AI

How Digital Transformation is Giving Humans More Time to Really Think

The pace of technological change today is being called the “fourth industrial revolution.” New solutions powered by artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and machine learning are enabling machines to handle processes that once required human decision-making. Just as mechanical muscle lowered the demand for physical labor in the first industrial revolution, today cutting-edge technology is reducing the demand for human intervention. The “migration” of tasks from humans to software and machines has been evident for quite some time. From ATMs to automated check-in at airports, technology has been performing relatively simple and repetitive tasks. Today, this transformation allows much more complex and nuanced tasks to move from human speed to machine speed, across industries that have remained largely untouched by machine intervention. Most recently, AI and cognitive systems have found a place in legal discovery, insurance applications, underwriting and claims processing, and the delivery of financial investment advice. In healthcare, telemedicine allows diagnosis and monitoring without the need to physically see a clinician, and a surgeon can operate from another hospital or country—just more examples of where jobs long understood as “human” are being displaced by technology. The automation option New opportunities for automation will continue to appear, as mechanization, automation, AI, and robotics replace human workers. But it’s not all doom and gloom. As “traditional” roles are replaced, new jobs will be created in the transition—jobs that require creativity, innovation, and strategic thought. As we do away with mundane work, the time gained through automation can be used to innovate, germinate ideas, and conceive new processes fueled by the kind of thinking that only happens when our minds have time to wander. The beginning of a sweeping societal change? The World Economic Forum, economists, analysts, and labor organizations have predicted a wave of job losses due to the surge in AI, robotics, and other technologies. We could see a net loss of 7.1 million jobs over the next five years in the 15 leading countries that make up approximately 65 percent of the world’s total workforce. But two million of the jobs will be offset by the creation of new positions that will support and foster the new wave of innovation, beyond what we see as credible or possible today. But as some roles are automated, others will come online; for instance, individuals who can build, develop and make sense of these sweeping changes. Developers, programmers, scientists, and technologists will—more than ever—be required to drive forward the accelerating pace of change. There will also be a greater need for economists, lawyers, and policy makers who can interpret how governance, intellectual property, and society at large will have to adapt. While algorithms may automate decision-making, it won’t be easy to replace leaders who can navigate this new fast-paced, intense change. At the end of the day, you may wonder if a machine could do your job. And the answer is that it could probably do some of it. And that’s okay, because automation will free us up to do more of the thinking required to come up with what’s next, perhaps with the help of a new robot friend or two.

