a start-up is the battle cry.

The Digital Strategy will also be under regular review. In the strategy, there must be a roadmap of technologies under research, ready to be abandoned if they prove ineffective, or irrelevant. Here, having a realistic assessment of the vendors and their ability to execute is really important. We also recommend that there is a second technology roadmap of technologies to watch.

Those that are further away, but may prove useful when they are developed enough to test. In this case, both these roadmaps are at the organisation level and the evaluation team is made up with relevant business and technical interests. These are our suggestions for the two roadmaps:

Trialling Technology

  • Cloud
  • Software Defined Architectures & Networks, Network Virtualisation
  • Agile
  • DevOps
  • Software Defined Storage
  • Advanced 3D printing Materials
  • Analytics
  • Adaptive Security Architectures

Watched Technology

  • The Device Mesh
  • Cognitive, AI & Advanced Learning Systems
  • Ambient User Devices
  • IoT & IoT Platforms
  • Quantum Processing

Most organisations are entering this field for the first time. So how can we ‘de-risk’ this approach?

Innovation Derisked

Organisations have risk assessment and auditing of risk functions. Rather than being seen as the ‘policeman’ of the organisation, this is a chance to re-constitute them as an enabler of great decisions.

As this is a paradigm shift in technology with many ‘start-up’ companies, there is a greater need to assess the vendors as part of the risk assessment. We were last at this level of new opportunities around 1999; so many managers have not experienced this level of risk. Tenured CIOs deal with it regularly. Understanding the organisation’s risk appetite, as is applies to a particular initiative, is important. A particular concern is that many well respected IT players who would not normally be subject to an in depth risk assessment are themselves entering new markets and so provide potentially a larger risk now. They may fail, or change direction. So past reputation is no guarantee of future success.

An organisation’s change of direction, of reorganisation, of opening up new markets need to be subjected to reasonable risk assessment, particularly for public companies with share prices and public reputations to protect and investment analysts to satisfy. Engaging the PR people, to work with the risk people and the technology leaders, would be a sensible approach to explain the new direction and its benefits to investors.

Cyber security and information security are really hot topics these days. While the assumption in many organisations this is well managed, research and public embarrassment indicates that it’s not. Some technologies such as the IOT are particularly vulnerable at this stage of their development. Technologies may be used to reduce risk incidences by better managing the process. Intelligent Network Solutions promise to give far greater visibility and control but more importantly they will enable automation of functions thereby reducing the chances of outages due to human error.

Whether the vendor is a provider of software or platform as a service, applications or wide ranging cloud services, the ultimate success of delivering the strategy will be the quality of the services, the business outcomes they deliver and the time to market that drives the business initiatives.

Innovation Delivered

Outsourcing in some form or other in IT had been around for many decades, but there are still far too many instances where it has not delivered on expectations. The need to be flexible, to innovate coupled with the fact that many organisations have fully outsourced their technology, a customer-centric digital strategy adds another layer of complexity over an already complex situation. Some organisations, such as Astra Zeneca have re-insourced.

Traditional IT outsourcing companies are increasingly cancelling and renewing contracts at the moment to bring forward or secure future revenue. This gives their customers a better negotiating situation, as the Outsourcer, who wants to protect or increase revenue, negotiates with the customer who wants to change direction.

As the vendor becomes more of an integral part of the business, it is important to establish a strategic partner relationship with key vendors. The vendor wants to increase revenue, the customer needs the vendor to stay in business. The vendor is also developing the product or service that the customer hopes will bring some innovative solutions for the business. Some leading organisations have supplier strategy conferences where they open up their business strategy to strategic vendors and learn what the vendors have planned.

Most outsourcing contracts want innovation. Innovation adds risk to the outsourcer as any change, affects the cost model. One way of approaching this is innovation is on a shared benefit basis. This requires a sensible relationship and an element of trust with both parties, but is well worth the effort. Mandating a number of innovative ideas per month or per year often does not generate ideas of quality because the vendors usually do not understand enough about the customer’s business or future plans to provide enough real innovation.

