2015 digital technology trends for business

January 13, 2015

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When it comes to digital technology, January brings a couple of certainties—fun and futuristic dispatches from the Consumer Electronics Show and a tidal wave of top-ten lists. While interesting and even informative, these compilations don’t necessarily help you prioritize your own enterprise investments. Which is why we’ve taken a different tack in this year’s preview of our Digital IQ Survey.

As usual, we asked business and IT leaders to tell us which technologies they are investing in from a menu of 24 choices—we’ll dive into findings from that data in future blog posts. But this time around we’re looking beyond the top-ten rankings at the overlooked opportunities. Digital tech has become the lynchpin for disruption and cXompanies that make the right moves can capture new markets, displace incumbents, and even create whole new industries. Those that don’t may see competitors or new entrants seize the day.

Looking beyond the biggest technology investments for 2015

Topping this year’s list, for both IT and business executives, were cybersecurity (69%), private cloud (61%), and data mining and analysis (54%). This trio of essential technologies isn’t likely to surprise anyone—and as the saying goes, you won’t get fired for making these types of sure bets. And, in fact, we’d be amazed if you weren’t already well-invested here.

What interested us more than the popular picks were those that were being passed over. We zeroed in on a trio of emerging technologies that we believe offer extraordinary potential: wearable computing, NoSQL databases, and business sensors. Companies that thoughtfully consider, experiment with, and apply these technologies within the enterprise and with their customers may unlock a significant competitive advantage.

With just 3% of businesses investing in wearable technology, it ranked at the very bottom of the list for all respondents, regardless of their role in the enterprise or the region they come from. Enterprise wearables hold so much promise because they provide a hands-free way for employees to engage in real-time with context-specific business information, customers, or one another. Businesses looking to exploit wearables can begin by considering which user groups, environments, and tasks can most benefit from the real-time information and engagement they make possible.

Our second surprising pick is NoSQL databases, which only 6% of businesses are currently investing in. NoSQL databases flexibly manage and make sense of the seemingly unlimited customer, product, environment, and social data that powers new apps and analytics. You might be surprised to learn that pockets of your organization are already experimenting with NoSQL databases for mobile app development or data analysis.

The Internet of Things and product-based sensors may get all the attention, but we see incredible potential in sensors for collecting business information. While a solid 23% of respondents told us they were investing here, we still view business sensors as a missed opportunity for many more companies. Why? Sensors provide a relatively low-cost way for companies to learn about their customers, employees, and operations—and then use that data to improve engagement, sales, productivity, safety, operations and more.

What do you think are the most overlooked technologies? What would be at the top and bottom of your list of essential technologies for your business?

Read more about our picks at www.pwc.com/us/tech-trends. And look out for additional posts on what our Digital IQ Survey preview data revealed—coming soon.

Infographic: 2015 Digital Technology Trends for Business

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Contacts

Chris Curran

Principal and Chief Technologist, PwC US Tel: +1 (214) 754 5055 Email

Vicki Huff Eckert

Global New Business & Innovation Leader Tel: +1 (650) 387 4956 Email

Mark McCaffrey

US Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Leader Tel: +1 (408) 817 4199 Email