Our parent company, NTT Data, is known as a global IT innovator, with over 80k employees working worldwide in the business of system integration, networking system services, and other activities in the IT sector. Through their annual technology evaluation process, they envision future challenges and solutions. The technology evaluation results are separated into information society and technology trends. This article focuses on the information society trends identified by NTT DATA. I would like to share my thoughts with you regarding each trend in detail.
Power of the Individual
Information flows like a river in business and private life, nowadays. Google describes the result of comprehensive information available at any time and from anywhere as the “ZMOT – Zero Moment of Truth” phenomenon. It means that the transparency level during buying decision processes has grown sky-high due to comprehensive information becoming more and more accessible.
Information is a precious commodity, and therefore data is the new oil. This means that big does not beat small anymore. We can observe the growing influence of startup businesses that bring disruptive innovations, making money out of sharing information, or, more precisely, connecting providers and buyers directly. Just think about platform economy examples like Airbnb, Uber, and so on.
Another individualization trend we are facing manifests itself in “Segment of One” approaches in production, services and marketing. Detailed information available allows us to engage the customer with individual offers 100% tailored to their ever-changing and evolving needs. One important source enterprises tap into is social networks. Businesses are establishing dialogue with their target audience on social media channels to secure customer loyalty or collect their feedback to further develop products and services.
Working across borders is daily business for most companies. Globalization challenges any player involved in the value creation process. Decentralized collaboration often means working together virtually or collaborating on demand. I would like to take a more detailed look at the “collaborate on demand” approach.
Who starts and ends their professional career at the same company in today’s world? The volatile economic environment grows the amount of freelancers. According to a study by Upwork in collaboration with the Freelancers Union, 55 million Americans worked as freelancers in 2016. We are talking about 35% of the American workforce. Large-scale, global projects are asking for a flexible workforce.
Working on demand promises versatility and leaves space to create a lifestyle less dependent on a fixed schedule. Imagine a scenario where you could fulfill yourself through different professional roles. Having free time in the morning hours to do outdoor sports and enjoy the sun when it’s shining. Working remotely as a bank clerk from your home office from noon until closing time. Spending some time with your kids when they come home from school in the late afternoon, and then meeting clients in the evening to which you are providing financial planning services on your own time. Workforce liberalization enhances new capabilities which were barely conceivable before. Futurewise digital ecosystems will make them feasible.
This trend builds upon evolution enabled by ongoing analytics. The Internet of Things is creating a data hurricane that is turned into information by modern technology. This continuous development of products will fuel innovation.
Data collection and processing enable new ways of bringing value to business and private life. For example, fitness trackers that support a healthier lifestyle or Amazon’s Dash Button have the potential to make life easier. On the business side, the story of Kaeser Kompressoren is an interesting one. They are using IoT technology to provide “Air-as-a-Service” instead of selling compressors.
A few weeks ago, at its F8 conference, Facebook revealed its secret ”Building 8”, where it is crafting technology to read people’s minds. It sounds impossible, far-fetched and scary at the same time. Using brain implants, people can already ”type” eight words a minute today. Facebook, of course, has a much higher goal: they are working with researchers at several U.S. universities to make the system non-invasive and fast enough so that people can ”type” 100 words a minute just by thinking. “Well,” you might think, “who needs this?” Regina Dugan, VP of Engineering at Facebook shared the use case example of helping disabled people and ”the ability to text your friend without taking out your phone”, she said. Mind-reading technology will be the next evolution as it removes limitations on time, space and ability. Sounds like Amazon’s Dash Button is already history!
Business and society are facing massive change caused by technology. It is up to the people to leverage it in a useful way. I am trying to focus on the positive capabilities that arise due to this. I adapt to new things, but not without weighing the pros and cons, first. From my point of view, it is interesting to see how digitalization will affect our society—especially our working life. Sure, not everything that glitters is gold, but I am looking forward to finding my own special niche that awaits me.