At the beginning of every year, we are inundated by a barrage of content which loftily predicts the “trends” for the next 12-month period.
But what causes a trend to emerge? “Typically driven by a number of factors, a ‘trend’ is generally the product of an evolving socio-economic landscape, or a response to changing consumer needs,” says Alan Goldberg, Director at Apple Premium Reseller Digicape.
In terms of trends within the tech industry it’s a little trickier, admits Goldberg “as technological advancements move forward at the speed of light.” The birth of a ‘trend’ could simply be the inevitable outcome of a shift to accommodate or leverage these developments – rather than the other way around.”
One example is Instagram, which is commonly accepted as the catalyst behind the emergence of the ‘selfie generation.’ These perfectly presented images that litter our feeds have given rise to new makeup trends and even an increase in certain cosmetic procedures. “Thus you could argue that the technology (Instagram) gave birth to the trend (selfies), which in turn sparked the invention of new technology, such as the selfie stick and beautifying apps, for example.”
In either instance – whether it’s tech that drives business innovation or whether broader macro factors catalyse technological innovation – “we can all admit that its rapid advancement has drastically impacted the way we do business.”
Goldberg lists a few examples of how technology continues to drive or facilitate a business paradigm shift in 2018.
The rise of Prosumerism
“Technology has become accessible, which has given rise to the ‘prosumer’ – a person who produces media, explains Goldberg. “We see more and more young people embarking on entrepreneurial endeavours as content creators, bloggers or videographers, rather than seeking employment in traditional fields.
“The technology of yesteryear was less advanced than it is today, but the usability was a lot more complex. Today’s technology is extremely sophisticated and produces ‘professional’ media, but is also highly intuitive and user-friendly; think of the iPad Pro, for example.
“Millennials – inherent early adopters – find it easy to navigate new tech, and are taking ownership of upskilling themselves and acquiring new and transferable skills.”
A more mobile workforce
The emphasis on work-life balance will continue to grow, with employees prioritising quality of life over paycheck. “Companies attuned to employees’ needs will seek ways to evaluate individuals based on their output rather than hours on the clock and as a result, will re-envision organisational structures to better accommodate a more flexible working environment,” says Goldberg.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), where employees take personally-owned devices to their place of work and use them to access company resources, facilitates increased mobility. And Cloud based solutions, which allow businesses to access software over the internet without additional investment in software and hardware, is another facilitator for flexibility.
You may have heard the term ‘design thinking’, but you probably haven’t heard of ‘programming thinking.’ ‘Programming thinking’ refers to a mindset shift, rather than specific programming capability. “Developers code complex programmes through breaking the task down into manageable chunks, and solving pieces at a time, says Goldberg. “It is a solutions-driven approach; reframing the way we think and tackle challenging tasks.”
Certain schools are starting to incorporate programming thinking into all aspects of the curricula – and while it’s still early days, “we will start to see a generation enter the workplace which is equipped to solve complex business problems.”
Systems integration: the 2018 buzzword(s)
Organisations are slowly doing away with the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to their systems. ‘Systems integration’ replaces ‘big data’ as the annoying buzzword for 2018, and refers to the use of multiple systems in a single workplace, seamlessly integrated to work in harmony. “While it sounds too good to be true, it’s fast becoming the norm internationally,” says Goldberg.
Gone are the days of corporates operating exclusively in Windows or iOS. Companies are offering employees their choice of device (Mac or Windows PC), and working with operating system-neutral software.
“It’s key to find a service provider with the necessary expertise and experience to integrate these operating systems effectively,” says Goldberg.