Friday, 10 March 2017

Digital Megatrends and its Future Impacts


“In a world that is constantly changing, there is no one subject or set of subjects that will serve you for the foreseeable future, let alone for the rest of your life. The most important skill to acquire now is learning how to learn.”  

-John Naisbitt
Introduction

One thing which is permanent in life is “change” and talking about technological changes, these are happening at such a fast pace that if we ignore these then sooner or later we will be behind of those making use of the advance technology. The time is changing and it’s important that every Organization should invest time in upgrading technology and its people so as to be ahead of this ever changing environment (thinking wise) which ultimately will bring in more and more efficiency. We need to keep an eye on the future Digital Megatrends so as to continue making changes in our working style with the change in the outside environment.
To better prepare our self for a challenging environment, it would always be good to start searching for the answers that our future environment will ask us so that we can be better prepared for it.
 
Following megatrends will be covered under Working Culture and Environment:
Working Culture
1)     Cloud Computing
2)     Automation
3)     Virtual Space
4)     Security Concern
5)     Next Step of Virtual Space

Environment

1) Use of Renewable energy
2) Cost cutting measures

One of the key issues in the future will be to make better use of the information which will be available in abundance (in raw form). So the task will be to identify the relevant information and make use of it before anyone do so. We have explained the ways through which we can achieve this, but as of now we should focus on the mega trends that will going to impact our working style, because the one who will start preparing today will win the future battle, so start early and prepare well is the key.

Working Culture: In an environment where abundance of information is available and everyone (intense competition) is in a battle like situation to become the first user of the information, the success or failure of an Organization depends upon how we perceive information and make efficient use of it for our advantage. Technology definitely helps not only in getting access to useful information but also to make a useful analysis in a timely and efficient manner.

1   Making use of Cloud Computing: Though not a new technology, but gone are the days wherein Organizations maintained Servers to store data. Under Cloud Computing one can make use of the Space provided by the third party vendor to store data. For a small Organization the decision to go for Cloud computing will definitely be dependent on Cost benefit analysis however Cloud Computing definitely has advantage over maintaining data using in house servers.
"Being amongst the toppers and to be at the top, it would be great to do a Cost benefit analysis, whether we should upgrade our self to cloud computing or not. The decision should be based on the following factors:

i)     Cost involved in maintaining the Servers (Manpower, Security and Backup),
ii)   Capacity of the existing servers to hold information and the future needs to increase the same,
iii)  Risk involved in maintaining the data in our own servers (how prepare are we as far as backup plans are concerned), in case of Cloud Computing, responsibility of Securing and Maintaining the backups will be on the Third party Vendor,
iv)  We have faced the issue of drives not working, which can lead to loss of crucial data, the problems will solved using Cloud Computing,
v)   Flexibility to increase the Server Capacity during peak seasons,
vi)  Access to use data anytime from anywhere.

“As per the Report published by Vanson Bourne (FY14-15), use of Cloud Computing brings in 20.66% average improvement in time to market, 18.80% average increase in process efficiency, and 15.07% in IT spending, in total 19.63% increase in company growth.”
In the Modern era, wherein Cloud computing is a thing of past, firms providing Cloud computing services have reached the next level wherein additional services using Artificial intelligence have been added. These firms in addition to providing servers also help in analysing data and trends, the next level of Cloud computing will be the “Fog Computing” wherein Organizations like Cisco and IBM are working on. 
Next Mega trend that we will cover in our paper that we believe will play a significant role in the future will be “Automation”. It’s not a new term and the Successful Organizations that we see today are the ones who practice and make extensive use of the automation. Next level automation will be at different level, which will bring more efficiency and those who practice automation as part of their DNA will be the clear future winners.
 Automation: Dictionary definition of the word automation is, "the technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a process by highly automatic means, as by electronic devices, reducing human intervention to a minimum”. Future is all about automation and with the help of the technology regular and routine activities can be automated which will give more time to the most important resource of the Organization (human capital) to focus more on critical tasks. It will be impossible to analyse all the information manually, especially when how early you analyse the information is a vital factor, so Automation not only will make us efficient it will also bring our focus on factors which we generally miss. Speed, accuracy, efficiency, timings are some of the factor which will play crucial in future. So, sooner we shift our focus to Automation, earlier we learn the tricks to survive in the competitive environment.
Automation has one dark side also.

