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What should companies look for in 2016?

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IDC and Gartner have predicted there will be a surge in demand for digitisation in all facets of enterprise businesses over the coming year. At Avanade, we are seeing these predictions becoming a reality for our clients, with digitisation an irresistible force that is driving companies to rethink their response to markets and reshape their operations. These changes will have massive implications for how we all work and interact with family, friends, colleagues and suppliers. Below,
John Tadman, country manager of Avanade South Africa, shares his top three market predictions for 2016.

We are entering the Digital Transformation Era
The Digital Transformation Era has been promised, but now it’s here. Over the second half of this decade, it will be a case of ‘digital or die’ for organisations seeking to improve productivity, increase agility, and differentiate from competitors. Many organisations have embarked on a digital transformation journey to improve customer engagement, but to be digital on the outside, you need to be digital on the inside.
In 2016, South African companies will recognise the need to move beyond basic employee collaboration tools like email, and instead embrace a true digital workplace to drive continued productivity and competitive advantage. Over the coming year, organisations will focus on bringing together user-friendly social, mobile, analytics and cloud computing technologies to create a digital workplace that senses and responds to the information needs of individual employees – anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
According to IDC, by 2018, 80 percent of B2C and 60 percent of B2B organisations will overhaul their “digital front door” to support 1,000 to 10,000 times as many customers/customer touch points as they do today.

A new workforce of humans, machines, and intelligent software will emerge
In 2016, organisations must start embracing a blended workforce that comprises humans, data and intelligent software working together. A blended workforce will automate many of the manual, transactional processes that humans perform today, but we need not fear that humans will become obsolete. Instead, with an emerging ‘battle for brains’ and war on talent, a blended workforce will free people to concentrate on critical business issues and innovation.
In fact, 91% of respondents to a global survey commissioned by Avanade believe today’s teenagers will work in roles that don’t exist today. Going forward, we can expect roles in areas like security and identity management to become more prevalent, as well as the introduction of new roles like the digital humanist, who will help organisations address ethical considerations arising from the use of digital technologies.
As we have seen throughout history, a changing workforce is inevitable, but digital technologies are reshaping how we work at a more rapid rate than ever before. As we move into what Gartner is calling the ‘algorithmic economy’, South African organisations will need to transform to a digital workplace that senses and responds to the information needs of individual employees, in order to remain competitive and attract the best talent in a connected world.

IoT: no longer hype; enterprise businesses are deriving value from it
In 2016, the Internet of Things (IoT) will become a key focus area for organisations, as the cost-effectiveness of the cloud and processing power of digital analytics solutions makes it more practical to translate data from disparate devices and systems into actionable insights that improve productivity.
Avanade is already working with organisations in sectors as diverse as agriculture and mining to help them drive value from an ever-increasing range of data sources. For example, Avanade has helped develop an IoT solution that will enable a client translate large amounts of data captured from different systems and devices, including images captured by drones, into insights about where and when plants should be cultivated – optimising production yields. At Avanade, we are hearing from clients across all industries that the potential of IoT is huge and the adoption of intelligent data mining and predictive analytics solutions to filter relevant insights will be priorities for their organisations in 2016.