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.

14 comments
peter
peter

...I just love knee jerk reactions, unfortunately they now seem to rule the world.... Peter Cochrane

james
james

If this trend does continue, where are all these companies going to get customers? I can't wait until this continual squeeze of companies to make more money and pay workers less comes to a head. This is my prediction for the next bubble...

vamsidas
vamsidas

geeks wanting chaotic change won't get much traction in companies where talented business people reside. business people in good paying positions worked hard to get there and will not let geeks come in and upset the apple cart. but this doesn't mean talented business people in good paying positions always do the right thing the right way. the author of 2013 Trends... is a futurist so with that in mind, things could lead in that direction since its the futurist's interest to see which way the wind is blowing. what seems to be obvious to everyone, degree or no-degree, is the rich will pray for and I promise you, find even more ways to squeeze the rest of us out of a good salary for the hard work we perform.

amendez52
amendez52

Can you pay just a little more attention to your grammar and spelling? I would feel very embarrassed if, with all the knowledge, degrees and titles, I could not write English correctly. Specially the English language! I am not British, OK?

premiertechnologist
premiertechnologist

A continuing growth of "The end justifies the means" ethic, which is no ethic at all. Continuing chaos as management and government continues to prove that they don't have a clue about what's going on and no clue as how to resolve the issues. Total abandonment of any kind of project management in favor of "do it now (expletive deleted), we don't have time for planning!". Continuing disdain and contempt for those with integrity insisting that process be followed. Continued contempt for highly skilled professional technologists, with the hope that businesses and governments can get by paying incompetents part time to resolve technologies beyond their ken. Growing fantasy amongst managers, directors and CEOs about the glowing reports of useless solutions by snake oil salesmen. Increasing panic among managers going, "Shoot, what do we do now?!". Growing problems with frustrated people doing insane things. IT professionals catching on that psychopaths are running everything and doing considerable research to survive using such resources as "Snakes in Suits", "The Management Trap", "Moral Mazes" and maybe the DSM-IV, since management these days is pretty much crazy.

info
info

The 'new economy', fewer full-time jobs, leading to more part-time jobs and small businesses? Let's reword that beyond the government-style optimistic spin... Businesses will downsize, people will lose their permanent jobs and have to either scrap it out for lower-paying part-time jobs, or start/join small businesses that will struggle to make ends meet due to the dramatic rise in competition. More of 'the rich get richer, and screw the middle-class/poor'?

Steved010609
Steved010609

Given the US government's cavalier atitude to private files stored on Megaupload (yes, it was also used for perfectly legitamate business as well as piracy) and its renewel of claiming jurisdiction over all data held on US servers even by non US entities, the cloud is highly unlikely to take off the way people keep predicting. Store something that's legal in your jurisdiction but illegal in the US? You could well be facing court. Secondly, the realisation that once it's on a cloud server it is out of your control. The Instatgram fiasco demonstrates this kind of attitude nicely. Private cloud, hosted on servers in your company's legall jurisdiction with a detailed contract specifying what the host can (and cannot do) with the data may be acceptable (or even larger companies hosting their own?) Until the legal aspects are sorted out (never mind all the security aspects, crap internet access in many places - I loved the bit about uploading via a 10Mb/s. Here in the UK a download of that speed can often be considered good!), cloud is not something I would recommend to anyone.

Lucky2BHere
Lucky2BHere

Phew! Don't even know where to start on this one. Most of these have, indeed, been underway for years. And a few won't materialize at all. Agree with therlacher this is a geek's perspective, not one from a real business person. Embedded in here are hopes rather than realities, and many - like BYOD will slowly take various forms, working for some organizations and not others. And how easy is it to prognosticate that some things will both expand and contract. And these newly, massively mobile workers - who will need even more structure to be productive - will require years of management and executive retraining while many companies scramble to deal with the fallout from this kind of transition. Etc. Sheesh! Not worth diving into further. Quite the futurist. He should re-read Drucker.

therlacher
therlacher

and he sees EVERYTHING from a geek perspective. it is too much distorted towards electronic tech stuff for which most people don't understand or care. most people just want a stable economy and job market. that doesn't require the quantum leap in hi tech wizardry described in this article.

drfaisal
drfaisal

as many companies, including mine is operating on such basis since 2000... but nevertheless, a good insight.

jimmanis
jimmanis

a race to the bottom. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but I don't see the "promise" in this prognosis. It sounds like a scramble to avoid the bottom rather than a scramble to the top.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I don't see any conflict in having data stored on US-based servers being subject to US law. If you put physical goods in a 'self-storage' warehouse, your goods are subject to the laws of that warehouse's physical location. Why would data be any different? The key is to do your research up front and find out where you're putting your information and what laws apply, the same way you would if you were shipping physical goods overseas. Would someone explain to me the difference between 'private cloud' and the traditional client-server model?

FarmMom
FarmMom

But that's where our gov't is driving the economy. This applies to business, not just IT.

Steved010609
Steved010609

A report (on here I think) had business complaining that there aren't enough basic IT people in the UK due to outsourcing and so staff could not get a foothold on the IT ladder making IT a poor career choice. This will only compound it.