“47 percent of jobs are “at risk” of being automated in the next 20 years.”

                                         --- Carl Frey and Michael Osborne, Oxford University
                            (The future of Employment: How Susceptible are jobs to Computerisation”)
If we use Automation, the manpower required will obviously be less than when the same work is performed manually. So does that means we should stop practicing Automation, there is no alternative to Automation, today or tomorrow we have to accept it. Instead of treating Automation / Technology as a threat, we should practice it, we will surely find ways to integrate technology with human power, after technology is not the answer to everything and we believe people will find ways to deal with it. Even if technology impact the employment, we will find new ways, new problems, new challenges, new opportunities and new avenues of doing business. It’s an opportunity, Humans and the technology are the most powerful thing in today’s world. We should consider this as an opportunity and deploy our professional’s more on value adds and that would help the firm to win more client by it quality, out of the box solutions and stretching its global appearance.
 
“Technology is the solution to human problems. We won’t run out of work till we run out of problems.
--- Nick Hanauer
Technology is the answer, need of the hour to find the best possible way to integrate power of technology and power of humans. With this we come to our third Megatrend i.e. Virtual Space.
  Virtual Space / Absence of Physical Space: Next big megatrend on which we would like to focus is the Virtual space. Due to the cost involved, soon the concept of coming to a location (office space) to complete the task will be outdated; it will be replaced by Virtual space. Concept wise Virtual space is a platform wherein the physical presence of the person is not required, people come together (through login IDs) to share knowledge and information and to complete the task.
Virtual space provides the following benefits:
1)     Low cost: While working in a Virtual space environment one does not require having office space, so it provides the benefits of savings in the form of reducing the cost of holding the office space. Not only the cost of office space (in the form of rent) is saved, when the employee work from the place of his / her choice (and not the office space which is provided by the management), it also brings savings in the form of less payment of Electricity cost and cab cost.  

2)     Flexibility: Virtual space / offline mode provides the flexibility by allowing people to choose the place of the work. It will definitely bring more satisfaction to the people and adds towards the employee welfare, to retain good employee Organizations needs to think about taking such steps which will increase employee satisfaction and Virtual space can be a good step towards that.     

3)     Saves time and cost of commuting: Time saved in commuting from home to office and office to home will be better utilized.

4)     Increase productivity: Working from the place of your choice (increasing employee welfare) and utilising the time in a more efficient manner will definitely increase the productivity.

5)     Good for the Environment: Virtual Space is definitely a way the harmful effect of which on the environment is very less. You save on the pollution (less travelling means less pollution), on the electricity and minimize the wastage.
Everything has a shade of black and white; if not, plan properly, Virtual space will not achieve the desired results.
     Now we come to the second part of this Paper, i.e. Environment. Responsible Organization should be concerned about the Environment and should take such concrete steps that will set an example for other firms to follow. We have listed down a couple of ideas which we can be implemented for a better future.
1.)   Use of Renewable energy: We all know that natural resources on Earth are limited and we should make more use of alternative source of energy like Natural energy (Wind energy, Sun energy etc.). We can have Solar panel so that at least we can generate the energy for the basic work (like running the coffee machines or water dispenser machines or to run the Geysers). Future will be based out of the Renewable source of energy, many of the Countries have switched from using Non Renewable source of energy and they either have implemented or planning to survive on Renewable resources.
 
2.)   No / less use of the Paper: We personally feel that there should be a check on the use of the paper in the Organization. There are some steps which we can take in order if not to eliminate but to minimize the use of the paper like the use of plastic glass instead of paper one in the breakouts and cafeteria, inculcating the habits of using blowers in the washroom instead of using napkins, such small- small changes will definitely make a big impact on the future.
                                                                                                                             Raman Khunger
                                                                                                                           Jatender Pal Singh