For a number of years now the year 2020 has assumed the status of a kind of unofficial benchmark across many industries for measuring progress and meeting new development milestones. In many minds the underlying sense is that 2020 will mark a profound shift in the global business landscape, influenced by rapid changes in demographic, technological, and geopolitical forces. From a technology standpoint, the year 2020 has become an icon of revolutionary change – a time when we might expect to see driverless cars, remote workers as robots, and gesture control and wearables as commonplace as today’s PCs.
Businesses have begun to talk more and more in recent years about the centrality of their 2020 strategy and where they hope to be on the technological spectrum by then. Given the amazing progress we’ve seen in just the past 5 years through the emergence and confluence of mobile, cloud, and Big Data technologies, we might be excused for having rather high expectations about what to expect in the next 6 years.
CIOs should legitimately ask the question then, “What do I want my business to look like in 6 years?” Giving your organization a timeline to meet a set of goals and expectations in terms of revenue, performance, customer retention is a great idea and can really help invigorate an organization. For instance, your CIO and CEO might determine that your organization’s 2020 goal is to become best in class for customer service in your particular vertical. Or your business might become third in overall sales? Whatever the benchmark might be, the 2020 strategy is an opportunity for an organization to develop an internal assessment of where it is currently, where it wants to be, and what it has to do to get there.
A 2020 business strategy should offer a set of guidelines for where an organization would like to be in the next 6 years. Here are a number of predictions and recommendations that smart business leaders should seriously consider if they want to stay competitive in the marketplace of the not-too-distant future:
IT in the cloud: Hardware will be a thing of the past and IT departments will exist in the cloud. To stay competitive, CIOs today need to start migrating services to cloud storage.
Remote workers as robots: Advances in internet connectivity and mobile networks will mean that telecommuting options will become greatly enhanced. Telepresence robots will become commonplace in offices and give remote workers more extensive options for interacting collaboratively with their office-based colleagues. Smart CIOs today will begin by testing out Telepresence robots as a matter of preference for remote employees.
Sensors will be everywhere: Internet of Things will become the next major disruption of the future internet. Early commercial applications like Fitbit and the Nest thermostat will seem miniscule compared to what emerges in the next six years. But these are the stepping stones, and CIOs will do well to get acquainted with the concept of ubiquitous computing now rather than later.
Wearables will become the new PCs: Some day they will say, “Remember the smartphone.” Yes, that’s right! The smartphone will go the way of the PC and wearables will become our devices of choice. Google Glass is just the beginning of a whole new realm of real time awareness and connectivity that will be mediated through our eyes, ears, and limbs. It’s not too early for organizations to obtain Google Glass and to start developing applications with the SDK.
Smart machines will become commonplace: Artificial intelligence will advance to the point that many jobs we take for granted today will become outsourced. Speech recognition systems will develop to the point where a robot can answer the phone and provide tech support with a digital voice that sounds strikingly similar to a human voice. Major disruptions in the workforce will mean that CIOs will become more focused on managing machines than people.
2020 will be here sooner than you think! For some businesses it’s just another year. But for organizations that are innovative and forward-thinking, 2020 represents a benchmark that guides and directs new strategies and development goals. CIOs who want to stay ahead of their competition and get a jump-start on the latest emerging and disruptive trends will do well to start implementing a set of 2020 strategies and guidelines today.