"Eight business technology trends to watch", from Mckinsey Quarterly
Eight emerging trends are transforming many markets and businesses. Executives should learn to shape the outcome rather than just react to it.
1. Distributing cocreation
The Internet and related technologies give companies radical new ways to harvest the talents of innovators working outside corporate boundaries.
2. Using consumers as innovators
Consumers also cocreate with companies; the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, for instance, could be viewed as a service or product created by its distributed customers.
3. Tapping into a world of talent
As more and more sophisticated work takes place interactively online and new collaboration and communications tools emerge, companies can outsource increasingly specialized aspects of their work and still maintain organizational coherence.
4. Extracting more value from interactions
Companies have been automating or offshoring an increasing proportion of their production and manufacturing (transformational) activities and their clerical or simple rule-based (transactional) activities.
Managing capital and assets
5. Expanding the frontiers of automation
Companies, governments, and other organizations have put in place systems to automate tasks and processes: forecasting and supply chain technologies; systems for enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, and HR; product and customer databases; and Web sites. Now these systems are becoming interconnected through common standards for exchanging data and representing business processes in bits and bytes. What's more, this information can be combined in new ways to automate an increasing array of broader activities, from inventory management to customer service.
6. Unbundling production from delivery
Technology helps companies to utilize fixed assets more efficiently by disaggregating monolithic systems into reusable components, measuring and metering the use of each, and billing for that use in ever-smaller increments cost effectively.
Leveraging information in new ways
7. Putting more science into management
Just as the Internet and productivity tools extend the reach of and provide leverage to desk-based workers, technology is helping managers exploit ever-greater amounts of data to make smarter decisions and develop the insights that create competitive advantages and new business models. From ideagoras (eBay-like marketplaces for ideas) to predictive markets to performance-management approaches, ubiquitous standards-based technologies promote aggregation, processing, and decision making based on the use of growing pools of rich data.
8. Making businesses from information
Accumulated pools of data captured in a number of systems within large organizations or pulled together from many points of origin on the Web are the raw material for new information-based business opportunities.
Frequent contributors to what economists call market imperfections include information asymmetries and the frequent inability of decision makers to get all the relevant data about new market opportunities, potential acquisitions, pricing differences among suppliers, and other business situations.