Top Strategic Trends in Technology

Nancy Anderson
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Businesses in today's global economy rely on some sort of technology to earn profits, keep customers happy and save money on staffing costs. Business owners and managers need to recognize several strategic technology trends that will drive profits for the next decade. Without planning for new business technology now, owners may see profits dwindle in coming years.

Gordon Ching, Chief Digital Officer for AIESEC, spoke of a presentation he viewed at the 2014 Gartner Symposium ITXPO in Barcelona. Ching summarized Gartner Fellow and company vice president Daryl Plummer's top 10 strategic technology trends that company officers must anticipate in the next three years. Expect advances in robotics and computer software to dominate coming business technology. Business must adopt some, if not all, of these concepts or face declining profits and fewer customers.

Due to smart machines that run various industrial processes, the cost of business ownership will drop 30 percent by 2018. Chief technology officers must experiment with this strategic technology trend to take advantage of more automation at the office. More automation reduces staff time, lowers overhead and saves money. Leading the way is digitization; verbal commands and hand gestures will input computerized information instead of keyboards. Three-dimensional printer prices will become less expensive and businesses can offer more personalized choices for a wider range of customers.

Three major strategic technology trends business owners should look into now include mobile digital assistants, mobile engagement behavior and customer experience innovations. Mobile digital assistants include home appliances such as refrigerators that recognize your milk is about to expire, so the refrigerator orders milk for you to replenish your stock. Mobile engagement behavior involves technology that creates customer interactions on mobile devices. By 2017, up to 50 percent of e-commerce revenue will come from customers who use mobile devices to shop. Customer experience innovations combine social media, crowdsourced solutions and ethnographic research to better assess the needs of customers.

All of these emerging patterns will allow companies to shift resources towards targeted messaging, which is perhaps the most important strategic technology trend owners should pay attention to in 2014. By 2018, companies that personalize someone's content with real-time offers will see a 20 percent increase in customer visits. This includes disruptive technologies such as advertising placed by previous online searches, previous digital communications with the company and previous purchasing trends.

These technologies also point to shifting employment trends. IT jobs, application developers and web designers all have inroads to future positions. Hiring these employees will become an increasingly online endeavor with video chat interviews, infographic résumés and video cover letters. Tech job candidates should show prospective employers they can use new technology before setting foot in a future manager's office.

Business owners, no matter how many employees they have or how much they make in quarterly profits, must pay attention to these strategic technology trends, or their business models will no longer work. As with life forms adapting to changes on Earth, businesses must adapt or perish.


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