Four Business Technology Trends For 2018

As 2018 begins, business leaders will continue to be challenged to keep pace and adapt to the rapidly changing technology landscape. New technologies are requiring companies to evaluate employee skillsets and offer new training to staff with legacy skills, hire subject matter experts and contract consultants with hard to find experience.  Business technology thinking is now focused on becoming more “intelligent” with technology.  Here are four trends to follow this year:

  1. Changing Role of the CIO

The CIO is almost certainly becoming the most important role in many companies. CIO’s are no longer tasked with ensuring business technology stays running but are transitioning into business executive roles.  These roles are focused on enterprise data usage and driving revenue. In many organizations, Finance, IT and Marketing are now partnering to create business and IT strategies that will drive profitability and customer-facing innovation.

Cloud computing and outsourcing has changed the traditional IT environment and given many enterprise users access to data that was previously only accessible with the help of an IT resource. The CIO now has the responsibility to manage internal and external teams as well as coordinate outside vendors and suppliers. A recent Gartner survey of CIO’s revealed security and artificial intelligence to be the trends that will most significantly change their jobs.

  1. Data Lakes

Some of you are wondering, what is a data lake?  It is a storage repository that uses a flat architecture to store vast amounts of raw enterprise data in its native format until it is needed.  The pooling of raw enterprise data creates a huge advantage for analytics teams since they can ask more complete and complex questions and not be limited in their results.

Many organizations are using both data repositories and data lakes.  Data repositories are used for repetitive functions by enterprise business analysts where data lakes are used by AI analysts and developers to solve business questions. Data lakes can be built internally or purchased from vendors. Either way, organizations must be prepared to hire or contract staff with these skills to implement and support the product.

  1. The Customer Experience

IT departments are accustomed to working with the customer base inside the company. In 2018, the shift will begin to service both the internal and external customers. The customer experience will be a priority for many organizations and the focus will be in the following areas:

  • Aligning their metrics, analytics, design and innovation around customer journeys
  • Increasing the use of chatbots within artificial intelligence based applications
  • Usage of predictive analytics to be more proactive in dealing with customer issues
  • Creating a customer-centric culture
  1. Alexa for Business

After incredible success with personal voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant devices, Amazon viewed the next logical move was to extend Alexa to the workplace. Amazon believes that voice will unlock new uses for digital systems and change the architecture of how they are constructed.

Just imagine using Alexa at your next meeting…

“Alexa, start my conference call.”

“Alexa, pull up last quarter’s sales report”

“Alexa, schedule a meeting with the sales team next Tuesday at 2pm.”

Alexa for Business can help manage calendars, order supplies, report building or IT issues, schedule conference rooms and control conference room equipment.  It can also redefine the way customers interact with products and services by providing capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to create a more personalized experience.

How do these trends impact your thinking about changes in your organization this year? Are there other trends that are a higher priority?


Contributed by: Amy Noel