Tech will shape businesses

Updated: Dec 31 2007, 05:54am hrs
In a survey of 200 global CXOs, over 70% of the executives highlighted technology as the top change driver shaping the global business environment. It forms the backbone of every successful business. The key trends, I see, as driving technology innovation in 2008 are:

Customer-centric era

Personalisation and user experience have become vital. Customers are willing to make trade-off on some features for the overall experience. Companies such as Apple have leveraged this renewed focus on experience by designing innovative user interfaces using touch technology in the iPhone. Technologies such as RFID are helping deliver superior retail experiences. In the automobile industry, consumers are showing increased preference for features available on the car dashboard such as GPS, multimedia screens, emergency services etc. Companies are using technology to co-create new products and services with customers and partners to accelerate innovation cycles.

Emergence of attention economy

The convergence of mobile, web and real-world shows great promise. As consumers increasingly adopt smaller form factors (e.g. mobile devices), there is an increased need for applications to interact with these devices. We see multiple examples of these in retail banking, capital markets etc. In an attention economy, people prefer to have relevant information pushed to them (e.g. alerts) based on their profiles rather than seeking for the information from these devices directly.

Rise of personal tech

A key trend driving the knowledge-based economy is the emergence of Web 2.0. It is a set of emerging technologies (such as AJAX, RSS, blogs, wikis, IP convergence, web services) for creating enhanced customer experience, co-creating value and delivering differentiated products and services. Web 2.0 leads to the creation of rich content for the internet and provides a completely novel user experience largely focused around social networking and community-based interactions.

Alternate delivery models

Software as a Service (SaaS) is one of the alternative models of software/application delivery that emerged out of an increasing dissatisfaction with the costs, complexities and duration that it takes for purchasers of software to realise value from their investments. Companies are harnessing Web 2.0-based SaaS business solutions to better connect with custo-mers, expand into new markets and comply with multiple regional regulations. The pay-as-you-go subscription model enables companies to convert fixed to variable costs. The minimal upfront investment and savings from long running operational expenses provides CAPEX and OPEX advantages.

Continued focus on security

The needs of the always-on, anytime-anywhere access of the converged world have introduced a paradigm change in the way applications are engineered and delivered. These changes have necessitated a renewed effort to ensure secure access and delivery of software services and solutions across devices and networks.

Environment becoming mainstream

We will witness application of technologies that will address the issues around the carbon footprint of global corporations. Companies will apply these technology solutions to realign their business processes and operations to determine sources of competitive advantage.

These trends represent a broad spectrum of changes that will impact businesses in different verticals in different ways. The key is to identify the top trends that will affect the markets and industry in which we have a holdand to identify opportunities where we can proactively participate in catalysing these changes rather than merely reacting to them.

(The writer is CEO and MD, Infosys Technologies)