Thinking beyond the digital frontier - Deloitte’s Tech Trends for 2019 and beyond

22 January, 2019

How can we sense and act upon a future that remains unclear? The good news is that much of the technology-driven disruption that each of us experiences today - and will likely experience going forward - is understandable and knowable, explains Deloitte in its new Tech Trends insight report for 2019. It explains: "It's an exciting time to venture beyond the digital frontier!"

While it is easy to jump on the bandwagon with emerging technology, Deloitte warns it is no longer sufficient to embrace innovations and trends that are already underway. To stay ahead, companies "must work methodically to sense new possibilities that exist far beyond the digital frontier," it says.

As it highlights in the tenth anniversary edition, emerging technology trends "can seem both elusive and ephemeral, but some become integral to business and IT strategies - and form the backbone of tomorrow's technology innovation". The chapters of the publication look to guide executives, particularly company CIOs through what it sees as today's most promising trends, with an eye toward innovation and growth and a spotlight on emerging trends that may well offer new avenues for pursuing strategic ambitions.

Technology changes quickly and that is clearly evident if you were to read the first edition of Deloitte's Tech Trends publication back in 2010 (out of interest it was one-third the scale of the 141 page document published this year). The original report featured chapters on cloud, cybersecurity, the Internet of Things, mobile's looming impact on the enterprise, and user-centered design. Deloitte explains all this topics at the time "felt overwhelming and fantastical," and interestingly, "many of the things that seemed so incredible 10 years ago are now foundational".

This journey from uncertainty to digital transformation informs the latest offering, Tech Trends 2019: Beyond the digital frontier. A persistent theme of every Tech Trends report has been the increasing, often mind-bending, velocity of change.

"A decade ago, many companies could achieve competitive advantage by embracing innovations and trends that were already underway," says the report. "Today, this kind of reactive approach is no longer enough. To stay ahead of the game, companies must work methodically to sense new innovations and possibilities, define their ambitions for tomorrow, and journey beyond the digital frontier."

But the big question remains: How can we sense and act upon a future that remains unclear? The report claims that the good news is that much of the tech-driven disruption each of us experiences today - and will likely experience going forward - "is understandable and knowable".

The most promising technology trends of tomorrow are grounded in nine powerful macro forces that form the backbone of technology innovation today, explains Deloitte, and understanding how they function, together and separately, is key.

READ MORE... view the full reportTech Trends 2019: beyond the digital frontier

These include three recent trends - blockchain, cognitive, and digital reality - that are poised to become macro forces in their own right; what are described as "top of the iceberg" technologies such as AI, intelligent interfaces, and experiential marketing; and then the likes of serverless computing, advanced connectivity, and DevSecOps.

In our final chapter, we try to demystify the future of digital transformation by examining approaches for turning something seemingly nebulous and uncertain into a process that is measurable and knowable.

So here's to the next decade of opportunity, whatever it may be. Along the way, embrace that queasy feeling of uncertainty. Be excited about it. Because what you are actually feeling is tremendous, unimaginable opportunity.

"Today, when every company is a technology company and everyone is a technologist, there could not be a more exciting or opportune time to leave your mark on your company, your industry, and on an entire world of possibility that awaits just beyond the digital frontier," explains Deloitte.