The jungle of buzz words is pretty dense again this spring. So, which trends are of direct relevance to businesses? Ana Campos and Gerald Klump, our Co-CEOs, have the answers.
Highly automated data platforms, IT as a partner for innovation, everything-as-a-service, trend radars as a compass, and agility throughout the eco-system – these were Trivadis’ IT trends for 2019. We have now updated and refined these trends for 2020. However, as in previous years, these are not stand-alone concepts. It is not until they are combined that these technologies release their full potential:
Trend 1: Hyper automation
We already identified the trend towards automation back in 2019, particularly in relation to data platforms. This trend is now set to grow in strength in the form of hyper automation. This relates to the extension of existing automation functions – in the form of robotic process automation (RPA) for example – to include technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Gartner also believes that hyper automation will be one of the most important technology trends for 2020. “Hyper automation enables processes, particularly repetitive ones, to be performed efficiently without human involvement, for example in areas such as software development. This gives employees more freedom to focus on creative or complex jobs – the things that ultimately make the business more competitive,” explains Ana Campos.
Trend 2: Innovation eco-systems
The success of a business hinges on its capacity for innovation. In the field of digital transformation, this primarily means making the best possible use of existing data and converting it into added value. IT plays a central role in this process. It is increasingly becoming the business world’s most important sparring partner by helping to shape strategic plans and providing flexible and scalable solutions for business challenges.
Whereas in the past individual departments used to be responsible for innovations, cross-department innovation networks are now increasingly becoming the norm. Ideally, these are initiated and encouraged by CEOs. In 2020, innovation networks will grow even further out beyond the boundaries of a business to become innovation eco-systems. “These are networks of businesses that come together with the aim of generating shared value. This can be to jointly develop and provide a service, which is the case for example, with the managed oracle database service by Trivadis and Swisscom,” explains Gerald Klump.
Trend 3: Managed cloud services
Over the past few years, IT consumption has increasingly turned into service consumption. This trend is set to continue into 2020 with a clear strategic approach: The percentage of managed cloud services will increase dramatically as the cloud services available on the market have now established themselves as the technological basis for digital transformation – not just for big corporations, but for small and medium sized businesses, too. They open up brand new opportunities for developing innovative business models and make it easier to comply with more stringent data protection requirements, for example by saving and processing data in domestic data centres. Because it has become almost impossible to keep up with the wide range of cloud services – Microsoft Cloud alone offers over 700 different services covering all new technology – businesses in 2020 will rely on managed services providers with cloud expertise so that they can combine individual services to create intelligent overall solutions.
Trend 4: Trend management
In recent years, trend radars have proven to be handy instruments for identifying and evaluating trends and innovations. From 2020 onwards, we see them as a component of institutionalised trend management, enhanced and supported by suitable tools and methods. Trend management provides businesses with an early indication of which trends, innovations and application scenarios will be relevant at which time – and therefore serves as a basis for being able to actively use innovation. “Trend management has to take place at several connected levels because trends have an impact at different levels – they can influence business strategies as well as the choice of technology in individual projects,” explains Gerald Klump.
Trend 5: Essential skills
With its new approaches to communication and collaboration, digital transformation is increasingly dissolving existing boundaries. One result of this is that cooperative cultures and processes are becoming increasingly important – and, as such, social, emotional and communication skills are taking on a whole new status. A recent study by McKinsey clearly illustrates this point: By 2030, the importance of social and emotional skills will rise sharply compared to simple cognitive skills (+24%). “This is particularly true of IT, where machinery and robots are playing an increasingly large role. Natural human skills will become central factors for standing out here,” explains Ana Campos. In terms of language, this shift in the paradigm may also result in a rise in status for the abilities formerly known, somewhat pejoratively, as “soft skills”. “Essential skills” perhaps?
The five IT trends outlined for 2020 are milestones in the digital revolution, which will pick up speed as artificial intelligence (AI) progresses. The topic of augmentation in particular will gain ground. This refers to the optimisation and advancement of humankind’s physical and cognitive skills. In terms of an interim destination for the digital revolution, computer pioneers like Raymond Kurzweil think it will be technological singularity – in other words, the point at which AI becomes “strong” enough to develop itself. Kurzweil believes that this will arrive by 2045.