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Top Tech Trends for 2017

Information technologies are accelerating at an exponential rate, ushering in the fourth industrial revolution. This is a digital revolution and the pace of change is unprecedented. This revolution incorporates machine learning (think parallel processing and neural networks) and the concept of self-assembly or self-programmability. As technologies continue to advance, they accelerate the progress of other technologies, and so on and so on. To illustrate this, we can look at the evolution of disruptive technologies. In 2016, everyone was excited about the promise of 3-D printing. Now, we’re gearing up for 4-D printing, an emerging technology that will enable us to print objects that reshape or assemble themselves on-the-fly, based on intelligent data. To make this level of self-assembly a reality, we will need dynamic and agile systems. Enter the Internet of Things (IoT) as the digital platform of the future. But the potential of the IoT has evolved into the “Intelligence of Things”. Even Uber, the popular ride sharing app, has advanced its concept of on-demand travel to incorporate a fleet of electric aircrafts (called “Elevate”) to lift us up and out of the chaos of gridlocked ground traffic (yes, just like in “The Jetsons”). The old approach to technology development moved linearly at the speed of human coders. The new model progresses exponentially at the speed of data, intelligence, and self-assembly. Based on this new model, here are my top picks for technology trends that will dominate in 2017: 1. AI and Advanced Machine Learning: The Automatic Enterprise Thanks to parallel processing, big data, cloud technology, and advanced algorithms, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are becoming more powerful. As tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple invest in AI, it is becoming more mainstream. People already interact with virtual personal assistants (PAs) like Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant. Facebook successfully created technology to identify people’s faces with its facial recognition app. Recommendation engines and robo-advisors are becoming a reality in financial services. And robotic butlers are delivering room service in hotels around the world. The analysts are jumping on board, with Forrester predicting that investments in AI will grow 300% in 2017 and Gartner forecasting that 50% of all analytical interactions will be delivered via AI in the next three to five years. These are impressive numbers. But how will these investments pay off for the enterprise? Are computers really more intelligent than people? Many jobs will disappear through automation and others will change significantly as the enterprise becomes more automated and intelligent. Over the next few years, some of us could be answering to robo-bosses. From a productivity perspective, we spend a third of our time in the workplace collecting and processing data—AI could all but eliminate this work. Every job in every industry will be impacted by machine learning. The upside? The opportunity to think exponentially means that the potential applications for these technologies are limitless. For businesses, understanding cognitive systems, big data analytics, machine learning technology, and AI—and how to leverage them—will be critical for survival. In the short term, these technologies will give organizations faster access to sophisticated insights, empowering them to make better decisions and act with agility to outpace their competitors. 2. The Year of Intelligent Things: A Smarter You in 2017 The capability of smart machines increases substantially as they are infused with standalone intelligence. AI and machine learning will be embedded into everyday things like appliances, cars, sensors and drones. Even our thermostats will continue to become more intelligent; they will not only learn our heating and cooling preferences, but also analyze factors like on- or off-peak use, weather forecasts, and previous consumption patterns to give us recommendations to reduce utility bills. This intelligence will be coded into apps. These apps will be driven by data and context, they will synthesize vast amounts of information, learn our behaviors, and react and adapt in real time to deliver relevant and personalized outcomes. Whether they make us more productive at work, optimize our health, or manage energy and utilities consumption in our homes, intelligent things and apps have the power to direct our actions and influence our interactions to help us make better decisions and, ultimately, improve our quality of life. 3. Get Ready for Your Digital Twin In 2017, advances in connectivity and machine intelligence will enable us to demonstrate the large-scale advantages of digital twins. A digital twin is a dynamic software representation of a piece of equipment or system that emulates the original’s materials, measurements, component parts, and behavior. More importantly, a digital twin also includes data that is unique to the asset it represents. Digital twins are created and maintained to allow simulation, analysis, and control. Initially developed by the military for aircraft, digital twins are gaining traction in other industries, such as renewable energy and manufacturing. The GE Digital Twin has created cloud-based computer models of wind farms which connect turbines while collecting and analyzing data to make them 20% more efficient. Black & Decker has digital twins of assembly lines and materials in one of their factories and has reported improvements of 12% and a 10% increase in throughput. Over the next year, organizations will use digital twins to boost efficiency, optimize design and performance, and improve quality. Over the next five years, billions of objects will be represented by digital twins, including equipment, facilities, environments, processes, and even people. For every physical asset there will be a virtual copy running in the Cloud. Their potential lies beyond demonstrating proof-of-concept to mirroring an entire supply chain to support globalization and promote economic gain. In the not too-distant future, our own digital twins will help us make better decisions. As the next version of the virtual PA, an algorithm-based identity will maintain all of our preferences and relevant data, prompting us to act based on this information through notifications, reminders, recommendations, and more. 4. The Evolving Mesh App and Service Architecture With all the apps, networks, devices, and channels, how do you make the experience seamless for the user? This is a question that will influence tech R&D in 2017. The “digital mesh” refers to