Technology Trends, Predictions, and Reflections 2017: Opening Statement

Posted January 17, 2017 | Leadership | Amplify


Just as recent global events have given us reason to pause and reflect, the pace of technology emergence and disruption is proving to be a source of inspiration and uncertainty. Transitioning to a digital world is front-of-mind for many business executives, yet finding the right path is an ongoing challenge. So we asked Cutter’s team of experts for their insights on some of the technologies, trends, and strategies that will be relevant in 2017 and beyond. In typical Cutter Business Technology Journal fashion, our call produced a wide range of opinions and reflections worthy of consideration as you chart your business technology journey for the new year.

First up, Steve Andriole shuns a “Top 10” of individual technologies in favor of looking at five technology clusters. This idea stems from the interrelationships among the technologies and their dependence on each other for implementation. Andriole advises us to focus on investing in multiple technology clusters, as this will have the greatest impact on our business models.

Next, Nate O’Farrell takes a look at how blockchain technology is making its way into business sectors across the globe. With efforts underway toward more sustainability and accessibility, blockchain “holds great potential to disrupt how businesses perform basic transactions, from payments, to programmable, self-executing contracts, to identity verification.”

Paul Clermont builds upon his 2016 predictions about the challenges business technologists face in the IT environment. He calls for stronger security measures to counter and prevent data breaches, the development of more sophisticated algorithms to combat the use of social media as a vehicle for false news, and opportunities for more experts in metadata encryption to investigate or head off all too frequent terrorist attacks.

Curt Hall then predicts a breakout year for cognitive computing. He recommends that companies consider the application of cognitive computing in research and discovery, decision support and advisory, customer engagement and customer experience management, Internet of Things (IoT), and cybersecurity.

The surprising results of two recent major political decisions inspired Roger Evernden to consider a need for more architectural thinking to manage the complexities of modern life. He also ponders how a faster Internet can be leveraged to improve and optimize healthcare, transportation, and global energy resources.

The growth in the “gig” economy led David Coleman to delve into the future of collaboration in the workplace. He explores how project work is becoming the norm, how we are moving from networks to ecosystems, and how augmenting human work with AI systems can improve employee productivity and morale.

Next up, Alexandre Rodrigues reflects on how artificial general intelligence (AGI) will be used. Will we see AGI used for “healthy” applications, such as to support business models, or will it emerge as a major threat to human welfare if used in “unhealthy” ways, such as hacking, rampant job elimination, or misuse of robotic technologies?

It’s important not to overhype the potential of technologies such as big data, 3D printing, IoT, self-driving cars, and AI, according to Robert Charette. He predicts that 2017 will be the year we learn to approach these and other technologies with humility and diligence to extract the most value from their true capabilities.

Next, Emir Ugljanin et al. anticipate how the IoT and business processes will evolve together to form the concept of the Process of Things, or PoT. PoT will facilitate a successful connection between things, ensuring that “things will not function as silos but contribute collectively to offering value-added services to enterprises.”

Taking a step back, Carl Pritchard warns against becoming an overly connected society with perpetual threats of security breaches and personal data loss. He advises conducting business in a safer space by dialing back technology and taking control of 24/7 connectedness.

Finally, Darren Dalcher speaks to the strategic project management trends that will require attention in 2017. He points to new priorities in terms of leading people, repositioning projects, redefining success, and engaging on a deeper level with the business to deliver more meaningful and sustainable projects.

Together with this outstanding group of authors, we hope this issue helps you determine the strategies and operating models that will bring the most value to your organization now and in years to come. 

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