10 technology trends businesses must not ignore

Management consultancy McKinsey has identified 10 technology trends that will force executives to anticipate and respond to their effects on their enterprises.

McKinsey's 10 tech trends to ignore at your peril

• Distributed co-creation moves into the mainstream

• Making the network the organisation

• Collaboration at scale

• The growing "internet of things"

• Experimentation and big data

• Wiring for a sustainable world

• Imagining anything as a service

• The age of the multisided business model

• Innovating from the bottom of the pyramid

• Producing public good on the grid

Management consultancy McKinsey has identified 10 technology trends that will force executives to anticipate and respond to their effects on their enterprises.

McKinsey said it identified emerging internet technologies, increased computing power, and fast, pervasive digital communications as key forces changing the management landscape back in 2007.

"Since then, the technology landscape has continued to evolve rapidly," it said. It noted that Facebook has quintupled in size in two years to touch more than 500 million users. More than four billion people now use cell phones, and 450 million access the web from a mobile.

McKinsey said virtualisation and cloud computing reallocated technology costs and usage patterns. At the same time they created new ways for individuals to consume goods and services and for entrepreneurs and enterprises to dream up viable business models.

Exploiting the 10 trends was not up to any one executive, it said. It warned that as change accelerated, the odds of "missing a beat" rose significantly.

It said the first six trends could be applied across the enterprise, but it was important to assign responsibility for identifying the specific implications of each issue to functional groups and business units. This was because their impact would vary a lot in different parts of the organisation and needed to be managed accordingly.

"But local accountability won't be sufficient," it said. This was because some of the most powerful applications of these trends would cut across traditional organisational boundaries, and executives would have to coordinate teams to make the most of them.

McKinsey said three trends - anything-as-a-service, multisided business models, and innovation from the bottom of the pyramid - heralded changes that could require radical shifts in strategy. "CEOs and their immediate senior teams need to grapple with these issues, otherwise it will be too difficult to generate the interdisciplinary, enterprise-wide insights needed to exploit these trends fully," it said.

McKinsey said bosses needed to set up their companies to test ideas quickly and then expand successes quickly.

The 10th trend, using technology to improve communities and generate societal benefits by linking citizens, required action by executives government, the private sector, nongovernmental organisations, and citizens.

A recent McKinsey quarterly survey on the impact of Web 2.0 technologies such as social networks, wikis, and microblogs found their use was highly correlated with market share gains.

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