everything that is connected across digital ecosystems—from people to processes to things. As more services and apps connect across more channels and networks, the digital mesh is growing and as it does, it is fundamentally altering the user experience. Consumers expect a seamless experience that flows across a shifting set of devices and channels, combining the physical and virtual. This kind of ambient user experience requires that the supporting platforms, technologies, and architectures must also change. Enter Mesh App and Service Architecture (MASA), a modern architecture that allows for modular, flexible, and dynamic solutions. MASA connects devices, apps, services, and other information sources in a consistent user experience across the digital mesh. It leverages cloud and server-less computing, containers and micro-services, and dynamically supports user needs as they interact with their technology and devices. MASA is an architectural shift that will require significant changes to enterprise infrastructure and R&D. 5. The Best Defense is a Good Offense with Adaptive Security Adaptive security tops the CIO agenda. While moving to digital presents enormous opportunity for business growth, it also presents great risk for cybercrime. In 2016 alone, cybercrime was the second-most reported economic crime. As the number and sophistication of cyberattacks increases, an effective enterprise security becomes more critical than ever. The traditional (reactive) approach that relies on antivirus software and firewalls to protect the perimeter and responds to incidents as they occur is just not good enough. In 2017, the enterprise will go on the offensive, assuming that its network is constantly under attack. To pre-empt cyberattacks and information leaks, organizations will implement an adaptive security architecture with continuous, real-time monitoring, big data, and analytics. As the next generation of security, an adaptive architecture delivers the preventative intelligence needed to uncover anomalies and potential threats and prioritize risks. 6. Digital Platforms Lay the Foundation for the Future Digital platforms will continue to play a prominent role into 2017 as foundational platforms for transformation. For enterprises that have already transformed, they will be key to supporting future growth. In particular, Digital Experience (DX) platforms and the IoT will be essential. The year 2016 bore witness to a pivotal tipping point with shoppers making more than half of their purchases online. As this number continues to rise, DX will become an integral digital platform for the enterprise. In 2017, the digital customer experience may be the only interaction consumers have with a brand. It will be important for organizations to get this experience right the first time. We also saw an estimated 5.5 million new devices connect to the IoT each day in 2016. This exploding ecosystem of tightly interconnected devices and people will only get smarter. The result will be digital environments that respond to each individual in highly personalized ways. In 2017, we will build a new world. Using digital platforms and leveraging the existing IoT infrastructure, interconnected intelligent devices will transform the way we interact with each other and our environments. 7. A Hyper-connected Global Ecosystem Creates New Opportunities Over the past few years, business networks have been driving opportunity for business. In 2017, as business networks expand into new ecosystems, they will transcend geography, industry, and language to create exponentially more opportunities for digital enterprises. Much of the technology required for this ecosystem (like AI, robotics, sensors, and the IoT) already exists. A culture of information sharing and collaboration is required to connect the dots. Data and standardization are also fundamental for the development and sustenance of digital ecosystems. When business networks are reliably and securely connected, they can be layered with intelligence. As information is added, the ecosystem and opportunities for growth will only increase. Organizations are connecting across industries to form digital ecosystems with the customers at the hub. Auto manufacturers like Tesla and Fiat are partnering with technology companies to integrate GPS, navigation, social media, and entertainment services in ways that are transforming the driving experience. Adding intelligence for predictive maintenance and servicing integrates suppliers into the network to deliver efficiency and convenience. Taking advantage of the emerging concept of the connected car, it’s only a matter of time before standardization enables cars to tap into a broader range of networks, like smart transportation systems that automatically locate vacant parking spots, for example. When all of these services are connected in the self-driving car (or aircraft), we will truly be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. 8. Customer-Centricity Drives Transformation In 2017, customer-centricity will drive transformation across all industries. In 2009, Uber created history by disrupting an entire market. Today, the company supports global operations and is valued at over $60 billion USD. What is the secret of its success? Many would say disruptive technologies or even intelligent data but, in fact, Uber’s customer-centric approach played an even greater role in the company’s success. Uber stepped into a market that needed an overhaul to offer more responsive and convenient travel for consumers. By focusing on the customer, Uber was able to quickly build trust. And while it is true that technology has given consumers more choice than ever before, technology is only an enabler. The key to success lies in customer-centric approaches, technologies, and business models. Over the coming year, digital leaders will shift from marketing digital products and services to embracing customer-centric operations. They will invest in IT to become more responsive. Customer-led self-service will be a requirement, along with AI and predictive analytics, innovation, and the agility needed to adapt to changing customer needs. In the digital world, consumers have come to expect higher levels of service. The fight for differentiation will be won by excelling at customer experience and this can only be achieved through customer-centricity. Whether you’re ready or not, the fourth industrial revolution is here. We are witnessing incredible breakthroughs in every industry, driven by disruptive innovation. And the possibilities for application are unlimited. To quote Sun Tzu: “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” I wish you all a Happy New Year and great success in 2017.

