Senior vice-president of product development at IT giant Oracle, Reggie Bradford, revealed the five megatrends to a session for small and medium enterprises at the recent Oracle OpenWorld conference.
Bradford, who had three successful startups to his name before joining Oracle, said the trends are affecting businesses of “any size, no matter what they are”. The trends are:
- The shift to cloud: The speed, agility and innovation potential provided by the cloud present opportunities for all businesses
- Globalisation: technology connects people and businesses wherever they are, and four billion people already use messaging apps. "Digital business is being done in the most remote regions of the world," he said.
- Data liquidity: “Data is currency – it’s the most valuable currency," said Bradford. The aggregation and orchestration of data provides new opportunities for businesses, he said.
- Internet of Things (IoT): It is predicted that there will be more than 50 billion connected devices by 2020. This will impact all industries, and have a significant effect on customer experiences.
- Artificial intelligence (AI): Machine learning finds patterns in enormous collections of data that are not apparent to humans. One way this is being put to work is in customer care. For example, wouldn't it be good if your business software warned that you were in danger of losing a customer or an employee while there's still time for you to take corrective action? Oracle is putting a lot of effort into this area, Bradford said. (However, it’s far from alone. L – large IT companies are punished by the stock market if they are not doing enough in AI, which is one of the reasons why the famously tight-lipped Apple recently spilled the beans on its activities in this area.) “It's not a fad, it's a fundamental shift in the way we communicate and do business,” he added.
We suspect that many Australian small businesses are yet to feel the full impact of these megatrends, but it may be worth being aware of them so you can be ahead of the curve.
Disclosure: The writer attended Oracle Open World as a guest of Oracle.