The rapidly shifting technology environment raises serious questions on how to help their companies capitalize on the transformation under way. Advancing technologies and their swift adoption are upending traditional business models. So, today we bring you Five Hottest Tech-Enabled Business Trends in 2017.
- Distributed co-creation moves into the mainstream
In the past few years, the ability to organize communities of Web participants to develop, market, and support products and services have moved from the margins of business practice to the mainstream.
Companies are extending their reach by using the Web for word-of-mouth marketing. P&G’s Vocalpoint network of influential mothers is a leading example. Similarly, Facebook has marshaled its community for product development. The leading social network recently recruited 300,000 users to translate its site into 70 languages—the translation for its French-language site took just one day. The community continues to translate updates and new modules.
Finally, an organization must gain a high level of trust within a Web community to earn the engagement of top participants.
- Collaboration at scale
Across many economies, the number of people who undertake knowledge work has grown much more quickly than the number of production or transactions workers. There is broad interest in collaboration technologies that promise to improve workers’ efficiency and effectiveness. While the body of knowledge around the best use of such technologies is still developing, a number of companies have conducted experiments, as we see in the rapid growth rates of video and Web conferencing, expected to top 20 percent annually during the next few years.
Last month, Amazon Web Services launched Chime, cloud-based software designed to let business customers make voice or video calls, converse in chat rooms, and hold web conferences from their mobile or desktop devices. It will compete with the likes of Microsoft and Cisco who have a strong foothold in this space.
- The growing ‘Internet of Things’
Embedded with sensors, actuators, and communications capabilities, objects will soon be able to absorb and transmit information on a massive scale and, in some cases, to adapt and react to changes in the environment automatically. These “smart” assets can make processes more efficient, give products new capabilities, and spark novel business models.
As standards for safety and interoperability begin to emerge, some core technologies for the Internet of Things are becoming more widely available. The range of possible applications and their business impact have yet to be fully explored.
Globally, India is the third largest startup ecosystem with nearly 500 IoT startups. IoT analytics platform providers such as Petasense and IQLect, sound based encrypted money transfer by ToneTag and IIT Chennai incubated speech technology startup Uniphore were some of the names in the funding news.
- Experimentation and big data
Big Data capturing and analyzing information is widely available at ever-lower price points. But many companies are taking data use to new levels, using IT to support rigorous, constant business experimentation that guides decisions and to test new products, business models, and innovations in customer experience.
Web-based companies, such as Amazon.com, eBay, and Google, have been early leaders, testing factors that drive performance—from where to place buttons on a Web page to the sequence of content displayed—to determine what will increase sales and user engagement. In some cases, the new approaches help companies make decisions in real time. This trend has the potential to drive a radical transformation in research, innovation, and marketing.
Another example in in UK’s leading grocer Tesco. This brick-and-mortar retailer gathers transaction data on its ten million customers through a loyalty card program. It then uses the information to analyze new business opportunities—for example, how to create the most effective promotions for specific customer segments—and to inform decisions on pricing, promotions, and shelf allocation.
- Imagining anything as a service
Technology now enables companies to monitor, measure, customize, and bill for asset use at a much more fine-grained level than ever before. Asset owners can therefore create services around what have traditionally been sold as products. Business-to-business (B2B) customers like these service offerings because they allow companies to purchase units of a service and to account for them as a variable cost rather than undertake large capital investments. Consumers also like this “paying only for what you use” model, which helps them avoid large expenditures, as well as the hassles of buying and maintaining a product.
Consumer acceptance of Web-based cloud services for everything from e-mail to video is of course becoming universal, and companies are following suit. Innovating in services, where the end user is an integral part of the system requires a mind-set fundamentally different from the one involved in designing products. For instance, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation is an end-to-end solution for project-based businesses developed on an everything-as-a-service delivery framework. This framework enables organizations to leverage resources and skillsets across multiple modes of service including self-service, assisted service, field service and project service automation, and provides the ability to manage the customer service delivery model through unified contracts and centralized customer engagement.
These trends transcend technology and provide a map of the terrain for creating value and competing effectively in these challenging and uncertain times.