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The Future of Information: The Impact of the Digital Revolution

This Digital Revolution is not about job creation, it is about job destruction. As many as 25 to 40 million jobs will disappear as a direct result of extreme automation and extreme connectivity. The greatest losses will occur in white-collar office and administrative roles. Its Impact will be Profound We experienced similar waves of automation when Material Requirements Planning (MRP) replaced Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and ERP shifted to CRM, and these were replaced by e-business suites. When this happened, jobs were created, many of which were offshore. New research shows that over the next two decades, nearly half of all jobs will be susceptible to automation. The Digital Revolution will bring an increasing reliance on self-service technology, sensors, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, and artificial intelligence (AI). These will transform the workplace as menial tasks and some non-routine jobs are digitized through robotics and process automation. These systems will make businesses more efficient. AI will be pervasive. Based on advances in computing, automation will include the processing of languages, images, and data. As paper is removed and processes automated, clerical work will be eliminated. Other jobs that will be impacted include customer services, sales, and support. Robotics and 3-D printing will render low- and even middle-skill-level jobs redundant. Extreme automation will make robotics more mobile, giving them a greater range of movement and functionality. M2M communications will enable machines to process data and make decisions based on this data as we move toward more intelligent, cognitive systems. In many cases, the intelligence that these systems deliver will be more accurate, immediate, and safer than humanly capable. Digital is playing a larger role in our economy. By 2020, 25 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will not be touched by a human hand. This is significant. A quarter of the world’s GDP will be digital. The economic impact of digital is vast. Internet maturity correlates with wealth creation. It is used by companies in every industry. Businesses that use the Internet tend to grow more quickly, export two times as much as those that don’t, and create more than twice as many jobs. Despite these statistics, many companies are off to a poor start on the journey toward digital transformation. While organizations are taking advantage of digital technologies, many economies remain digitally immature. This means that the ability to unlock the value of digital is far from being realized. Key disruptive forces are impacting the enterprise on its journey to digital transformation. In my next post, we’ll take a closer look at these.

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The Future of Information: Extreme Automation and Extreme Connectivity

We’re in the middle of a Digital Revolution. Like previous industrial revolutions, similar forces are having significant impact. From innovations in mechanization in the early 18th century to mass production in the late 19th century and ensuing developments in computing, two forces are causing massive change, and they are extreme automation and extreme connectivity. Extreme Automation and Extreme Connectivity Extreme automation describes an increasing reliance on robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in all aspects of our lives. It includes disruptive technologies like three-dimensional (3-D) printing, the Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine communications (like sensors), and cognitive systems. Extreme connectivity happens when all of these systems interact and communicate with each other and people in real time. It is 4 billion users connecting with 1 trillion devices across fifth generation (5G) wireless networks. When extreme automation is combined with extreme connectivity, the power of our computing systems increases exponentially. The global Internet is being fueled by advances in connectivity and capacity. These advances aren’t happening in baby steps; they are 1,000-fold gains in capacity, connections for trillions of devices, and from a user perspective, incredibly low latency and rapid response rates. As more people connect with more machines, we are moving closer to zero-distance connectivity with technology. The impact of these forces—extreme automation and extreme connectivity—will be profound. As new economic systems and new business models emerge, a wide range of businesses that act as intermediaries will become obsolete. Automation and AI will replace many low-skill jobs and even some middle-skill, routine jobs, offsetting human capital costs. Entirely new jobs, companies, and sectors will be born. Only the organizations that embrace digitization with the flexibility to innovate will be able to overcome barriers to business to reinvent themselves, their workforce, and their markets. The Digital Revolution will destroy jobs. In my next post, we’ll explore the impact of the Digital Revolution. Download The Future of Information – OpenText Release 16 white paper to discover how OpenText can help you navigate the Digital Revolution.

