Technology has permeated virtually every facet of business today. Artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and even cryptocurrencies have arrived to transform organisational strategies. But, even though some of these have yet to become part of generally accepted business practice, thoughts are already turning to what next year holds in terms of innovation.
An interesting concept coined by Gartner is that of the intelligent digital mesh. Essentially, this refers to the ‘entwining of people, devices, content, and services.’ These are enabled by digital models, business platforms, and an intelligent set of services that support digital business.
It is this focus on digital that takes the foundation lain by many companies over the past 12 months to a more integrated level. The mesh also reflects the importance of reinventing the organisation in a digital way. While there is a temptation to think of it as a ‘rip-and-replace’ way of doing things, decision-makers must embrace more nuanced approaches that assist in becoming digitally-led.
Much of this focus should be on the development of immersive experiences that combine what is happening in the online world with products and services in the real world. The extent at which people, businesses, devices, content, and services are already linked, mean a business must look at solutions that assist in making sense of these connections and the associated data it generates.
If the past 18 months have shown us one thing, then it is the reluctance to start accepting content-sharing at face value. The rise in fake news and people generally tending to share information from dubious sources will likely lead to a return on more media-centric networking.
This will help traditional media organisations build momentum and become more prevalent in news feeds. Of course, this also means that the relevance of content will become even more important than before. Organisations must be able to develop specific content (and solutions) that cater for all their stakeholders. Sharing and liking give way to engagements and discussions.
It is expected that AI (or machine-learning) will become more integrated into company processes and systems. Instead of replacing jobs, this will result in a more automated way of improving efficiencies giving people the opportunity to refine their skills and become specialists (with generalist expertise).
Having machine-learning part of the work environment means much of the administrative-heavy functions will be automated. Employees can then take that and introduce a level of sophistication to things like analysis and reporting that they were unable to do before due to time constraints and other limitations.
Irrespective of whether it is upcoming trends or existing ones, businesses must be willing to embrace those relevant to the strategic objectives of the organisation. It is pointless to implement ‘shiny new toys’ when there is no business case for it or it does not add significant value.
Refining existing systems while adopting new ones and using this hybrid environment to continually innovate should be the basis for 2018 and preparing for its shifts.