CXO

Ten business trends for 2013 - and four ways they affect you

The ratchet of change just went 'click' and is the new stable, the new economy, and there is no going back, and what is in store is even more radical.

Written in my Seattle Hotel and despatched to Tech Republic @ 10.5Mbit/s from coffee shop free wifi service.

Here we are in a world that is far faster, chaotic, and reactionary than just five years ago. Where is it going in the long term?  No one knows! In fact it is hard to see the short term with any certainty.

A full-on economic collapse followed political and social mayhem perhaps? Personally, I am far more optimistic and see great change in technology and business.  So here are my top tips for 2013. The need for greater flexibility and agility in a tougher world market will see changes including:

  • Accelerating virtualisation with a growing numbers of part time employees and a rise in the number of new, small specialised companies to exploit their niche capabilities.
  • A wider workforce dispersion within and without countries will change business needs, demands, and modes of management and delivery beyond the established outsourcing model.
  • Far fewer full-time employees and the old management structures and supports wane as they are recognised to be out of step with 'the new stable economy'.
  • A rapid growth in online business and transactions and an increasing contraction of the off-line sector will occur as the old struggles to keep costs down and profitability up versus online.
  • Electronic marketing skewing markets by driving more traffic and customers toward fewer select products - ie the attraction of the fashionable/best.
  • Manufacturing, supply and logistics will begin a migration toward a new mode of far greater dispersion and integration to satisfy 'green' energy and material supply limitation.
  • Business modelling, war gaming and decision support will be ever more necessary as the old management methods developed well over 100 years ago fall foul of the non-linear environment.
  • Big data is just a manifestation of these changes and the realisation that the money will be made by exploiting the meta data that defines customer and market behaviour past, present & future.
  • IT departments will continue to decline as they are seen as increasingly irrelevant with more capable workforces making a unilateral declaration of independence, adopting BYOD, and striking out as independent workers.
  • Information/analysis departments will be born and suffer extreme difficulty in finding the info scientists, analysts, modellers, and innovative thinkers that will be required to power up business.

In support of all this will be a rise of a number of key technologies and operational changers:

  • The cloud will transit from toy to necessity with services and new security systems emerging to support an increasingly mobile, transitory, and flexible workforce of mobile and agile people.
  • BYOD will become the default mode with the days of companies being dominant providers of all IT equipment and support begin to decline.
  • Artificial Intelligence services will be born as providers sell their services online to a workforce hungry for up to date information, wisdom and advice beyond human ability.
  • Virtual IT departments/tech support is going to be a new sector that will grow rapidly to meet the needs of a workforce focussed on getting more done, with less, in a much shorter time.

During 2013 much of this will be detailed in public and professional presentations and the associated slide sets will be free to access and download here: http://www.slideshare.net/PeterCochrane

About

Peter Cochrane is an engineer, scientist, entrepreneur, futurist and consultant. He is the former CTO and head of research at BT, with a career in telecoms and IT spanning more than 40 years.

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