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7 tech trends set to change business in next 2 years

Deloitte's Tech Trends 2017 report examines seven key trends that are set to revolutionise enterprise technology in the next 18 to 24 months.

The report's theme is kinetic enterprise, which describes “companies that are developing the dexterity and vision required not only to overcome operational inertia but to thrive in a business environment that is, and will remain, in flux.” It describes an era of rapid technology developments in which businesses that don't adapt and adopt risk becoming obsolete.

According to the report, the seven main trends that will transform the business landscape in 2017 and beyond are:

1. Dark analytics

Advances in computer vision and pattern recognition allow companies to plumb the recesses of unstructured data, which may include images, audio, video and information residing in the “deep web.” These tools can unlock powerful strategic and operational insights for businesses in the next level of technology-driven enlightenment.

2. Everything-as-a-service

Services-based ecosystems are becoming increasingly common in business. This model requires open and agile systems, which could provide a business rationale for modernising legacy core systems. From next-generation ERP to “re-platforming” custom back-office applications, everything-as-a-service can help information technology achieve greater efficiencies and lay a foundation for business innovation and growth.

3. Machine intelligence

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are doing more than providing insights and recommendations. Increasingly they are augmenting and automating more complex, mission-critical tasks. This continuum covers cognitive and predictive analytics, bots and robotics process automation — related but distinct disciplines delivering on the broader promise of machine intelligence.

4. IT unbounded

In the past decade, companies have begun to adopt different approaches to managing IT, shifting the IT department's focus from maintenance and support to innovating and enabling business strategy. Businesses are bringing in new technologies and trying to eliminate complexity. They are also breaking down silos across IT and forming new types of relationships with vendors, incubators, and academics.

5. Mixed reality

A blend of augmented reality, Internet-of-Things and virtual reality, the three together offer even greater possibilities for innovation, which many businesses are now exploring and adopting. Deloitte says: “it may be several years before mixed reality’s ultimate end game materializes, the time to begin exploring this dynamic new world—and the digital assets it comprises—is now.”

6. Inevitable architecture

Companies are moving towards a more flexible architecture model, in which they can operate more efficiently, with reduced hardware and labour costs. This involves overhauling their IT landscapes by combining open source, open standards, virtualisation and containerisation, while also automating more processes.

7. Blockchain: trust economy

The possibilities of blockchain in the corporate treasury space are already well known, even if they haven't yet become part of a mainstream product or service. Deloitte's report looks at blockchain in the context of being an enabler of transparency and trust. It states: “In the emerging “trust economy” in which a company’s assets or an individual’s online identity and reputation are becoming both increasingly valuable and vulnerable, this latest use case may be blockchain’s most potentially valuable to date.”

CTMfile take: The annual report begins with a quote from legendary basketball coach John Wooden, who once said, “Failure itself is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” This is a good way of summing up how important it is for companies to keep up with changing technology and adapt to the changes.

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