In 2018, many of the most surprising and valuable events impacting your business will be the result of technology and industry trends that are well underway. Get ready to take advantage of them now, or the business climate and competitive pressures may force your hand. Here’s a quick look at five key and closely related developments with great promise.
#1: The internet of things landslide is just beginning
Pioneering manufacturers and professional services companies have demonstrated a variety of valuable internet of things (IoT) usage scenarios. We will see many other organizations capitalize on IoT opportunities. Analysts confirm that spending on IoT initiatives and IoT-related revenue generation are expected to continue increasing dramatically during the next few years.
Such IoT applications as predictive maintenance and advanced analytics are spreading rapidly and becoming more refined. Businesses are learning from the industry innovators to define and execute their own IoT strategies. We are going to see many more high-potential use cases and ready-to-go solutions for the IoT as information security and business analytics improve and the tools and practices to manage IoT data and devices become more standardized.
#2: Now’s the time to learn about blockchain
Bitcoin will continue to be prominent in the news, especially when its value fluctuations result in spectacular gains for investors who can withstand its volatility. Leading technology companies are already creating exciting applications for the underlying block chain technology. So far, most of these efforts are not widely known, because blockchain is not understood as well as it deserves to be. However, they have the potential to reshape how companies and entire industries operate, and they could also reset the competitive landscape in some markets.
In 2018, many organizations will invest in understanding and exploring blockchain because they don’t want to be left behind. Blockchain initiatives today are comparable to what we saw in the IoT realm a few years ago. The momentum will grow quickly once new usage scenarios and solutions prove to be robust and valuable. Sikich is proud to be involved in collaborating with a few thought and industry leaders to translate the potential of block chain into realistic advantages for the businesses and industries we serve.
#3: We continue to modernize our workplaces
Even compared to just a few years ago, there’s been a revolution in the way we work and communicate. Powerful mobility and deeply integrated business applications have made it easier to collaborate with people anywhere within and outside of your organization, share files and information to work on projects together, meet in virtual reality, and manage projects and initiatives toward your goals. Expect increasingly greater efficiencies and more productivity in more enjoyable, flexible, and rewarding work environments.
The modern workplace will play a key role in helping companies attract and keep the talent that helps them thrive. Businesses that still run static and disparate collaboration, ERP, CRM, and business systems are going to be at a disadvantage in competing and serving customers.
#4: The cloud is where we live
With reliable, fast connectivity available in much of the world, the cloud has become where we work and play. If you use any applications and devices in your personal or professional life, you’re likely in the cloud and possibly oblivious to it most of the time. Organizations and individuals are comfortable using Office 365 and Gmail in the cloud, confiding in the security of the cloud when they share sensitive information. The threshold for trusting other cloud solutions has become very low. At Sikich, we no longer hear the concerns about cloud security and application management we used to. Many cloud-based business management and productivity applications today are as good or better as their on-premise versions. They are usually easier to manage, and innovation comes to cloud apps first – and more frequently.
In 2018, some of the remaining holdouts will join the rest of us in the cloud. Cloud development, analytics, and other tools and practices are going to become more versatile and powerful, enabling workplace modernization, IoT, and innovative technology initiatives. While modular, cloud-based ERP and other cloud-native solutions have set a high bar for the usability and effectiveness of cloud solutions, developers and innovators will quickly surpass it and raise everybody’s expectations for what can be accomplished in the cloud.
#5: Mastering change management is a strategic advantage
When innovation in technology, business models, and industries spreads across our globalized, connected markets, change is inevitable and, all too often and for too many organizations, unpredictable. Companies must determine how they can best position themselves to benefit from it instead of passively experiencing its impacts. That means they have to learn change management as they deliver on their strategies and plan technologies and processes. If they refuse to do so, they are risking obsolescence and loss of control.
Good examples for effective change management are few, but many of the business leaders we talk to are creating models and implementing practices that are based on change as a force that propels a company forward. Still, businesses struggle with this. Change management initiatives have to overcome years of organizational gravity before they gain the companywide support that can produce results.
Sikich team members are helping companies manage and drive change, using technology and business applications. Working on your behalf, we can be the change agents that help your organization make the right decisions and build technology platforms that let them prosper from change.
Strategic change management may involve the IoT, the cloud, workplace modernization, or emerging technologies like block chain. If you’re looking for expert assistance in helping your company thrive through 2018 and beyond, we should connect. Send me a note at Lee.House@sikich.com to get started.