Time to spend a good cup of coffee on a Sunday with snow outside and think ahead about things to come in 2015. But in good tradition, lets start to recap 2014´s top predictions and see what did come in to play…
From 2014, clearly most of my predictions about Cloud is business – Cloud enables agility and business innovation came true. First and foremost – not one discussion with a client that did not evolve from cloud to business agility. Actually I would always recommend not thinking too much about a cloud strategy, rather how cloud is a fit to your business strategy.
And needless to say, security – addressing security & privacy is key to build trust in cloud computing has been key. Many though think their on-Premise is more secure – a flaw for many. But nevertheless – security is important thus needs to be addressed. But next to infrastructure elements (check sapdatacenter.com) the questions about what data resides where in a hybrid scenario is even more important. Rip it out and put everything in the cloud, only vendors with no alternative will say that´s the way to go.
As next I would say that the Hybrid cloud – It’s all about the mix companies start to realize that purchasing from too many vendors creates chaos – latest on the COO or CIO level of visibility. While singular line of business want to get their job done, and have the power to swipe their credit card to make a decision – this turns out to be too short sighted. The price often is to be paid just a little later – butr you are on the hook. So having a clear strategy to preserve what works, add where you need faster innovation and have a consistent hybrid strategy – cloud, private cloud AND on-Premise – is key and has come through at companies that look for sustainable future of their business.
Clearly I have been wrong with Networks and Platform. Not because it is not key – just because still too many companies do not understand that they will be disrupted if they not manage their digital transformation faster – and also they need to understand not only their own, but their customers customers better, but hey – can happen in 2015…
Time for the predictions for the year to come, 2015.
1. Digital transformation
It’s clear to see that technology is disruptive. This is precisely why we need to talk about digital transformation. Driven by the combination of ever-growing digitization and evolving consumer demands, digital transformation is the use of new technologies to drive significant business improvements. This includes capitalizing on new opportunities as well as effectively transforming existing business.
Digital transformation means using new technologies to drive significant business improvements. With the ever-growing digitization and evolving consumer demands, all businesses will need to face this challenge.
“Disrupt yourself, or you will be disrupted” – meaning, how you use technology to drive a significant business improvement will be a challenge faced by all businesses in this age of digitization and evolving customer demands. To conquer disruption through Digital Transformation you need the right technologies, leadership strategies and best practices to create opportunities for innovation, which keeps you in business.
And it is very clear that “Today’s decision-makers must become part of the new and evolving digital conversation–or become obsolete.” Successfully navigating the digital transformation is the way to success as the pace of disruption quickens in our technology-driven world. This is what drives many businesses to use a co-innovation approach, because it leads to fast outcomes and the ability to manage transformation in a sustainable way.
Read more in the recently published white paper on Digital transformation here: http://www.slideshare.net/SAPcloud/whitepapaer-conquering-disruption-through-digital-transformation
2. Internet of Things – yes, of course
The Internet of Things (IoT) started as a concept wherein machines and everyday objects are connected, via the internet. The term Internet of Things with no doubt is hyped up – but the essentials remain: it is happening whether you acknowledge it or not.
The key question is what are you going to do about it? Internet of Things use cases are applicable everywhere and help you transform your business and gain competitive advantage. All of these will feature – MONITOR, ANALYZE AND AUTOMATE your business – all in real time.
I also hear agreement that the Internet of things will become the largest device market in the world. While many still think about the “fridge connected to the internet” example, or little more sophisticated – the Thermostat that you can regulate via your smartphone – the real growth will come from sensors on devices in most “things” manufactured and where business can monitor and control the status.
Even more so as this paves the way from a product-oriented approach to a service-oriented approach that will be a key differentiation. The combination of endless data streams from devices and services build around it creates business models around managing, operating and extending – which will be superior to just sell.
We will be entering an era where content itself will become the business. Content will emerge from an extension to the business process, to the business itself – and content nicely fits to a subscription economy, preference for many. Customers look for the right to use and leverage centrally provided data and receive value from services created around it – especially as the smart phone has emerged as the remote control of life – so everything is available at your fingertips.
