Ben Dowd’s 2014 Predictions

2013 has been a banner year for business technology in the UK. For one, we’ve seen the arrival of widespread 4G, which as it builds will create an environment of truly ubiquitous connectivity. That’s driven other trends as well: mobile advertising continues to grow into a dominant market, enhanced by additional capabilities afforded by faster connections. Greater connectivity is also fuelling the growth of big data, which we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg from so far. Those trends will continue into 2014.

But what else does the next year hold in store?

The future of IT isn’t bring-your-own-device, it’s bring-your-own-everything. From business smartphone apps to cloud services like Dropbox and Office 365, we’re nearing the end of the era in which IT departments prescribe hardware and software for employees – and the beginning of an era in which employees simply source their own IT solutions. Businesses need to act now to put policies in place to support this growing demand from the workforce.

Corporate Democracy:
Imagine a CEO ‘liking’ an idea posted by a field technician on the company’s social network. Enterprise social services have the potential to flatten corporate decision-making hierarchies like we’ve never seen before. It’s the dawn of corporate democracy. Every business has something to gain from enterprise social, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of solution. Businesses that can harness it better than their peers will find themselves at a competitive advantage.

Remodelling Retail:
Your average high street shop is a creature of a bygone era, designed around immovable point-of-sale systems tethered to fixed connection points. The rise of mobile payment systems, for retailers and consumers alike, is creating a blank canvas for retail – and huge opportunities for first-movers. The question for me is, will we continue to see baby steps towards innovation or will we finally see a retail revolution?