Over the past several weeks, we have shared our insights on the Forrester Research’s Technology Trends for 2018.  Some of these areas are a little “deep” and get pretty complex pretty quickly, but hopefully we have effectively shared our insights on how it may impact your business.  We have covered the dawning stage with changes to Internet of Things (IoT), how employee experience is being shaped by changing technology, and automation of security intelligence.  We also explored some in the awareness stage, which includes one of my favorites because of the possibilities and that is software learns to learn.  Think about that for a second.  That can be both scary and exciting, but software learns to learn can have such dramatic effects on the world around us!  From medical and scientific breakthroughs to an even greater technology capability, the possibilities are endless to solve some of our most complex challenges and greatest hurdles ahead of us.

In the Forrester Research report, which is highlighted in Forbes, there are only two trends for 2018 that have reached acceptance stage.  The first is contextual privacy and the second is public cloud accelerating business innovation.  Let’s take a closer look at these and how they may impact your business.

 Contextual Privacy

I have not heard a lot about this trend and Forrester has it in acceptance stage, which means it has either advanced quickly and/or it is only on the radar of large enterprises.  I suspect it is the latter, which means it will be impacting the SMB market in the not too distance future (pay attention business owners/executives).  Basically, contextual privacy is a complex way to say that business need data to provide services/products and consumers are okay with businesses having that data if they have provided consent and it is used for the purpose of providing those products/services – it is in the context of the agreement to share the data for services/products that are expected from the customer.

The business value of this trend is recognizing that consumers will be even more hyper-sensitive about protecting their data, and businesses that are transparent about how the data is being used (mutually accepted by customer) and commit to protecting and caring for the data appropriately when it is under their care, will build brand loyalty and greater competitive differentiation.  Seems straightforward, but I am not sure why this is a trend vs a current practice for all businesses!  Think about the data you have in your organization – how should you communicate how you use that data in providing value to your clients?  What should the clients agree to? How will you commit to keeping their data safe?  How will they respond to your actions and communications regarding your commitment to keep their data safe?

Public cloud accelerates business innovation

No big surprise here – public cloud capabilities are significant and not only are they here to stay, they will provide even greater capabilities in the next several years.  Public or private cloud provides a tremendous amount of flexibility and capability to all size businesses at a scale that is unprecedented. The conclusion – more businesses will move more services to the cloud.  I contend there will be some in public cloud (Azure, Google, AWS) and others that will also leverage private cloud solutions that provide similar capabilities with full-service design, management, maintenance, and data integration services along with a local partnership benefit.  Awecomm is a big believer in public cloud, but we also know there is a business case for Awecomm’s private cloud with our clients in the next several years.

The takeaway here is businesses that expect to remain competitive must have a cloud strategy and how they will leverage the vast capability to differentiate the services they provide.  What is your cloud strategy? Do you have the capabilities and expertise to define your strategy and execute?

In summary, great concepts from all the trends outlined by Forrester Research.  Just be sure to pay attention to what it means for your business.  Define your actions and plan of attack as these trends evolve.  Technology moves way too fast to sit on the sidelines.  In fact, consider this quote from Forrester Research, “Given the pace of technology change and what is to be expected over the next 100 years, we are in the information technology equivalent of the Stone Age”.  Think about that – what we can do today and some of the amazing capabilities we have seen in our lifetime.  We are just in the Stone Age?