Although I’m not a professional futurist, it’s hard not to notice commonalities found through hundreds of conversations with diverse teams and individuals who are busy defining new technology businesses. The following five interrelated trends are rapidly changing the face of business by disrupting existing models:
Deepening Reliance on Technology – That observation certainly won’t garner any futurist credentials because it’s so obvious. This reliance first began decades ago with large enterprises, but now even the smallest incorporate multiple forms of technology to increase their efficiency and effectiveness. As their technology consumption increases, their influence on the evolution of new technologies will continue to increase.
Ubiquity and Mobility Enables Distributed Operations – This second trend may be having the most profound impact. If you’re seeking an opportunity to form a new business, examine businesses that remain highly centralized and ask, “What if we broke this into parts that communicated with each other and were accessible by mobile devices?” You’ll find that opportunities abound in industries as diverse as utilities, healthcare, and manufacturing, to name a few.
Loosely Coupled Systems Reign – The decades-long conflict over the efficiency of deeply integrated systems versus the flexibility of modular systems is over, and the winner is… both. Distribution of function across reusable modules delivers economies of reuse. Loosely coupled systems employ newer web-based connection mechanisms that allow rapid communication while avoiding dependencies that slow development.
Discovering Trusted Vendors is Easier – Large enterprises have maintained their dominance for decades because of their reach across diverse geographies and economic domains. Better solutions from smaller companies have eventually been acquired by companies could successfully sell into the huge bases of customers who’d grown to trust them. Finding a trusted vendor now has evolved into searching the world for products and services that match our requirements, and trust can be built based on massive and readily available customer ratings.
Centralized IT is Becoming Irrelevant to Business Units – While a highly respected friend’s belief that IT groups will disappear may be overstated, their impact on business priorities will continue to diminish. Technology has become so central to business units that they risk falling behind competitors if they wait or look for direction from IT – the issue is too central to their success to tolerate delegating it.
These trends and their effects are intertwined, reinforcing, and multiplicative. Awareness of them provides a context for evaluating new business initiatives as well as the life expectancy of existing enterprises.
For 30 years Bob Barker was a software industry senior executive who created partnerships, formulated product strategy, and executed acquisitions for billion-dollar companies and startups. As a trusted CEO advisor with 20/20 Outlook LLC, he creates breakout strategies and growth-accelerating partnerships for visionary CEOs. http://www.2020outlook.com/blog/
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