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The major technologies driving the disruption of business in 2017

Bob Hayward, Principal, Management Consulting, KPMG in Singapore | Dec. 6, 2016
One thing that will not change, and is only likely to accelerate in the next 12 months, is the massive amount of disruption taking place across businesses everywhere as a result of technological innovations.

Technologies to keep an eye on in 2017

These technologies are now primed to be the engines of even more digital disruption come 2017.

1.         Digital Experience technologies:

  • Mobile Connectivity and Devices

Internet connected mobile devices, smartphones, wearables, and drones that are rapidly supplanting all previous forms of interaction. For customer adoption to take off, it requires in-context, relevant, personalised, intuitive, and engaging interfaces at the point where the experience of the customer is most acute today.

  • Social Media and Collaborative technologies

A range of often complementary innovations that include crowdsourcing business models (including the high growth Open Source software movement), Peer-to-Peer (P2P) platforms, enterprise collaboration technologies, gamification design techniques and the power of social media platforms for marketing, sales and customer service.

  • Virtual and Augmented Reality

Poised for take-off in 2017, with real-life simulations, immersive experiences and the ability to enrich an existing real-life setting through the overlay of digital experiences that deliver value, entertainment and important information.

2.         Digital Labour (Intelligent Automation) technologies:

  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Replacing manually intensive tasks with machine-based execution without the need to re-engineer processes or tinker with the underlying technology stack. A minimally invasive form of intelligent automation that usually offers rapid benefit.

  • Cognitive Computing and Machine Intelligence

A higher level of automation using sophisticated, emerging computational techniques that deliver perception, reasoning, decision-making capabilities, natural language processing, pattern recognition, self-learning and hypothesis generation. The long term promise of artificial intelligence and smart machines has now reached the point of rapid adoption.

3.         Digital Information technologies:

  • Data and Analytics

Data warehouse and business intelligence now being augmented with predictive modelling, prescriptive technologies and smart algorithms. All part of a gradual business move to deliver more value from data by using information in hindsight, to gaining insight, and then on to having foresight.

  • Internet of Things (IoT)

The fast-moving world of embedded sensors, actuators and intelligence in machines, and other physical objects. These new levels of instrumentation are now supporting new business models such as servitisation and connected insurance.

4.         Digital Ledger (Blockchain and Distributed Ledger) technologies:

A shared, immutable, transparent, secure and programmable (smart contracts) shared record of information that can replace business intermediaries.

5.         Digital Infrastructure (Cloud Services) technologies:

Computing resources, applications, development environments and entire business processes dynamically provisioned and delivered over a network "as a service". Cloud is also emerging as the platform technology of choice to underpin emerging ecosystem business strategies.

This list is by no means exhaustive; we will surely witness MANY other technologies delivering exciting progress in the coming year. Neither is the list prescriptive; few organisations should or could undertake digital transformation through all of these technologies at the same time. But it is a list that will resonate with leadership teams tasked with directing the Digital Strategy of the firm in the near term horizon.


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