Deloitte Tech Trends: The 8 IT trends of 2017

Deloitte’s eight 2017 Tech Trends highlight the exploitation of dark analytics, the rise of bots and mixed reality, the adoption of container technologies in large enterprises to decompose the IS and the blockchain applications implemented implemented by traditional players in banking and insurance.

Each year, the Deloitte firm raises the ground, through more than 250 of its employees around the world, the eight major technological and business trends that are progressing in companies. Its report “Tech Trends 2017 – The kinetic company”, commented yesterday in Paris by the team of Deloitte Digital France, constitutes the synthesis. With eight major trends: IT without borders, dark analytics, machine intelligence, mixed reality, essential architecture, Everything as-a-service, Blockchain: the economy of trust and, finally, exponential technologies. First observation, which gives the title to the report, companies must adopt a permanent movement to “overcome operational inertia” and control their destiny. They must at the same time keep watch, increasingly cross-functionalize, open up to external environments and start-ups to identify new technologies as closely as possible and take advantage of them as a strength of traction to move forward, introduced François-Xavier Leroux, Director Deloitte Digital.

But from one year to the next, the consulting firm also makes it a point of honor to readjust certain outlooks from its previous report (see Tech Trends 2016) which have not evolved as it had expected. On the Internet of Things, for example, the pace has not been as fast as expected, first indicated Sébastien Ropartz, partner at Deloitte Digital. “In the industrial field, the great wave of Industry 4.0 was supposed to develop at full speed,” he recalls. Although the subject was taken into account by the large groups, we did not manage to move into the deployment phases. We approached it by the uses, but it is necessary before business cases on short cycles, without which the trades do not want to evolve, explains the partner. IoT projects continue, at a slower pace. Deloitte makes a 2nd readjustment on the blockchain which nevertheless remains a strong trend. “We had planned for democratization and potentially the beginning of generalization, while we are more about PoCs and closed communities”, comments Sébastien Ropartz.

Eight years of Deloitte Tech Trends reports summarized in one diagram. (enlarge image)

1 – IT without borders

For 2017, the first trend highlights the transformation of the IT department, which is getting closer to the businesses and external partners to “serve customers more effectively”. It is still necessary to gain the confidence of business decision-makers and to create much more multidisciplinary teams for this purpose. The Deloitte report cites the example of a large bank, challenged by online services and fintechs. After converting to agile and devops, she opens up APIs on her information systems (the API economy was a trend identified in the Tech Trends 2015 report) while working with start-ups and incubating projects. “This awareness has very strong organizational impacts,” says François-Xavier Leroux, pointing to the collapsing separation between project management and project management. “The old patterns are falling”, which also affects the management of skills in large groups. “New generations of CIOs are arriving and some are starting to take on business units. In some companies, the CIO will own part of the business. It is therefore a major transformation in IT”, concludes the director of Deloitte Digital.

2 – Dark analytics

New deposits of value exist in the unstructured data that we store, such as images, sound, video or digital traces, and that we did not necessarily know how to exploit until then. The significant progress made over the past two years on Artificial Intelligence and deep learning tools that apply to the analysis of images and sound files make it possible to build use cases that we could not develop before. Deloitte cites the example of an oil group that uses the data fed back from its wells to improve its explorations and return, if necessary, to abandoned sites. But to take advantage of this hitherto unused data, it is necessary to have the required skills, data scientists in particular, if necessary via partnerships or takeovers of start-ups. Deloitte notes the importance of data visualization, “particularly for the acculturation of leaders”, explains the firm.

3 – The intelligence of machines

“Artificial intelligence, we have been talking about it for 50 years, but we have taken a decisive step,” recalls Sébastien Ropartz. In the field of machine learning, he recalls that the open source release by Google in 2015 of its TensorFlow tool, one of the most widely used tools in AI, has notably contributed to accelerating the development of algorithmic capabilities in this field. . “We have gone from the world of automation in which we built a chain of predictive processing to statistical approaches with programs whose behavior will adapt and guide the decision”, he describes and it starts with very basic technologies. like bots. “On this question, I want to demystify one point, we are not in a job destruction at all costs, the world of these robots is unfolding, but not to replace humans”, assures the partner of Deloitte Digital , because these small programs perform extremely simple tasks to speed up processes, direct incoming mail flows for example. Some banks are beginning to treat 80% of responses in this way. “This will remove tasks but not positions,” says Sébastien Ropartz, however. Nevertheless, when asked about the absolute need to develop skills, as relayed at the start of the year by the national banking union, the Deloitte Digital partner recognizes that all of these technologies raise the fundamental problem of training. “AI does not give a 100% answer but comes to support human tasks”, adds Henri Pidault, CTO of Deloitte Digital.

4 – Mixed reality

Augmented reality and virtual reality with a bit of IoT will find a place in companies in the coming months, Deloitte believes, even if the potential of these technologies is hampered by ergonomics issues. But the possibility of using them in part on smartphones will make it possible not to acquire additional equipment, believes François-Xavier Leroux. The most concrete cases are found in the industrial world, with applications in predictive maintenance in augmented reality, and on assembly lines. On virtual reality, Alstom has already deployed a simulation room. Projects may have been slowed down by equipment not fully adapted to these uses. The next step would be to no longer bother with this rather annoying equipment, provides the director of Deloitte Digital. Some e-commerce players also rely on virtual reality to promote their products, but this remains marginal. The consumer bigs are working on it and there should be something in 18 or 24 months.

5- The redesign of the architecture

Beyond glamorous topics, there are real IT architecture topics that are sometimes overlooked. For CIOs, challenged by business and digital, one of the major concerns is to simplify this architecture. “When we arrive at certain deployments, we systematically come up against legacy systems,” recalls Sébastien Ropartz. The CIO therefore has a real problem, that of transforming its core IS to deploy new technologies. In this area, approaches are turning to open source, the cloud, open standards, virtualization and containerization, already adopted by start-ups. On the side of large groups, “container technology is beginning to fit into small bricks of the IS”, notes the partner.

6 – Everything as a service

Already identified, the last wave of transformation of the DSI is to become a bouquet of services, accessible within the company, even outside. “The marketplace logic comes up quite often and this positions IT as a source of value and more like a cost center,” notes François-Xavier Leroux.

7 – Blockchain, the economy of trust

“Last year, we thought that blockchain was going to disrupt the chain of trust. This is not at all what happened, ”says the director of Deloitte Digital. “It is precisely the trusted third parties – banks, insurance companies, market systems like Swift – who have taken over the technology”. We have moved from the myth of bitcoin-centric pioneers to players who are ultimately very good at handling cryptosystems and entering real-life trials. In addition, the blockchain is deployed on closed communities which are very familiar with the logic of trusted third parties. “Traditional players are completely on board with these technologies. This suggests beautiful deployments, ”provides Deloitte.

8 – Exponential technologies

Last trend in the form of a warning, companies must “keep in sight” all technologies which are not yet mature but which have a high potential for disruption and which could change their business models in the relatively near future. Nanotechnology, biotechnology, quantum technologies are part of it, lists the consulting firm. In a field such as energy storage, for example, whoever has succeeded in developing a use case will have a definite advantage. “You have to keep a very precise watch to feel the moment of take-off quickly enough, because there will be a bonus for the first to arrive”, warns François-Xavier Leroux. And the day before will also make it possible to launch the formation of the teams in time.

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