Technology has always been an enabler and a disruptor of business models throughout history; that is nothing new. However, the pace at which businesses adopt new technology has certainly been increasing, owing largely due to two factors: 1) increased connectivity of people enabled by the web has made it very easy to create, test, and deploy new technologies; 2) the rise of specialized startups which can target a specific part of the value chain and provide services at a lower cost due to innovative business models. These factors, along with external pressures have forced companies to proactively look for new technologies and disrupt their own business model themselves, rather than wait for an upstart to force their hand.
That being said, the universe of new technologies is vast, and as such it can be a time consuming process to identify what’s out there. Therefore, this article will focus on a few key new technologies and talk about their genesis and potential use cases.
Gartner defines public cloud computing as a style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are provided as a service to external customers using Internet technologies. Amazon, the web-based retailer, pioneered this area of computing and is now the clear leader in this area, followed by Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Despite having a slow initial adoption, cloud has steadily risen to the top of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) agenda as a means to maintain competitive edge. Transition to cloud has multiple implications to the business model: 1) fast, scalable deployment of services allows companies to expand their customer reach significantly and increase their arsenal of services without a substantial capital investment in IT infrastructure; 2) CIOs must rethink their IT budgets, retrain their IT personnel, and rationalize their IT infrastructure components to adopt to a cloud-based world. However, with a plethora of cloud options at a CIO’s disposal, she must carefully evaluate her company’s needs to select the right vender.
Machine Learning at its most basic is the practice of using algorithms to parse data, learn from it, and then make a determination about something in the world. Machine learning is extensively used in many widely known situations: 1) self-driving cars from Google or Tesla; 2) online recommendation offers like those from Amazon and Netflix; 3) Tweet analysis for prediction of election results (clearly this one needs more work!); and 4) fraud detection. While machine learning is not a very recent phenomenon, it has much renewed interest owning to the huge amounts of data being generated from everyday objects (i.e., Internet of Things). All top software vendors like Google, Microsoft, IBM offer various machine learning packages, and are investing heavily to improve the capability of machine learning. The applications of machine learning are widespread, and service industries like banking and healthcare are most likely to benefit directly from improvements in this field.
A blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a digital ledger of transactions and share it among a distributed network of computers. The core benefit comes from the fact that once a transaction is made, an immutable record is created only upon confirmation from all the nodes in the distributed network, thereby ensuring a high level of accuracy and deterring fraudulent transactions from occurring. While blockchain was originally developed to aid in Bitcoin transactions, it has become a revolutionary technology on its own right, with financial institutions and IT consulting firms rushing to the fore to develop their own brand of blockchain technology.
The days of reactive technology adoption are over. CIOs are changing gears to become their firm’s technology evangelists, and the future promises to bring new and innovate business models to life. Hence, it’s more important than ever to have a strong IT based strategy in place. So if you think your company is ripe for a adaption of new technologies, reach out to our brilliant consultants at Spartan Consulting Inc.
Farah Ferdous serves as VP of HR at Spartan Consulting. She has experience working in Banking and Consulting across multiple countries.
Source: Data from Gartner, Wall Street Journal - CIO Explainer: What Is Blockchain?