8 Business Tech Trends to Watch in 2008

The McKinsey nerds have been doing their homework. In particular they seem to be paying attention to the ideas of McKinsey alumnus John Hagel who foretold almost every single one of these “trends” a decade ago.
In Eight business technology trends to watch they tell us that “Technology alone is rarely the key to unlocking economic value: companies create real wealth when they combine technology with new ways of doing business.”
Here are the eight technology-enabled business trends they’ve identified:
1. Distributing cocreation
“Technology now allows companies to delegate substantial control to outsiders—cocreation—in essence by outsourcing innovation to business partners that work together in networks.”
2. Using consumers as innovators
“As the Internet has evolved—an evolution prompted in part by new Web 2.0 technologies—it has become a more widespread platform for interaction, communication, and activism. Consumers increasingly want to engage online with one another and with organizations of all kinds. Companies can tap this new mood of customer engagement for their economic benefit.”
3. Tapping into a world of talent
“Top talent for a range of activities—from finance to marketing and IT to operations—can be found anywhere. The best person for a task may be a free agent in India or an employee of a small company in Italy rather than someone who works for a global business services provider. Software and Internet technologies are making it easier and less costly for companies to integrate and manage the work of an expanding number of outsiders, and this development opens up many contracting options for managers of corporate functions.”
4. Extracting more value from interactions
“The application of technology has reduced differences among the productivity of transformational and transactional employees, but huge inconsistencies persist in the productivity of high-value tacit ones. Improving it is more about increasing their effectiveness—for instance, by focusing them on interactions that create value and ensuring that they have the right information and context—than about efficiency. Technology tools that promote tacit interactions, such as wikis, virtual team environments, and videoconferencing, may become no less ubiquitous than computers are now. As companies learn to use these tools, they will develop managerial innovations—smarter and faster ways for individuals and teams to create value through interactions—that will be difficult for their rivals to replicate. Companies in sectors such as health care and banking are already moving down this road.”
5. Expanding the frontiers of automation
“Companies, governments, and other organizations have put in place systems to automate tasks and processes: forecasting and supply chain technologies; systems for enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, and HR; product and customer databases; and Web sites. Now these systems are becoming interconnected through common standards for exchanging data and representing business processes in bits and bytes. What’s more, this information can be combined in new ways to automate an increasing array of broader activities, from inventory management to customer service.”
6. Unbundling production from delivery
“Technology helps companies to utilize fixed assets more efficiently by disaggregating monolithic systems into reusable components, measuring and metering the use of each, and billing for that use in ever-smaller increments cost effectively. Information and communications technologies handle the tracking and metering critical to the new models and make it possible to have effective allocation and capacity-planning systems.”
7. Putting more science into management
“Just as the Internet and productivity tools extend the reach of and provide leverage to desk-based workers, technology is helping managers exploit ever-greater amounts of data to make smarter decisions and develop the insights that create competitive advantages and new business models. From “ideagoras” (eBay-like marketplaces for ideas) to predictive markets to performance-management approaches, ubiquitous standards-based technologies promote aggregation, processing, and decision making based on the use of growing pools of rich data.”
BTW, this “trend” is owned by one Tom Davenport.
8. Making businesses from information
“Accumulated pools of data captured in a number of systems within large organizations or pulled together from many points of origin on the Web are the raw material for new information-based business opportunities.”
Take for example, ecosystema >>
So what have they left out? What business-tech trends have they overlooked?
Here are a few I came up with:
a. Internal Branding
The use of technology to improve internal communications and encourage employee engagement. Read up on Tammy Erickson!
b. The Return of Online Communities
An old idea, but with Web 2.0, companies must learn to engage their partners, suppliers, customers, and yes their competition. This does overlap trend # 4 (extracting value from interactions) but it’s far more than that. More about this from John Hagel >>
c. Greenwashing
Every business, even in the technology world, must learn how to become sustainable in this age of environmental activism. Companies that do so half-heartedly will pay the price.
d. Authentic Marketing
Using technology to drive a company’s message to capture attention using techniques that are authentic and reflect the core values of the company. The key to this will be ecosystem management.
What else?

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