Macro tech forces: The pillars for innovation?

Published on the 24/01/2020 | Written by Newsdesk

Deloitte report_Innovation pillars

The painful tension of novel technologies and responsible investment…

In a world of accelerating change, there are the big technology trends driving business innovation and transformation and then there are new emerging technologies. But how do you bring the two together to create meaningful, long-lasting technology for your business rather than just technology for technologies sake?

It is, Deloitte says, an ongoing issue for business: “A painful tension exists between the possibilities of exciting novel technologies and the responsible exploration of technology domains at the forefront of an organisation’s 18-to-24 month investment road map.”

Last year the professional services company debuted its ‘nine macro technology forces’ – analytics, cloud, digital experience, which it dubbed ‘enablers’; the ‘foundations’ of the business of technology (or how IT operates and the shift from project delivery to more collaborative product and business outcomes), risk and core modernisation; and the disruptors of digital reality, cognitive and blockchain.

“We want them to develop a dose of healthy scepticism so they can distinguish between hype and technologies likely to deliver lasting outcomes.”

They’re the technologies Deloitte says have been, and continue to be, the backbone of business innovation and transformation.

At the time, Deloitte noted that the nine were ‘no longer particularly novel’ but remained vitally important.

“In fact, one of the most pressing challenges technology and business leaders face is how to excavate and harness the value these macro forces can deliver collectively,” Deloitte said in its Tech Trends 2019: Beyond the Digital Frontier.

Fast forward a year, and those nine ‘macro forces’ remain the foundation for business transformation, Deloitte says. It says the macro forces can help drive meaningful conversations within businesses about emerging technologies – simplifying ‘the tsunami of tech advances’ and helping ground in reality the investments and innovations bombarding businesses.

“Smaller trends can be plotted on the evolutionary trajectory of these macro forces.”

It’s not the independent technologies themselves that are key, Deloitte notes, but rather the intersection of them – their symbiotic benefits.

“Exploring intersections of the macro technology forces can drive purposeful, transformational change,” Deloitte claims.

Deloitte’s nine macro technologies feature alongside the company’s top five trends for 2020 – digital twins, human experience platforms, ‘architecture awakens’, ethical technology and trust, and finance and the future of IT.

They’re the trends Deloitte says will disrupt businesses in the next 18 to 24 months and, while grounded ‘in today’s realities’ will also inform the way we work tomorrow.

“The trends of 2020 will disrupt entire industries and redefine business as we know it in the next decade, even as digital innovation becomes the norm for organisations of all sizes,” says Deloitte emerging technologies research director, Scott Buchholz.

“Some of these trends may not come to fruition exactly as envisioned, but the technologies underpinning them will fundamentally change the way we work.”

The 2020 trends are also, Deloitte notes, the result of multiple macro forces coming together and setting the stage for new disruption.

It cites the example of digital twins as an example of how a combination of macro forces and other technology advances is creating new trends.

“Over the course of the last decade, advances in cloud, analytics, cognitive technologies, and digital reality have combined with digital design and manufacturing system advancements to make it easier to integrate data from multiple systems, software platforms, applications and hardware.

“Now organisations across industries can use digital twins to optimise processes, make data-driven decisions in real time, and create new products, services, and business models,” Deloitte says.

“Digital twins represents the culmination of modernised cores, advanced cognitive models, embedded sensors and more – a recipe that is in itself a trend, even as it builds on evolving individual technologies.”

The report also flags three potential new additions to be added to the macro forces lineup in coming years: Ambient experience, exponential intelligence and quantum.

Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2020 report also raises questions on how we can architect systems which will provide business value in tomorrow’s tech trends and remain viable for decades to come in the same way that mainframes of the 1980s continue to run and generate business value, despite being outdated by today’s standards.

“Architecting for longevity and adapt ability requires a deep understanding of both today’s realities and tomorrow’s possibilities,” say the authors. “It requires an appreciation for the technology and market forces driving change. And finally, it requires a long-term commitment to focused and incremental progress.”

Joaquin Duato, Johnson & Johnson vice chairman of the executive committee, is one of several executives interviewed in the report.

“In the same way that the technology organisation needs to understand the business outcomes it supports, our executives need to recognise how technology can help them achieve the outcomes they desire,” Duato says.

“We don’t expect our executives to become programmers, but they should be able to identify how, when and where technology can help them drive better results. And we want them to develop a dose of healthy scepticism so they can distinguish between hype and technologies likely to deliver lasting outcomes.”

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