It’s no surprise that business is changing dramatically. The potential afforded by digital transformation could have dramatic effects on companies’ growth, scalability, and revenue. Here are the top 5 trends that I think will have a major effect on businesses next year:
In 2016, we’ll see interesting Internet of Things use cases come to life, rather than major steps forward in devices themselves. With CES approaching in January, hundreds of new IoT devices will be released, but it won’t be the devices themselves that make waves. It will be the clever use of those devices to generate value. For instance, 90-year old pest control firm Rentokil connects its mousetraps through IoT technology, and has increased operational efficiency through the automatic notifications of a caught animal and its size. Overall, the key theme for 2016 will be identifying the value niches within industries that can benefit from IoT technology rather than trying to change the entire industry. For healthcare, it will likely be connected patients. For retail, it will be around making stronger connections between traditional and digital shopping.
When it comes to the cloud, enterprises are in an awkward tween stage — somewhere between the old world and new. As we enter 2016, CIOs will continue to adopt cloud applications and seek better ways to connect on-premises systems and the cloud. Hybrid IT is now the reality for many enterprises and many are going through a refresh of their platforms, both business and technology. They are looking for scalable ways to connect and move data to the cloud, on-premises and back again as needed. There is a big emphasis on APIs to unlock data and capabilities in a reusable way, with many companies looking to run their APIs in the cloud and in the data center. On-premises APIs offer a seamless way to unlock legacy systems and connect them with cloud applications, which is crucial for businesses who want to make a cloud-first strategy a reality. More businesses will run their APIs in the cloud, providing elasticity to better cope with spikes in demand and make efficient connections, enabling them to adapt and innovate faster than competition.
This summer we surveyed 300 IT decision makers and found that their biggest integration priority for the next year was cloud software and applications.
In 2016, many industries will turn to an omnichannel strategy to attract and retain customers by creating improved consumer experiences. By connecting the physical world with the online world, companies can bring new value and increase revenue opportunities. In particular, the retail industry will embrace an online-offline approach to increase sales. E-commerce stores will turn to a complementary brick and mortar store strategy, attempting to bring online shoppers in-store with exclusive offerings and deals, or add value by offering a unique experience beyond the ability to purchase in person. One example is eyewear retailer Warby Parker. It offers convenience and choice to its customers through a huge online selection, but it also provides custom fittings or repairs in their brick and mortar stores. Another industry that will take advantage of an omnichannel approach is financial services, which will look for ways to bring new products and services to market quicker through digital channels. This will mean improved mobile banking, faster payments and new consumer products. No matter the industry, companies turning to an omnichannel strategy will rely on APIs to create a link between cloud and on-premises systems, offering a seamless experience for their customers.
Changing role of the CIO
In 2016, we’ll see CIOs shift from traditional IT delivery models to delivering capabilities to their business units, allowing the consumers of these capabilities to build their own applications and processes. This is the decentralization of IT, where IT no longer owns the applications but are governors of the data. This will contribute to the expanding partnership between business and IT. CIOs are beginning to embrace their new role as a business enabler and are gaining confidence in doing things differently. They recognize their role is no longer just about keeping the lights on and the networks running. For this reason, successful CIOs will come to the table with a vision that helps put the company on a course of action toward greater digital transformation. The key step will be decentralizing IT by opening up APIs to developers and analysts, so they can gain access to reusable data. Additionally, IT will standardize on business and technology platforms to reduce their technology footprint.
Rise of the API Economy
In 2016, more enterprises will adopt an API strategy, with the goal of enabling greater agility and efficiency within their organizations and driving more innovation to compete with emerging startups that continue to erode their value proposition. This year companies, like Uber and Slack, achieved major success through their open API approach, and we’ll see established businesses start to follow a similar strategy. First, traditional enterprises will open up APIs internally to break down information silos and unlock data. The next natural step will be for enterprises to open up those APIs to third parties, creating new revenue channels. For instance, in a survey we recently conducted with 300 IT decision makers, 80 percent of large enterprises (10,000 employees or more) said that their company currently makes more than $5 million a year from APIs. In the same survey, the IT decision makers said an API strategy was one of the top three priorities to an organization’s business plans in the next year. We’re only going to see this increase in the coming year as organizations embrace the API economy and recognize its business value.