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Top Tech Trends for 2016

WFO

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.” – Peter Drucker In the Internet era, we talked about being “amazoned”. In the digital world, we talk about being “ubered”. But what does it mean to be ubered? In simple terms, it means you’ve been disintermediated. The term is fitting, because Uber is perhaps the best example of digital disintermediation available today. Uber is marginalizing established competitors using a digital business model. As a provider of transportation, their model satisfies the laws of economy, matching supply with demand by directly connecting drivers and customers. The middleman has gone the way of the Dodo. But they’re not stopping there. True to the digital world they operate in, Uber is continually re-inventing itself. Experimenting with food delivery (UberEATS) and bike messenger (UberRUSH) services, Uber is disrupting its own business models to deliver relevant services to its customers. They could very well deliver your next pizza. New technologies and diminished barriers to entry have created an ecosystem with unlimited business potential. There are now abundant opportunities to “uber” any business in any industry.  So what does the future hold during this time of massive digital upheaval? I see the following trends having the most significant business impact in 2016. The IoT will be reality In 2016, we’ll work smarter, not harder. Human beings, appliances, homes, factories, cars, businesses, and cities will become more interconnected. If these items aren’t already, they’ll soon be “talking” to the Internet of Things (IoT). In a few short years, there will be more than 25 billion devices generating data about every topic imaginable. We’ll see broader enterprise adoption of the IoT due to its economic impact (which analysts estimate to be between $4 trillion to $11 trillion in the next few years), as well as in terms of opportunities to improve productivity and gain better business insight. The IoT will cause massive disruption through better automation, integration, and communication. Insurance companies are deploying sensors and software to monitor how drivers behave and generate risk profiles using big data analytics that accurately align to or construct on-demand products to suit individual behavior. Thermostats communicate with residents and accumulate behavioral data to formulate the most energy efficient and comfortable schedules and settings. Software agents move money, stocks, goods, and people around the world, routing, optimizing, and transacting innumerable times a year—and these are just three examples already in enterprise use today. They will quickly evolve and proliferate into 2016. As we move forward through 2016 and beyond, more devices, agents, sensors, and people will join the IoT. Perhaps we will even progress as a society to a post-scarcity economy and information itself will become our commodity of trade. Monetizing the exchange of information, micro-licensing, and transactions become prominent tasks as our automation and machine-to-machine networks take care of daily needs. Imagine algorithms as apps for applying big data analysis over the connected masses of information generated by the IoT and its billions upon billions of connected devices in every aspect of our lives. Owning the data, analyzing the data, and improving and innovating become the keys to corporate success—all empowered by a connected digital society. Though this may have some Orwellian overtones, the IoT is really about the Zen of Things—our application of software and technology to help customers consume products and to help businesses build better products and deliver better services. In 2016, the IoT will continue to combine big data, analytics, the Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, and automation to propel industries forward and create the next industrial revolution. Social Media takes over the world Social media sites are supporting populations that are bigger than entire nations. Facebook has 1 billion subscribers, Instagram has 400 million active users each month, over 300 million Twitter subscribers post 500 million tweets in 150 countries daily. These are massive numbers. Social media sites are diverse and always “on”. They are the new marketing forums. Your biggest opportunities are here because the most eyeballs are here. In 2016, digital engagement on social media sites will no longer be optional, it will be a business requirement. Digital consumers have power. The new Digital Echo Chamber of Social has awesome powers of creation and destruction, and it needs to be actively managed. In the old days, if a customer was dissatisfied with a product they would speak to a manager and get their money back. Today, they post blogs, comments, ratings, or reviews on social media sites, potentially reaching millions of peers in hours and at no cost. Managing social reputation and being actively engaged is an absolute must. The moment a tweet or post goes live, consumers comment and share. Often, by the time a business has reacted, the story has gone viral. Digital