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Business and Technology: Trending the Trends

Deloitte Insights video

Individually, technology trends such as mobility, cloud computing, analytics and gamification are making organizations more efficient. When these capabilities collide, however, they can potentially reshape operating models, business models – and even industries and markets. Watch this episode of Deloitte Insights to learn more.


Mark White, Principal , Deloitte Consulting LLP
Bill Briggs, Director , Deloitte Consulting LLP


It’s time for Insights, a video news production of Deloitte LLP. Now, here is your host, Sean O’Grady.

Sean O’Grady (Sean): Hello and welcome to Insights. Today, we will be discussing the technology trends shaping the way we do business in 2012. And, if you are a regular viewer of this program, then you might recognize these two guys: from Dallas, Texas, we are welcoming back Mark White, a principal in Deloitte Consulting and the chief technology officer of Deloitte’s Consulting Technology practice. Also with us from Texas is Bill Briggs, global Deloitte Digital lead, deputy CTO, and a director in Deloitte Consulting. So, Bill, in previous programs, we have talked about technology trends like big data, social business and clouds. Of these trends, which have you found to be rising to the top of the list and why?

Bill Briggs (Bill): That’s a loaded question Sean. Let us start to break it down. There is a collection that are continuously at the top of mind of our clients – these are Fortune 100, mostly CIOs or their business counterparts. Things that come up over and over again are mobile and social and cloud and analytics, and what do we do with security and privacy and cyber intelligence around them. So those five have been the theme, and you have seen the trends emerge over the years as we deal with different nuances of them and grow more sophisticated in how we treat them right. Out of all of them and I am little biased because I do lead our Deloitte Digital practice – which is all about mobile, social and web – but mobile is so accessible to our CIOs, to the line of business leads, to the boardroom. Everyone gets the potential of smartphones and tablets and how can I use to do what I have always done differently, and how can I may be use it to do fundamentally different things.

Mark White (Mark): Adding to that, or maybe taking a slightly different tact – because I agree with Bill’s answer by the way – If you were to say, “Of the trends in 2012, which one has the most execution action?” I would agree with starting with enterprise mobility unleashed. If you were to say, “Where are people evidencing the most curiosity?” I would tell you gamification and how it applies to actually accomplishing better business or business done better.

Sean: Thank you for that, Mark. As I mentioned early on, this is the second conversation that the three of us have had about this topic. I am interested to know from your perspective, Mark, have the trends that we have just talked about – mobile, social, analytics, gamification and some of the other ones – have they been evolving in the marketplace, and if so, how?

Mark: Yeah Sean. That is ‘trending the trends’ if you will. Let us talk about mobile for example, as that is the one Bill put forward first. Two years ago, we talked about the idea of wireless and mobility and the topic was about the ubiquity of connectivity, generally available wireless connectivity, and some really sophisticated moves forward in the electronic sub-cells of the device. And that was the issue two years ago when we said to the CIO, “Pay attention to this, we believe that it can do some good with these for your business.” And last year, building on wireless and mobility, we said it is about applied mobility and there is a pun in that. It was the app in applied. So, it is really all about apps for enterprise use of mobility. And that remains true today, though in 2012, we have just moved it one notch further. In that case, once you are in the enterprise and you have figured out what makes a good mobile app, and how to build it, integrate it and secure it, then what you find is you have a lot of mobile apps, and it becomes time to manage it at an enterprise scale – and that is enterprise mobility unleashed. So that is an example of trending mobility.

Cloud has been another one and, as Bill mentioned, cloud as one of the five forces that we really see echoing through every year. Two years ago we wrote about the cloud revolution, the idea that there was this new way to acquire or deploy or otherwise take advantage of technology focused on the traditional layers – the infrastructure layers, the platform layer, the software layer, traditional IT – and focused on capacity efficiency, maybe cost efficiency or maybe provisioning deployment, provisioning efficiency. Last year, we wrote about the idea of going from the horizontal layers to look at vertical slices of capabilities – the capability cloud rather than layers of the cake or slices of the layer cake. We have seen that trend move forward quite significantly, both in adoption and in what the vendor marketplace is providing. This year we wrote about the hyper hybrid cloud and there are two parts to that hybrid. There was much debate about whether public or private was the right answer and, in fact, it is a blend. It is about hybrid. And then the hyper nature of it going from me – interfacing to, or subscribing to, or providing a cloud – to me, subscribing to multiple clouds and needing to move the integration layer out past my data-driven integration, inside the firewall and inside the trust zone. Move that integration layer out to cloud and, ultimately, this is where we are seeing it go now – moving from just the integration layer to also the business policy and business process automation layer in the cloud. So that is an example of two of the trends, mobility and cloud, and how they are trending over time.

Sean: Thank you for that Mark. I think I would like to go over to the self-identified biased mobile gentleman there in Dallas too. So Bill what do you think, what have you seen evolving in the marketplace.

