It's easy to shrug off trends as temporary ways of approaching business. The best approach is to stick to what you know works, right?
Wrong, if you ask Reggie Bradford, SVP of product development at Oracle. Bradford spoke Monday at the multinational tech corporation's OpenWorld conference in San Francisco about what he called "megatrends."
Megatrends, per Bradford's PowerPoint, "are global, sustained, and macroeconomic forces of development that impact business, economy, society, culture, and personal lives, thereby defining our world and its increasing pace of change."
There are five of them he thinks you should really pay attention to if you want your company to keep pace with the wider world. "Ignore these megatrends at your own peril," he said.
1. Pivot to cloud
You've probably been slammed with marketing materials touting the supremacy of cloud computing. Despite all the jargon surrounding cloud software, there are solid reasons to consider incorporating cloud computing services into your operations. Only six percent of enterprise workloads are in the cloud right now, says Bradford. Cloud computing is a relatively new option for businesses, and one that allows for a lot of agility, he says.
This is a megatrend you've been hearing about since long before Tom Friedman declared the world to be flat. It still matters. "Technologies have broken down geographic and cultural barriers, connecting people and businesses in real time," Bradford's PowerPoint stated. Social networks are mainstream, and if they might play a role in your business--which they probably do--then you should be making use of them.
3. Data liquidity and visualization
"Data is currency. Unlock, invest," stated the PowerPoint. Bradford broke it down, explaining that there are "amazing insights and engagement opportunities" if you find a way to utilize your company's data. An example he provided for unlocking the value of data is the app Waze, which crowdsources traffic data to help drivers find the fastest routes, turning congestion into revenue.
4. Internet of things
Everything is trending toward being connected. By 2020, it is projected there will be 50 billion internet-connected devices globally, says Bradford. That includes cars, homes, tools for agriculture--and probably items that pertain directly to your business.
5. Artificial intelligence
How do you liquidate all that data? For a lot of businesses, the answer is A.I. You can see this day to day in your Facebook news feed and in digital assistants that keep you organized 24/7 without ever needing a break. The automation and data processing enabled by A.I. technologies is bigger than the change brought about by mobile, said Bradford.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the percentage of enterprise workloads that are in the cloud according to Bradford. Six percent of enterprise workloads are in the cloud.