3. Convergence of big data with consumer data
Many enterprises think that interactions to their direct clients, business to business (B2B), is the string they need to optimize most. But what is unfortunately too often forgotten, it is the knowledge about the customer of your customer where the differentiation comes from. Many disruptions occurred and will occur because in times of a Digital Transformation two clever people can do things where you needed entire enterprises and their respective resources before. So in reality, you are in a business to business to consumer world (B2B2C).
And to survive you need advanced analytic capabilities to capture this opportunity. The context rich world we are seeing will lead to opportunities of sense and respond, of alerting the users and enable them to respond accordingly. So the consumer will be more in control – and analyzing the data around him will make the difference. At the end an “as a service” approach trumps the traditional “product-sell” approach. So better you make your big data plan today.
4. The Hybrid-Cloud is the true Cloud
The convergence of mobile, big data, networks and cloud will continue and foster the speed of innovation. It will provide more elasticity and a “by cloud enriched” environment. But companies need to adjust their public cloud strategy. The mushrooming environment of point solutions has created more chaos, more cost and are too often disconnected with the overall business strategy. Of course, singular line of business benefit – but only short term. And there is no way to “all thinks in cloud” anytime soon.
Ask the COO´s what price companies pay if solutions do not work well orchestrated. So key will be to make sure your cloud strategy is aligned with the business strategy, establishing business best practices that span different deployment models – as this is the fact that will pertain for very much longer. Even more, deployment models as well as the technology in play as such will be secondary to the business outcome to be achieved.
The reality is at it is – customers want to consume at their speed, not at vendors speed, an they want choice. So it is about the right mix between on-Premise installations controlled by the customer, managed private cloud options with out-tasking parts of the infrastructure and work and of course public cloud services. Customer will go away from ad-hoc spending to a more coherent and orchestrated solution set and platform approach.
5. Collaboration in business context trumps “social”
Forget social, even the people with a big marketing spin from the valley have tuned down. Let me quote a client: “how they have set it up not works well… Just another tool, some chats, another stream of thought – not helpful”.
It needs to be about how integrated and how much business context you can deliver. You will need to find your work patterns to optimize your business and especially the collaborative part that follows no simple step-by-step procedures is a huge source of optimization.
The market has educated himself and is clearly about how people will live unwired. They will want to work anywhere, be socially connected from anywhere, be a consumer anywhere – as technology enables people to use their devices anywhere and for nearly everything. There is a growing demand on how people collaborate and communicate with each other – and examples from the private behavior have found their inroads into business. There is not only more comfort in sharing, there is also a need beyond the enterprise to make sure the entire supply and customer chain works better together.
6. Predictive analytics will lead big data
Real-time is not longer enough. Analyze data and identify patterns, so as to predict “what will happen next” will have a big impact on how successful you are. Data driven innovation and decision support will be a key for faster innovation and the right focus on things that matter – to your clients.
Not just entering data into a system and think about how to analyze later, but be guided by the solution for better decisions. Supported by the astounding analytical capabilities – where you can ask any business question you can possible dream of and which as a result enables the user via the system with predictive capabilities, faster and automated business decisions support – resulting in running your business simple.
In essence the transactional backbone has to be ready for the digital company – this means not only that is able to carry out all the transactions (in real time), but also that it can provide all the information in a granular fashion to cater towards the needed Digital Transformation and a new way of support by the solutions designed for it.
As the amount of data, especially generated by the devices increases significantly, business need to analyze, sense and respond to BIG amount of structured and unstructured data inside and outside the enterprise boundaries. To find and define patterns, apply filters to prevent the noise and ultimately to be predictive is the big task ahead and will foster the creation of new services.
7. Mobile wearable technology transforms businesses
Mobile wearable technology becomes fashionable and usable. And even in business the use cases will grow. Mobile leverage enhances and is inextricably related to the transformation of business processes, as we know them. It takes freedom and connectedness further by allowing for greater access. Its role is even growing, with an astounding 50 billion connected devices predicted for 2020. Most solutions are build mobile first – a lot of them now mobile only.
