Intriguing IT Possibilities for 2014

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2014 will be everything cloud as it is steadily absorbed into business DNA while it continues to evolve into the predominant way companies go to market, relate with their customers and partners, and deliver increasing aspects of their products as online services but expect much more too--3D-printing, wearable computers, drones, and electronic wallets.

Much of what to expect from IT for 2014 you have already had glimpses of right here in wiredFINANCE but others may be completely new. Of course, 2014 will be cloud everything as the cloud is steadily absorbed into business DNA while it continues to evolve into the predominant way companies go to market, relate with their customers and partners, and deliver increasing aspects of their products as online services.

Also expect the continued hyping of big data, especially the unstructured data found everywhere, and analytics, which is necessary to make sense of the data. In 2014 analytics will be augmented by real-time analytics and predictive analytics, both of which can indeed deliver measurable business value.

Mobile, in the form of smartphones and tablet devices, will be the device of choice for more and more people worldwide. Your mobile device will increasingly handle your communications, shopping, purchasing, socializing, entertainment, and work tasks as well as take over more of the functions of your wallet. Eventually it will contain your identification, memberships, subscriptions, credit and debit cards as security gets bolstered,

In 2014 everything will be virtualized. In the process it will become defined by software. That means it will be programmable, allowing you to change its capabilities almost at will. Virtualized, software-defined capabilities will be in the products you acquire and the appliances you buy. You next car will be software-defined and Internet (cloud) connected. Your video-enabled car will be able to park in a tighter space than you can park it yourself.

Digital video also will become pervasive.  What will your business do with it? Think marketing initially. Then there is the whole video surveillance thing, but that's another column.

On to the completely new: business drones are coming; mainly in the form of smart, software defined and programmable devices that can fly. Amazon hopes to use them to deliver items to your doorstep within hours of your purchase. What might your business do with a capability like this?

3D-printing is my favorite. Where the Internet disintermediated much of the traditional supply chain and distribution channel, 3D-printing can disintermdiate manufacturers by printing the physical product at your site. Now software-defined, customizable mass products can be cost-effectively manufactured at scale for a market of one. With 3D-printing you can deliver a customizable version of your widget to a customer as readily as you send a fax. Can you make some money with that capability?

Finally, smart, wearable, cloud-connected computers in the form of wrist watches (remember old Dick Tracy comics) and eye wear. Google Glass will become increasingly commonplace. Exactly what will be the business value of Google Glass remains unclear. Right now you buy it for the extreme cool factor.

So expect new IT goodies around the digital Xmas tree by the end of 2014. Some may be a bust; others may be late in coming but they all promised to be interesting. As CFO, your job is to figure out which of these help can you meet your financial goals and how. Best wishes for 2014.

 

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