6. 3-D printing
3-D printing continues to be a quiet success and will gain more ground in the new year. It is already in use in aerospace, automotive, construction, healthcare, manufacturing, and rapid prototyping and by parts suppliers.
Over time the use of 3-D printing will revolutionize the way companies produce materials and provide support services, including self-help components.
Leading-edge companies will gain a competitive advantage from their first-mover advantage. This is still in its infancy but it is a technology but one that could enable a firm to leapfrog competitors.
7. IoT Everywhere
The growth in IoT devices will gain steam in 2017 but parts of the ecosystem will be missing.
Vendors will build awareness and addressability into myriad devices, providing enterprises with a mountain of new data streams for mining. IoT security remains a lagging component and major exposure as these devices creep into organizations and networks. Executives should be aware that IoT is not just about the endpoint devices – their usage drives significant (100x or more) demand upon networks, servers and storage.
Cloud solutions will also arise to help corporations gather and make sense of this information; however, SMBs will not have the bandwidth or see the necessity to effectively slice-and-dice it all. IoT can be a boon to enterprises but poor planning that fails to balance enterprise-wide needs for actionability, reusability, and security will doom many initiatives and later require significant re-architecture.
The market is still immature so executives should not be concerned about making mistakes or even deferring action at this stage of maturity.
8. Mass personalization
Mass personalization means each individual's interaction with a business will result in content uniquely tailored for him or her presented on the device of the user's choosing.
It also means the use of analytics by businesses to know your customer (KYC), including history, location, and preferences, and to perform anti-money laundering and fraud analysis. For the business side it is geared to drive loyalty and revenues. But on the IT side, it will represent a major change to applications, databases, and the underlying platforms.
It will be transformative on both sides, with new disruptive players leading the way and the traditional firms striving to catch up.
9. Mobility and the Consumer Channel
The view of one's customer has morphed significantly such that there is no longer the view of different channels to market but just a single consumer omnichannel. In 2017 the leading service providers will be delivering first generation omnichannels.
Expect this to become mainstream over time but over the next 12 months most firms will be unable to catch up with the leaders. Additionally, the technologies behind it – mobility and a 360-degree perspective (from the customer side) – are shifting from mobile first to mobile only.
Executives should also be aware that expanded use of mobile devices leads to more mobile SaaS (software as a service) applications and more data out in the cloud.
Despite the numerous massive security breaches in the news in 2016 and the continuous warnings, many executives still underestimate the security concerns caused by the use of mobile devices and insecure server-side infrastructure.
The lack of control of user devices is fraught with peril as encryption, password, policy, and enforcement practices are often treated as an "add-on" to enterprise security policies instead of subject to the same scrutiny used on the server side. Particularly in light of the oncoming onslaught of IoT initiatives and the continuance of corporate security breaches, inadequacies must quickly be addressed or 2017 will see more breaches than 2016.
Executives need to limit the types of devices allowed to connect to enterprise systems. Mobile management and enforcement technologies need to integrate with other enterprise security software to simplify and universally apply policies and updates.
Additionally, encryption everywhere – application, device, network, and storage – must be the new norm but cost and enforcement will plague implementations. IT executives must work with business, legal, and executive stakeholders immediately to fully uncover gaps in policy and procedure, assess risks, and determine appropriate action.
Furthermore, they must ensure security policies are documented, known, and implemented universally in all new and upgraded initiatives. Executives should ensure individuals and departments are held responsible for non-compliance.
2017 will be another challenging year for IT executives and keeping pace with technology advances will have to be part of any IT strategy if executives hope to achieve their goals for the year and keep their companies competitive.
This will require IT to understand the rate of technology change and adapt a data center transformation plan that incorporates the new technologies, including clouds, at the appropriate pace. Additionally, IT executives will need to invest annually in new technologies to help contain costs, minimize risks, and improve resource utilization.
IT executives should collaborate with business and financial executives so that IT budgets, plans and strategies dovetail with the business and remain tightly integrated throughout the year.
About the author
Mr. Braunstein serves as Chairman/CEO and Executive Director of Research at the Robert Frances Group (RFG). In addition to his corporate role, he helps his clients wrestle with a range of business, management, regulatory, and technology issues.
He has deep and broad experience in business strategy management, business process management, enterprise systems architecture, financing, mission-critical systems, project and portfolio management, procurement, risk management, sustainability, and vendor management. Cal also chaired a Business Operational Risk Council whose membership consisted of a number of top global financial institutions.