One of the notable situations, is that efficiencies found in the rest of industry are not yet common in the outsourcing industry. It is well worth looking much closer at the potential outsourcing vendor to see whether they are using some of the newer efficiency techniques such as Software Defined Networks, Network Virtualisation, Agile Development, Cognitive Systems and ‘End-to-End’ Management tools. Many of the countries where labour costs are lower are not using efficiencies as they can put more staff on an activity. While this is a cost savings to the vendor, one of the key drivers for outsourcing is time to market – to be able to do things quicker with the vendor than an organisation can do on its own.

Whether the outsourcing partner is a traditional or cloud supplier, most are talking about their cloud solution and the path to the future. Traditional outsourcing contracts are often too long, and inflexible when the business changes. So shorter contracts with clear, business or outcome oriented Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) are required. Certainly, no-one signs the vendor contract without agreeing how the performance will be governed and measured. With a cloud contract, it’s more difficult. Contract financials are more flexible as customers only pay for the resources required and resources can be stood up or removed in a very short time frame. Organisations are opting more for a Hybrid solution utilising Public and Private Cloud and typically will use between 2 to 4 vendors to supply the services so strong Governance, Transparency, and Performance measurement are more difficult to achieve. The customer’s risk is increased.

The C level Trinity that runs most organisations has different priorities but must come together for success. The CEO provides the vision and direction to drive the organisation forward. The CFO reviews the investment potential of new initiatives and manages the risks to the organisation. The CIO delivers on the innovative vision from the technology standpoint and is often the futurologist for the organisation. Others are involved, but for sustainable success, these three roles need to be fully engaged.

Source: enterpriseinnovation.net-C-suite roles in reducing the risk of innovation

Chief innovation officers need friends in high places

Hyatt, Merck and Nestlé Purina execs explain their business processes for innovation and detail why backing from on high is important.

Innovation has become a fixture of the C-suite agenda as stories of innovation labs, digital disruption and failure funerals become commonplace. But the dirty little secret about innovation is this: Cultural transformation — from business-as-usual to something much more experimental — can take years, if it happens at all.
In some cases, established organizations are hiring executives to lead the innovation charge. These chiefs of innovation are often tasked with shaking up the culture by ushering out the old way of doing things and introducing new processes, products and business models. They aren’t, in other words, getting their hands dirty with legacy technology or information management systems, but they are taking on what many executives — IT leaders included — consider to be a tough assignment: change management.

Jeff Semenchuk of Hyatt Hotels, Srikant Gopal formerly of Nestlé Purina and Cathryn Gunther of Merck are three examples of innovation leaders. Each is working to build an innovation culture within well-established companies in an effort to combat the Ubers of their industries and remain competitive. And they’ve learned a thing or two along the way, like this little nugget for the innovation uninitiated: Innovation is a spectrum that ranges from incremental improvements for established products or processes, to complete transformation or disruption of a business model.

At December’s Chief Innovation Officer Summit in New York City, each of these leaders shared insights on how they are injecting innovation into their workplaces.

Read more at: TechTarget-Chief innovation officers need friends in high places by Nicole Laskowski

Chief innovation officers need friends in high places

Hyatt, Merck and Nestlé Purina execs explain their business processes for innovation and detail why backing from on high is important.

Innovation has become a fixture of the C-suite agenda as stories of innovation labs, digital disruption and failure funerals become commonplace. But the dirty little secret about innovation is this: Cultural transformation — from business-as-usual to something much more experimental — can take years, if it happens at all.

In some cases, established organizations are hiring executives to lead the innovation charge. These chiefs of innovation are often tasked with shaking up the culture by ushering out the old way of doing things and introducing new processes, products and business models. They aren’t, in other words, getting their hands dirty with legacy technology or information management systems, but they are taking on what many executives — IT leaders included — consider to be a tough assignment: change management.

Jeff Semenchuk of Hyatt Hotels, Srikant Gopal formerly of Nestlé Purina and Cathryn Gunther of Merck are three examples of innovation leaders. Each is working to build an innovation culture within well-established companies in an effort to combat the Ubers of their industries and remain competitive. And they’ve learned a thing or two along the way, like this little nugget for the innovation uninitiated: Innovation is a spectrum that ranges from incremental improvements for established products or processes, to complete transformation or disruption of a business model.

At December’s Chief Innovation Officer Summit in New York City, each of these leaders shared insights on how they are injecting innovation into their workplaces.

Read more at: TechTarget-Chief innovation officers need friends in high places by Nicole Laskowski