By John Newton, CTO & Founder of Alfresco
As 2016 comes to a close, John Newton, CTO and Founder of Alfresco, gives us his predictions for 2017:
- Global uncertainty will push business resiliency through digital transformation and platform thinking. Continued global political and business uncertainty will continue – or get worse – in 2017, pushing enterprises to build resistance through digital core competencies and resilient platforms. Because it will be impossible to predict the next five years, business must focus on building core competencies, within which digital capabilities must be a priority. This will enhance enterprise organisations’ ability to deal with both new threats and beneficial opportunities. Platform Thinking will help leading edge enterprises to thrive in this age of uncertainty as it creates a single, scalable, central solution through which organisations can route information, automate processes, and integrate third-party innovation. Additionally, instead of building business plans, new digital enterprises should compose their business outcomes through Design Thinking, which puts the user first and solves problems for them. Using this approach will help enterprises design and adapt digital initiatives to respond faster, and engage customers who also face uncertainty.
- Deregulation will drive more platform thinking. Enterprises will be open to new competition in a deregulated environment driven by significant political change. This, in turn, will positively force corporations and governments to establish new models, based on best practices. It will be even more important to put the customer first through design thinking for a better experience and engage with customers by creating a more intimate, fast-changing interaction. For example, Blockchain is impacting our financial markets in the way that party-to-party contracts are managed. In the beginning of 2000, when companies weren’t getting their return on investment in the stock market, they turned to the power of data and peer-to-peer directives. Furthermore, asset-light industries (companies with fewer physical assets, and that tend to require less regulation), will emerge as the marketplace winners. Deregulation is coming, and enterprises should adapt.
- The transition of knowledge between generations needs to be addressed. The continued exit of Baby Boomers in the workforce means the new generation of workers are becoming the majority, and lack historical knowledge of a company’s business. The biggest challenge is that this “knowledge transfer” has to take place while enterprise organisations are re-inventing themselves.
- New compute paradigms based on the cloud will drive the need to “learn” computer science all over again. The change in computing platforms is evolving so rapidly that it is forcing architects and developers to almost relearn computer science. Cloud platforms, in particular, are changing at astounding rates. New concepts around microservice architectures, deep learning and new data, and compute techniques will challenge the old way of thinking about things. This will be very bad news for the Oracle’s, IBM’s and SAP’s of the world. Microsoft, which is straddling the old world of one operating system and one suite to ‘rule them all’ will be challenged by their own cloud offerings and new innovative software being run on Azure.