What Technologies Are Disrupting Business This Year?

“Digital transformation” — using technology to “radically change the performance or reach of an enterprise” — is the talk of the town right now. And not just in enterprise circles either. IDC predicts small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) will spend over $600 billion on IT software and services this year, with dollars funneling primarily towards new devices and applications.

What do these IT investments look like from a feet-on-the-ground perspective? Paul Heitzel of CIO.com may have just offered a glimpse. Here are just a few of the technologies he predicts will disrupt business this year:

Video

As geographically distributed teams and remote workers rise to prominence, video is poised to take a more powerful role in driving workforce satisfaction, engagement and productivity. In fact, through her research, Dr. Kristine Dery of the MIT Sloan School of Management has found that digital capabilities — including video — are essential to employee engagement in the modern era. Perhaps this explains the massive adoption of solutions like unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS).

Chatbots

Chatbots, artificial intelligence (AI) applications often used to manage basic customer service interactions, are expected to become more prevalent and sophisticated this year. By 2020, Gartner even predicts the average person will have more conversations with bots than they will with their spouse. Fortunately for SMBs, technologies like Statsbot and Jarvis make chatbots easy and affordable to deploy.

Virtual Assistants

Amazon’s Alexa for Business is probably the best example of virtual assistants entering the workplace, but voice-control technology is expected to continue to take massive leaps forward. Christian Pederson, chief product officer of S/4HANA Cloud at SAP, told CIO, “In the longer term, we’ll see voice assistants replacing our computer screens and keyboards.”

Blockchain

Experts predict blockchain, the revolutionary distributed “ledger” technology, to continue to make huge waves in the financial and supply-chain industries. In Heitzel’s CIO.com article, Vincent Manier, the CFO of Engie Insight, suggested blockchain technology could eventually take over basic financing processes like reconciliation and invoice matching.

You can check out the full list of business-disrupting technologies in Heitzel’s article on CIO.com.

How NOT to Approach Your Digital Transformation

These exciting technologies are good examples of how to spend your digital transformation dollars. You might also benefit from looking at some bad examples. Read “Common Ways to Sink Your Digital Transformation” to learn about the obvious (and not-so-obvious) pitfalls in digital transformation strategy.