It makes sense that our annual trends are focused not only on technology this year, but also on people — people and technology working differently to deliver accelerating change to the enterprise. How we work changed significantly when the internet and email began to permeate business decades ago. We believe that now we’re on the cusp of the next step change in employee productivity, and these five trends will lead the way.
1. AI redefines professional services
Companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) to make their experts even better, as well as to provide advisory services to improve their productivity. These AI-based services will help transfer knowledge across the organisation in much more aggressive ways than past knowledge-sharing systems, and that’s a huge opportunity for business. This trend has the broadest scope of impact and variability of impact of this year’s trends. I don’t know exactly where it will settle, but we’re on the right trajectory. We’ll get better at dealing with unintentional bias and applying AI to improve outcomes.
2. Design thinking shifts from IT services for people to IT services for machines
People take time to make a decision. Machines make decisions very, very quickly. So as the internet of things expands, and we have more machine-to-machine communication, this is forcing a major system design change: Instead of bringing the information to the processing, we’re bringing the processing to the data. That means moving decisions to the edge. With machine-to-machine interaction speeds, we can pack much more intelligence into the problem we’re solving and support far more decisions per second than ever before. It will change how we design systems in the enterprise as we think about hyperlocal economies, smart cities and personalised services for edge consumers.
3. The value of data increases in ecosystems
Businesses are capitalising on the data they have and merging it with other data for more value. CEOs must determine how to build a business model around a data ecosystem, and business leaders must obtain consent from individuals to have their data shared. Technologies such as self-sovereign identity and communities for mutual shared consent tied to blockchain will help. CEOs in automotive and healthcare are paving the way, sharing data because it creates better experiences for their customers or patients and improves financial performance.
4. Teams, not superstars, are the high performers
Shifting from individuals to teams is something enterprises will learn in earnest in 2020. Enterprises will test multifunctional teams with 2-week sprints, define user stories, and really begin to understand how to tune that agile process. We’ll see organisations come to life because once they start working as multifunctional interconnected teams, they’ll never go back. The work will be distributed more evenly among teams instead of the bulk of it going to a high performer. And an added bonus — people learn from each other in teams, which creates a multiplier effect that allows employees to advance more quickly.
5. A new wave of business leaders accelerates business transformation
Enterprises will be led in new ways by leaders who are committed to the intersection of business and technology. These leaders value agility, openness, experimental culture and the new team structures. It starts with the CEO and board, and runs through the entire organisation. This new leadership approach enables us to think differently about solving problems and work differently to create more comprehensive solutions.