We live in a truly fascinating world with lots of new opportunities. In fact, the world’s appetite for technology is at an unbelievable high, and the speed at which technology is being consumed is at a stage we have never seen before, with 1 million additional users on Facebook every week, 1 million iPads sold in 28 days, and more than a billion tweets.
We are at a new inflection point. This is an era of focusing on people. It is about empowering people, not just because consumers today have unbelievable power because they demand goods and services the way they want, or want to work the way they want, but also because they have a voice. With the appearance of connectivity, every single one of your customers has a very strong voice that can reach millions of other people. It means that we are empowering individuals either as consumers or as employees in our organizations, and with that comes a completely new era, in which we need to see new business trends. What are those business trends?
First of all, we see businesses connecting. It is not just about optimizing your own processes to create value for your customer: It is about optimizing the entire value chain until the end consumer.
Secondly, we see collaboration between people happening at an enormous speed. People are connecting in new ways using digital environments and, with this, are facilitating a new information flow, which is uncontrollable and cannot be managed by a predicted, step-by-step process.
Thirdly, we see a trend of fast decision making. Today we live in a world where everyone has access to an unbelievable amount of data. This data is exploding, actually doubling every 18 months.
This new profusion of data requires completely new information technology solutions — completely new architectures to help the process happen. So this is an era that is very dynamic. It is an era that is very individual and very collaborative in nature. How can we take advantage of the investments we have already made but also add new dimensions to solve some of these challenges?
Well, the IT response is actually very simple. First of all, if you believe that business processes are no longer staying “within” companies but are becoming “between” companies, and that people no longer collaborate within the firewalls of the company home but across organizations, then you will see the trend that applications are moving from on-premises to ether, because they support things that happen between companies, not within companies.
The second trend is, of course, the mobile trend: People everywhere are assumed to be connected. In fact, 4.6 billion people out there have these devices.
Finally, there is a trend around analytics, referring to large volumes of data, growing at an unbelievable speed. How are we going to browse through all that data and get to the right results? We have learned a lot from Google. When you look for something, you get 200,000 or maybe a million hits. To make decisions, we need to find the needle in the haystack, the right and necessary information. Then we need to bring that needle to the right person, at the right moment in time, on the right device, so that that person can be empowered and make the right decision.
So, new technologies are needed, but we must not lose the investments we have already made. IT must take every opportunity it can with these new technologies to help overcome some of these challenges.