Monday, December 24, 2018

Tech Forecasts: what is the next big thing in 2019?

It is the time of the year when consultants and analysts take stock of the technology trends and prognosticate over emerging technologies. There are many variances to the forecasts and the number of trends predicted, ranging from “top 5” to “top 20” and in-between*. The predictions are around flavors of digital tools and technologies - AI/ML, big-data, SMAC, analytics, Big Data and a few BHAGS like autonomous vehicles and commercial space travel.

Having spent the past couple of decades in the vibrant global tech world, I continue to study and reflect on these forecasts. When read collectively, they are a barometer of where the business investments are headed, especially since the major trends seem to converge on a few common themes. It is also obvious that most analysts glance at the short-term rear-view to ‘predict’ what they see bubbling to the top.


Corporate Digitization playing catchup with Consumer Tech

In the past few years most of the promising emerging technologies were adopted by consumers before finding their way into the corporate world. The earlier generation of iPhones set the bar high for smartphones and consumer adoption eventually leading to BYOD in enterprises. Similarly, consumers began to experience ubiquitous access to WiFi and corporate IT began to follow suite. Machine Learning enabled Chatbots and digital assistants are re-defining consumer User Interfaces using voice and Natural Language to interact with systems.

Many of these technologies are being designed into application platforms and products, enabling corporate users. It is likely that in 2019, we will encounter “2.0” of many of the trends that have already been firming up this year. Let me illustrate with a couple of technology trends that are common in analyst reports


  • Blockchain – Even with the wild swing in the market for Bitcoins this year, tech watchers continued to keep the focus squarely on the underlying cryptographic techniques. Blockchain adoption has moved beyond pilot to production in several industry verticals. Adopting Blockchain techniques to enable trust and traceability between corporate entities will transform some segments of the industry; but it is primarily an underlying technology plumbing to enable Enterprise Architectures, and will be transparent to most users. This is because even the most innovative techniques in data and integration are primarily about enabling secure data transfer. 
  • Robotics and Automation – I spent the good part of this year strategizing and operationalizing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for a Fortune-500 company. These Intelligent Automation techniques continue to make inroads without waiting for organizations to transform their business processes. The reason for this is rather straightforward: even as we move into 2019, there are too many gaps in legacy platforms and processes, that are either too expensive to transform or replace. This is the sweet spot that where adoption of intelligent Automation will continue to make inroads.
  • Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing – Chatbots and intelligent assistants are appearing in a variety of internal and external facing corporate scenarios. However, these are just a small subset of use-cases. Most software vendors are beginning to embed AI and ML techniques into their technology platforms that include supply-chain and planning, recruitment, talent sourcing, big data and analytics, financial data processing and within ERP and CRM systems among others. Such adoption of AI and ML, while transparent to corporate business and technology teams are transforming usability of systems and productivity of users. 

So what do the technology forecasts mean to us?

The year-end is certainly the time to reflect on changes personal and professional, but technology trends and innovations do not follow any calendar; especially not the Gregorian calendar.

  • ‘Technology innovation’ is really a continuum of change that we need to be embracing 
  • Depending on the nature of your role in an organization and its business, there are some technologies that will influence you and your business more than others will. 
  • Your businesses’ appetite for change will dictate the pace of adoption in your organization
A link to a small sampling of tech forecasts - Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019 || Deloitte's 2019 Technology Industry Outlook || ZDNet What’s next for 2019? IoT trends and predictions || Inc. 31 Tech Predictions for 2019 || Looking in a rear-view - Top 10 technology trends to watch in 2018


Thanks for reading! Please click on Like, or Share, Tweet and Comment below to continue this conversation or share your favorite 'trend to watch' | Reposted from my LinkedIn Blog


Sunday, December 23, 2018

Career question: Is LinkedIn a useful platform for Job hunting ?

I don’t agree with the premise of the question that LinkedIn is for ‘sales people’. I am not a salesman, and I am quite active on digital platforms like Quora and Linkedin, and use the latter to network professionally.
Here is my little story.
A little more than a year ago, I moved back to India to be around for my aging parents (ref: What were your experiences moving back to India after getting US citizenship? What are the best ways to make this move?).
I applied for an FMLA from my (then) employer and decided to job-search in Bengaluru where I was going to be based. As an Indian American, most of my old professional network in India had scattered in the years since I had migrated.
I was clear about the kind of role I was looking for. I was looking for a non-sales role in technology management, Enterprise Architecture or solution design. LinkedIn stood out as an ideal platform to network and to revive my old network. A few ways I began leveraging the platform
  • I activated Linkedin Premium . It is money well spent, and allows candidates to get more analytics about advertised jobs, and to reach out to recruiters and others
  • Began actively contributing to the forums on Linkedin - Liking and Commenting on interesting articles, responding to queries and posts in groups that I was interested in.
  • I increased the frequency of my Likedin Pulse (blog) posts on a variety of topics
  • Continued to apply for interesting roles being advertised in job section
In a matter of weeks, LinkedIn analytics indicated that my profile was beginning to stand out among peers.
  • Many in my network began ‘looking’ at updates on my profile and reached out with a ‘hi, how are things’
  • I began to receive queries from head-hunters
  • I began to receive responses to my job application and had some good interviews and discussions with hiring managers
Yes, I got a couple of interesting job offers and finally took up my current role.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

EA Q&A : Who are the potential stakeholders in an Enterprise Architecture program?

Here are a couple of recent questions that came to me from an online forum -

Question 1> Who are the potential stakeholders in an Enterprise Architecture program? 

 My response follows

The potential stakeholders in an Enterprise Architecture (EA) program may include:
  • The Sponsor of EA program - The business, functional or technology sponsor of the EA program will be a key stakeholder
  • The Sponsor’s direct reports - Those people will generally be engaged directly or indirectly in EA reviews
  • The Sponsor’s reporting managers/executives - The sponsor will engage his/her reporting executives in the EA program
  • IS and Technology stakeholders - The CIO/CTO may engage key people from their team for the EA program
  • Functional stakeholders - The term ‘functional’ or ‘Business’ is generally broad and may include operational leadership and functional leaders who drive strategic initiatives across the organization
  • Functional and operational team members - Do not underestimate the tacit knowledge that can exist in pockets across the enterprise. EA’s may have to engage with a wide spectrum of subject matter experts (SMEs) from across the organization
This is not an inclusive list, but just intended to guide you to explore the list of stakeholders.
After you identify your stakeholders, you will need a Responsibility assignment matrix (RACI) to ensure you engage and communicate with stakeholders.

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Question 2> What kind of personal/technical skills are required for an information architect (IA)? I major in information science and planning classes for next semester.

 My response follows

There are many ways of looking at Information Architecture (IA).
  • In many organizations, Information gets granular when you engage with specific business, functional or technology Domains. Each will have a specific vocabulary, taxonomy and other business dimensions that you will have to gain expertise in. For example, an IA for a Finance domain may be different from that in Legal or Commercial areas.
  • The TOGAF Standard, Phase C: Information Systems Architectures - Under IS Architecture, TOGAF takes into account Data and Application Architecture.
As you plan to major in information science, you could broaden your knowledge by taking some courses in functional domain areas.