Macro Technologies are like Energy
Over the course of the past decade, cloud, analytics, and technologies empowering digital experience have steadily disrupted IT operations, business models, and markets. Having gone mainstream, these forces may no longer qualify as ‘trends’. Nevertheless, their impacts cannot be overstated, and their storylines continue to evolve. Recently three new technologies—blockchain, cognitive, and digital reality (AR, VR, IoT, and others)—have been knighted as ‘disruptors’. Today, each is poised to become a distinct macro force respectively. Meanwhile, three fundamental forces enable organizations to harness innovation while maintaining operational integrity: modernizing legacy core systems, transforming the business of technology, and evolving cyber risk strategies beyond security and privacy. The following nine formative forces are the backbone of technology innovation past and present.
While we’re discussing emerging technology trends, is there anything left to say about digital, analytics, and cloud? Yes: despite their ubiquity and proven value, these technologies’ full potential remains largely untapped. Investments in them are often departmental and limited in scope. Likewise, in some companies, initiatives driving analytics, cloud, and digital are disjointed, even competing efforts. And even this old guard of emerging technologies continues to evolve at an astounding pace—in capabilities, in business models, and across broader marketplace dynamics.
Of course, any pursuit of tomorrow’s promise should start from the technical realities of today. Three formative macro forces have proven essential in the pursuit of digital transformation past, present, and future: modernizing core systems, guiding how (and if) existing assets can serve as a foundation for innovation and growth; elevating cyber and the broader risk domain from a compliance-based activity to an embedded, strategic function; and, in a world where the only constant is constant change, reengineering an organization’s technology function to quickly and impactfully deliver against the promise of technologies emerging and existing. Previous editions of Tech Trends have discussed how the business of technology, core modernization, and cyber became trends in their own rights. CIOs and business leaders recognize that in a marketplace being disrupted by rapid-fire innovation, IT must also fundamentally disrupt itself and make strategic decisions about its underlying assets or risk failing at its mission.
Taken together, these nine trends are the macro technology forces that matter. When we talk about technology trends, it is tempting to dismiss broader, more lasting truths and pursue the latest shiny objects. True, today there is nothing about these nine areas that screams ‘stop the presses!’ But just because they are no longer particularly novel doesn’t mean they are not vitally important. In fact, one of the most pressing challenges that technology and business leaders face is how to excavate and harness the value these macro forces can deliver collectively.