Inside Supply Management Magazine

The Tech Forces That Are Driving Change

January 28, 2020

As supply management organizations continue to evolve, a common measure they undertake is digital transformation. At the heart of the trends highlighted in Tech Trends 2020, Deloitte’s 11th annual look at emerging technology trends, is organizational change: Each trend, no matter whether it relates to persistent informational-technology (IT) challenges or business opportunities, will likely drive organizational change.

The report focuses on seven areas:

Macro technology forces. The 2019 report called out nine macro technology forces — including analytics, cloud, cognitive and blockchain — as “the backbone of business innovation and transformation.” Businesses are using these forces to create more value, the 2020 report says, and three other technologies — ambient experience, exponential intelligence and quantum — are emerging as macro forces of the future.

Ethical technology and trust. Trust becomes a critical goal for organizations as they realize that “every aspect of their organization that is disrupted by technology represents an opportunity to gain or lose trust,” the report states. Building that trust extends to people — employees and stakeholders — and processes. Companies are striving for trustworthy decisions, products and services, data management and training, among other processes. Additionally, companies are emphasizing ethical technology, the report states.

Finance and the future of IT. To improve outcomes, more tech and finance leaders in the future are expected to work together in developing agile approaches to innovation. The two areas will need each other’s support, the report states.

Digital twins: Bridging the physical and digital. Digital twins — virtual models, replicas or simulations — can help organizations improve processes, from increasing manufacturing efficiency to optimizing supply chains; make real-time decisions; and develop new products. More organizations are expected to use this measure in the future.

Human experience platforms. An emerging trend, human experience platforms, which can recognize a user’s emotional state and its context and respond, combine several types of technology, including artificial intelligence. According to the report, “the ability to leverage emotionally intelligent platforms to recognize and use emotional data at scale is one of the biggest, most important opportunities for companies going forward.”

Architecture awakens. Organizations are becoming aware that the science of technology architecture “is more strategically important than ever,” the report states. And to remain competitive, organizations will need to rethink how they use technology architects.

Horizon next: A future look at the trends. Aligning innovation with strategy and having a long-term plan regarding technology can help organizations be prepared for future technological disruption.