memory is infinite and digital consumers are fickle—remember, your competitors are just a click away. The good news is, you can follow, monitor, and participate in the social interactions your customers are having. They’re more than willing to tell you what they want. You just have to be listening because the inverse is also true: a single customer sharing a positive experience can reach the same audience at the same speed to the benefit of the active Social Enterprise. Millennials enter the management ranks and reshape the world In 2016, we will see Millennials enter management-level roles. These young leaders will radically restructure all aspects of business—from productivity tools to HR policies (like working from home and remote offices), and organizational structure to corporate cultural—essentially reinventing the workplace as we know it. As managers, Millennials will be in a position to transform corporate culture, accommodating expectations like social media freedom, device flexibility, and a high tolerance for risk taking. Innovation will be a key competitive differentiator and its application will be based on new ways to collaborate that include crowdsourcing and co-creation with customers. Communication will be open, two-way, and always “on”. The office of the future will take root in 2016. Holographic images, interactive surfaces, and video conferencing will begin to replace the boardroom in earnest. The mobile office will replace the cubicle and work and life will reach an equilibrium and intermixing we haven’t seen before in this digital age. As Millennials undergo a professional “coming of age”, the enterprise will follow suit. Culture will be a determining factor for failure or success in the digital world. Millennial managers will pull from a global pool of talent, hiring the best employees from around the world to create highly skilled, dispersed teams. Organizations with cultures that can attract (and keep) top talent will emerge as winners, changing the game and disrupting traditional business models—and even entire industries. Fast-growing, no-profit SaaS companies will collapse The rise of Internet-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies over the years has been tied to a new model: cash over time, rather than the traditional cash upfront model. But, the aim of profitability remains the same: no more waiting. Cash is still king and businesses need profit. Many of these so-called multi-billion dollar businesses have no revenue, no asset value, no employees and no chance of survival, as long-standing, cash, asset, idea, and employee-rich companies reorganize to compete. Nimble, fast, and flexible is great—and the startups have done a great job in cornering that market. Enterprises might learn slowly, but they learn. And the further along they are on their journey towards digitalization, the more market share they can win back. So, as quickly as the fast-growing, no-profit SaaS companies have appeared, they will now begin to collapse. Digital becomes top priority for CEOs It’s clear that in 2016 digital disruption will impact all markets. Earlier this year, I predicted that 50% of all market leaders will be obsolete in the coming decade because of digital disruption. Competition will come fast and furious from unforeseen sources. In a 2015 CEO survey, 58% of CEOs surveyed consider the rapid-fire rate of digital disruption a challenge to their business. But where there is risk there is also opportunity: 80% believe that disruptive technologies (mobile, the Cloud, analytics) will bring tremendous value to their business. That’s a heartening statistic. To capitalize on opportunity, CEOs will need to understand how disruption impacts all functions of their organization. In 2016, CEOs will become the drivers of digital transformation initiatives, incorporating them in their corporate strategies and all parts of the business. Adaptive and creative leadership will succeed. Across the C-Suite, transformational leadership will overcome outmoded structures and old management styles to empower Millennials to self-direct, make decisions, experiment, innovate, and take risks; while providing the systems, structure and governance to protect the company, its assets and information from this ‘digital sandbox’ style cultural transformation. CEOs will have to obsess even more about the customer and rethink customer value and experiences. They will extend their ecosystems with a new willingness to partner to discover new consumers and markets. Over the next five years, CEOs will lead by example, adopting a Digital Mindset. The Digital Mindset is driven by disruption, immediacy, and scale with centricity on journeys, experience, and a real-time-ness. Just like we have an IQ and EQ, organizations need to develop a DQ, a digital quotient, where strategy, culture, people, and capabilities converge. The CEO will lead this charge. Whether you’re ready or not, the next wave of disruption is here. For more insight into what 2016 has in store, read my book ON DIGITAL. I wish you all a Happy New Year and great success in 2016.  

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