Bill: It is a little different spin on it. I think we have been talking about the nouns of these topics for the last few years, and really the “so what” is: how do you apply them for business value? It is almost the derivative of these concepts that clients are really leaning toward now. And gamification is a perfect example. As Mark mentioned, it is the topic that everyone has top of mind. It’s certainly a thing in itself, but it is also putting a lot of these concepts into play together, which is an interesting view of the trends as they have evolved over time. It is more of this composite/combination/control/collision of ideas that is really catching attention. And so, gamification at its heart is: how do we take gaming principles and gaming mechanics, and use that to forward what we have done for years around process automation and decision-support simulation, and do it in a way that we are driving engagement? If we can have achievements, leaderboards, iterative skill-based learning and all other things that make video games and board games popular for the last umpteenth-thousand years, and apply those to day-to-day business processes, it does something special and different. It is taking these core concepts, mashing them together, and you end up with something really interesting and unique.

Sean: Well, thank you for both your views on that gentlemen. My next question ties back to what we were first speaking about and that is there seems to be patterns around the way these trends are working in the marketplace. Are you seeing any patterns that are similar or different from what Mark relayed to us?

Bill: Yes, there is an overarching pattern. I am a simple guy, so I like simple patterns. And it is a universal set for every business, in every region, in every industry sector, every part of their business, every process, every function, every stakeholder, employees, and customers, and business partners. They are all affected. So the easy thing to say is that we are in an incredible time with unprecedented opportunity for innovation and existential threat of disruption depending on… it does not matter. Everywhere you are, that is true. There is this pattern of adoption, which is, how do I dabble and start getting my sea legs around individual topics. And then, to have the ‘ah ha’ moment that these are related, and that I can do more than just incremental investments based on what I have always done before with hopes to veneer and get efficiency and efficacy gains out of it. We are seeing this pattern of early exploration where companies really understand what these things mean for business, not for ‘wiz-bang’ technology’s sake. And to think about – not just how can I revamp my existing way of looking at the world – but how can I reshape my operating model, reshape my business model, and maybe even reshape my industry or my entire marketplace? We are right in this midst of right now, which makes it just an extraordinary time.

Sean: I have got one question left for the two of you and that is: where does this leave a CIO or any technology decision-maker? What do you feel needs to be on their radar at this moment?

Bill:  They are feeling it from every side. So take mobile: their employees are lining up outside of a company store of your choosing when the new technology comes out, and they are clamoring for enterprise support on that. And you have got the boardroom – bringing whatever devices they have gone and purchased – into the organization and just demanding support. So they are feeling this squeeze of unprecedented demand of consumer technology forcing the enterprise to make moves – they are in this incredible era where there is opportunity for innovation, yet the threat of disruption is very real and they can feel it. At the heart of it is technology-based innovation, so technology advances are the heart of this discussion, which should fall under the purview of the CIO. But, a lot of the skills that they need, they do not necessarily have. So, the CIO is at a point where they have to decide what role will they play within the organization. They could try to be a steward and try to meet the business needs. Or they could try to elevate that and be a partner and be responsive, and they can start bringing these technologies to the table and being a part of the strategic vision forward. We have read in the past about the ‘CIO as a revolutionary’ concept, which says: who better than the CIO, or the technology executive, to be the one saying to the organization, to the business, to the board, “This is what this means right now. Here is what in front of us. You do not know the possibilities that are here. Let me show you. Let me help guide you.” Because the worst thing they can be, as in the first scenario, is the person that the boardroom, the chairman, and the employees are cursing because they become the “C I No.” They just say no to everything and that hurts. There is political capital there and they are trending themselves not being a part of the buying decision, and not being part of the implementation cycle, because alternately the line of business can go with a corporate card and purchase cloud services. And so they become the chief data center officer or the chief electricity officer, which is a shame. What a shame. So now is the time for CIOs to rise up and take advantage.

Sean: Yes so it sounds like they have taken body blows from every direction. It might not be a bad idea to go on to offensive. Mark, final thoughts over to you. Do you agree with Bill’s assessment?

Mark: Yeah, absolutely Sean. In fact, the particular examples that Bill cited are right on and we wrote one of the trends on it this year, which is called ‘measured innovation’ which is a play on words. Measured innovation in the sense I can create innovation that has measurable impact – so therefore I can know the value of it – and I can create a cadence, a repeatable cadence of innovation. It looks at some work that has been done that is I think quite good around the idea of disruptive or sustaining innovation, and how you identify those and how you intentionally stimulate them. It is not just the Eureka ‘ah-ha’ discovery moment; there is this farming for innovation as well. And then you stop and you think, “no – this is a technology trends report, why are they writing about this sort of very management topic of innovation, measured innovation?” It is exactly for the reason that Bill just mentioned, which is that we are at an unusual time – and maybe even a unique time – where there are these five forces: analytics, mobile, social, cloud and cyber. Each one of those is impacting business, each one of those is evolving very rapidly, and each one of those finds its origins in the technology shop. What an unprecedented time for the CIO and the other IT executives to be not only a source of sustainment, or even strategy, but a source of disruption and transformation. They are the ones that can speak for these forces and measured innovation, both the sustaining and disruptive. 

Sean: Gentlemen, I thank you for your time. That is Bill Briggs and Mark White, both joining us remotely today from Dallas, Texas. Gentlemen, thank you. If you would like to learn more about Mark, Bill, or the latest technology trends, you can find that information on our website, its For all the good folks here at Insights, I am Sean O’Grady, we will see you next time.

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