Peering into the future of IT
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ORLANDO – Worldwide IT spending is projected to surpass US$2.9 trillion in 2015 – a 3.9 per cent increase from 2014. Where will these new investments be made? What will be the impact on business? Here are Gartner’s top 10 predictions, as presented by  head of research Peter Sondergaard at the company’s recent annual Symposium and IT Expo.:

1. By 2018, digital business will require 50 per cent fewer business process workers and 500 per cent more key digital business jobs. Key areas are facing a severe shortage of skills. By year-end 2016, Gartner predicts that many digital transformation efforts will be unmanageable due to a lack of key skills.
2. By 2017 a new and significant digital business will be launched which was conceived by a computer algorithm. Analytics may support the process of planning a new business, but entrepreneurial thinking is seen as providing the inspiration and insight. Today, business models that drive businesses like car pickup service Uber, room rental service Airbnb and Lift are akin to networks with complex regulatory issues that make these business models amenable to computational analysis.

3. By 2018, the cost ownership for business operations will be reduced by 30 per cent through smart machines and industrialized services. By the end of next year there will be 40 vendors with commercially available managed services leveraging smart machines and industrialized services. This is a compelling reason for companies to embrace digital transformation. Competitors moving into this space faster gain a substantial cost and quality advantage over those who are slower to move or resist change.

4. By 2020, developed world life expectancy will increase by 0.5 years due to widespread adoption of wireless health monitoring technology. This technology exists today and is transforming health care already. In the very near term (2017)  costs for diabetic care will be reduced by 10 percent by use of smart phones. Wireless sensors and data correlated against cloud-based repositories will further enhance results in a number of areas and provide increased access to medical practitioners.

5. By year-end 2016, more than US$2 billion in online shopping will be performed exclusively by mobile digital assistants. Mundane activities such as grocery replacement will be common and will build the trust needed to expand to a wider range of more complex purchase decisions. These digital assistants will operate on multiple platforms but mobile will be the killer-application by the end of 2016.

6. By 2017, U.S. customers mobile engagement behavior will drive mobile commerce revenue to 50 per cent of American  digital commerce revenue. Apple Pay and moves by Google to increase adoption of its NFC-enable Google Wallet will be key factors. Increasingly powerful smart phones combined and a focus on design and user experience will make mobile commerce even more attractive. Younger demographics will drive adoption and place demands for even better services with a focus on channel-agnostic commerce.
7. By 2017, 70 per cent of successful digital business models will rely on deliberately unstable processes designed to shift as customer needs shift. Deliberately unstable processes, according to Gartner, refer to processes that are designed for change and can dynamically adjust according to customers needs. For those who can, mastering this will be a source of competitive advantage.

8. By 2017, 50 per cent of consumer product investments will be redirected to customer experience innovations. Hyper-competition driven by ever increasing consumer access to pricing and product information continues to undermine brand loyalty. Customer experience innovation is seen as the new competitive battlefield and the secret to retaining brand loyalty.

9. By 2017, nearly 20 per cent of durable goods e-tailer will use 3D printing (3DP) to create personalized product offerings. 3DP is already having a profound impact on enabling startups to reduce costs in manufacturing. With the push to configurable, personalized products 3DP is slated introduce radical change to durable goods production. Companies that set the strategy early will have a competitive advantage as they transform processes, corporate culture and even their fundamental business model.

10. By 2020, retail businesses that utilize targeted messaging in combination with internal position systems (IPS) will see a five per cent increase in sales. Amid the growing wealth of customer data, customer location remains one of the most important contextual cues available. By 2016 there will be an increase in the number of offers from retailers focused on customer location and the length of time in the store. Increased accuracy of indoor positioning systems will make this even more valuable as time progresses.



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