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IoT and social media domination: Technology trends for 2016

Mark Barrenechea, chief executive officer of Enterprise Information Management (EIM) firm OpenText (opens in new tab), offers his technology predictions for 2016.

  1. IoT will be reality

As we move forward through 2016 and beyond, more devices, agents, sensors, and people will join IoT. Perhaps we will even progress as a society to a post-scarcity economy and information itself will become our commodity of trade.

Monetising the exchange of information, micro-licensing, and transactions will become prominent tasks as our automation and machine-to-machine networks take care of daily needs. Owning the data, analysing it, and improving and innovating will become key 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 businesses build and deliver them. In 2016, 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.

  1. Social Media will take over the world

Social media sites are diverse and always “on”, they are the new marketing forums. Facebook has 1 billion subscribers (opens in new tab), Instagram has 400 million active users each month, over 300 million Twitter subscribers post 500 million tweets in 150 countries daily.

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 good news is, you can follow, monitor, and participate and 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.

  1. Millennials will enter the management ranks and reshape the world

The office of the future will take root 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 organisational structure to corporate cultural - essentially reinventing the workplace as we know it.

Holographic images, interactive surfaces, and video conferencing will also 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.

Organisations 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.

  1. Digital will become top priority for CEOs

To capitalise on opportunity, CEOs will need to understand how disruption impacts all functions of their organisation. 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. 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.

CEOs will lead by example, adopting a Digital Mindset. This 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, organisations 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.

Image source: Shutterstock/Bacho

Mark J. Barrenechea joined OpenText as President and Chief Executive Officer in January 2012, and also serves as a member of the Board. In January 2016, Mark took on the role of Chief Technology Officer. As CEO of Canada’s largest software company, Mark oversees the strategic direction of the organisation and upholds the company’s position at the forefront of the industry. Under his direction, the Company has grown both organically and through strategic acquisitions, into a $1.9 billion technology company.