Deloitte outlines critical trends that are reshaping the way businesses operate in a global environment in its seventh annual technology trends report, “Tech Trends 2016 – Innovating in the Digital Era.” The report discusses how these top trends are driving new products and services, upending long-standing business models, and rewiring rules of customer engagement.

The rapid pace of change in global business ecosystems calls for CIOs to champion and harvest the major technologies impacting the enterprise. CIOs looking to create and to transform “business as usual” can leverage Tech Trends 2016 to inform their investment priorities, transform their organisations, and help to accelerate growth throughout their organisations and the markets they serve.

The challenge for Irish CIOs will be securing the financial investment to implement these new technologies. According to the most recent Deloitte CIO Survey, while innovation is a top business priority for over half (52%) of Irish CIOs just 22% of IT budgets are allocated to innovation and growth.

The report addresses how trends such as augmented and virtual reality, blockchain, the Internet of Things and socially-responsible applications of exponential technologies require CIOs to pursue new approaches for growth and innovation, attracting and retaining talent, and revitalising operations.

“Today, every company is a technology company at its core,” said Simon Murphy, Partner, Consulting, Deloitte. “CIOs are expected to harness emerging trends and innovate to create real business value, all the while building from the realities of today – modernising core systems, industrialising analytics capabilities and using autonomic platforms to transform, not just IT operating models, but the very infrastructure upon which they run. CIOs and IT organisations that can navigate these new realities to deliver measurable impact to customers, employees and alliances will thrive. Critical to achieving this in Ireland will be securing the budget that will make these technologies a reality. Therefore Irish CIOs need to position themselves as leaders who are prepared to drive business priorities through both scalable technology solutions and smart investments.”

This year’s theme, “Innovating in the Digital Era,” details technology advances that will impact business in the next 18-24 months, providing a prescription for how to imagine and deliver real business value. In a world where innovation is accelerating and change is constant, customers demand evolved methods of engagement that are personalised, contextual and tailored for individual usability. Overall, the report is inspired by the opportunities that today’s CIOs and other C-suite executives have – across industries, geographies and company sizes – to shape tomorrow for every corner of the organisation.

Sample trends from “Innovating in the Digital Era” include:

· Blockchain: Democratised Trust – Digital transactions have become the standard for the global economy, yet many of them depend on legacy institutions and receive inefficient oversight, management and certification of trust. Blockchain allows distributed ledgers and smart contracts, letting organisations redefine how value is exchanged between parties – driving new approaches to asset management, customer loyalty, electronic medical records, cross-border payments and many more scenarios.

· Augmented and Virtual Reality Go to Work – The future of mobile is tilting increasingly toward wearables, especially as augmented reality and virtual reality solutions hit the market. Long the objects of science fiction fascination, the looming potential of AR and VR technologies lies in the enterprise with capabilities that could potentially reshape business processes, or fundamentally recast customer experiences. While the consumer world waits for the dominant AR and VR players to emerge, the enterprise can fast track adoption — and begin the process of fundamentally reimagining how work gets done.

· Internet of Things: From Sensing to Doing – The real value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not in the quantity of sensors deployed or new devices connected, but rather in IoT’s disruptive potential for reimagining business processes and rewiring business, government and society. Forward-thinking organisations are harnessing this potential through innovative approaches to event orchestration, cognitive analytics and robotics.

· Social Impact of Exponential Technologies – Around the globe, an emerging entrepreneur class is accessing, adopting and experimenting with exponential technologies. Ultimately, the same forces driving innovation and growth in the commercial sector can also drive transformational change on a social level. Humanity’s grandest challenges in education, health care, climate change and even civil rights can all be viewed through a different lens as disruptive technologies energise creative problem solving. This begs the question: What responsibility do companies have to expand their reach beyond their own walls and help leverage exponentials to drive greater good in society? And how do they balance commercial opportunities with the ethics and morality of exponential technology adoption?

Cyber risk remains a universal concern – covering security, privacy, regulatory and compliance implications. Tech Trends 2016 does not treat cyber as a separate topic, but as an enterprise discipline embedded in the planning, design and realisation of each individual trend. Organisations will have to balance priorities to experiment in new areas and transform existing assets with the need to ensure solutions are secure, vigilant and resilient; but, more importantly, determine how to see past the worries of today to drive innovation, and get ahead where it matters most.

Peter Kearney, Partner, Consulting, Deloitte added: “This report examines how technology has continued to mature and the significant impact it has on both the enterprise and the consumer. In the age of digital innovation, CIOs are exploring largely- uncharted territory and need to evaluate new technologies against the practical realities of today. This calls for CIOs to inspire, revitalise and transform ‘business as usual’ across the enterprise. They must evaluate the positive impacts these technology trends could have on their organisations, in order to support investment decisions.”

Other trends include: reimagining core systems, autonomic platforms and right-speed IT. The full report can be accessed at www.deloitte.com/ie.

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