Today people are using the Internet on a daily basis with a variety of devices and environments, from mobile to desktop. They are used to the speed and simplicity of consumer apps. Especially business users, now expect the same ease of use from our business software.
In addition, the consumer apps which people are using reside next to the enterprise apps on their mobile, tablets and desktops – and especially as today the line between doing private and consumer things at work and doing work related things at home is blurred, mobile user experience is the key to unlock more usage.
In the future of mobility we see three key trends: lead with security across mobile applications, deliver high impact industry-centric mobile solutions and deliver premium mobile services.
8. A Platform and orchestration is needed
You need to have a Platform strategy and even a Platform as a Service (PaaS) strategy to succeed with your Digital Transformation. Companies often end up with a cloud landscape where cloud solutions pop up like mushrooms. Many companies are moving away from point solution spending to think about an orchestrated approach on one modern platform.
A clear path converging to one platform over time will be key – minimum top have a clear plan for orchestration. A critical factor will be the ability of this platform to drive innovation as well as provide integration to your existing landscape.
Cloud brokerage will become increasingly important, provided by vendors or other partners. IT departments need to be involved early to ensure quality and decide on the capabilities to manage the different cloud environments with a consistent management framework, tools and user experience.
9. The Networked Economy is here
We are approaching the Networked Economy – fast, simply because the emerging economic order within the today´s information society will be a networked one. Some are stating that the Networked Economy is the next economic revolution – in fact, the revolution is already under way and like any revolution, the Networked Economy is going to have a big impact.
In the coming years, it will offer unprecedented opportunities for businesses and improve the lives of billions worldwide. This is resulting from existing hyper connectivity and enabled by the convergence of the internet, mobile phones, business networks, cloud and big data technologies. This is not just a tech trend but also rather a cultural condition, impacting people and businesses alike, which a future proof organization must harness and adapt to quickly.
Three main trends support this evolution: customer experience, resource optimization and the future of work. Companies will need to find out how to run simple in a complex world.
Customer involvement will soon go beyond sales, service, and marketing – to encompass everything from demand and design to production and delivery. Companies must organize in new ways to respond with speed, consistency, and individualized service.
Physical resources are becoming scarce just as virtual resources are exploding in scale and value. Organizations must learn to track, measure, and manage the virtual environment while minimizing the cost of using physical resources, both to the company and the environment.
Major increases in connectivity let individuals enlist peers to advocate for massive change. Led by the digital natives, many people are reshaping their roles as employees, citizens, and members of society. Just check our findings on the Workforce of 2020 here to find out more.
In the networked Economy, the Business Network will extend business processes that used to stop at the walls of the enterprise. It will fulfill the promise of the real-time global networked economy to reduce complexity without sacrificing sophisticated work.
Also se here for more insights: http://blogs.sap.com/innovation/tag/networked-economy?utm_source=SCN&utm_medium=Blogs&utm_campaign=NetworkedEconomy
10. We will see the beginning of the end of apps
We will see the end of sprawling appearance of apps that just focus on “one thing”, but more sophisticated ones that combine the forces of the Digital Transformation – especially mobile, data and geo-spatial services – and act as an assistant to your life. They know you, they connect with you and other services for your benefit and those digital supportive apps will create an addiction if bridging your private and business life.
As these service are even more ingrained into the smart devices we carry around everywhere and always, this marks the the end of many apps that have been developed before and rest on the last screens of your mobile device – not anymore visible like a Google search on page 5 or so…
The more Google and Apple are including features and functions in their operating systems, the less apps will sustain from other providers. Just check the stats about how many smartphone users do not even download apps, or very few of them.
So, to sum it up let´s best look at a quote: “Over 40% of the companies that were at the top of the Fortune 500 in 2000 were no longer there in 2010.” (Source: Brian Solis’ Future of Business) – a trend we have seen to continue, and will see in the years to come to be the mark for business that did not transform fast enough and did not help the world run simple.
Best take those trends above serious – so you will be able to capitalize on them sooner than your competitors – or “disruptors” will. Looking forward to 2015, will be a hell of a ride.