This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with leading professionals. In this series of blogs, I have an exclusive interview with Teresa Hennig. Teresa is an international authority on MS Access, a top user group leader, a best selling author and a recognized and profiled MVP.
Top 6 Future IT Trends
Stephen: Provide your predictions of future IT/Business trends and their implications/opportunities?
Teresa: I'm going to slant my response more from the independent contractor perspective.
Trend 1: More independent contractors, consultants or temporary staff.
Implication/opportunities: As companies are facing such rapidly changing technology, it is often more cost effective for them to hire expertise when they need it than to have those people on staff. This is an excellent way to reduce overhead, particularly the huge expenses associated with hiring, training, retaining, and providing office space for staff. But there are some obvious downsides, such as loyalty, quality, conflicting approaches, availability, and the list goes on.
For a good IC, these opportunities afford a breadth of experience that was previously unattainable. They can travel, cross industries, work in areas of their passion - essentially pick their industry and life style. Of course, most of us will be somewhere in the middle, balancing our opportunities with responsibilities and enjoying significant independence.
Trend 2: More web based applications and solutions.
Implication/opportunities: There will be a huge need for people to build interfaces so that existing operations can effectively interface with web solutions. Some of the challenges with the transition will be to identify what is practical and makes good business sense. This will also open the doors to a myriad of security aspects to manage. People who are adept at understanding a business model and customizing solutions should have a limitless supply of opportunities. This seems like a great area for creating some basic solutions that can be re-purposed and customized.
We'll see several industries, including some that we might not anticipate, that will find new markets by making their data accessible via the internet. We'll see companies reduce their floor space as their staff enjoy telecommuting and flex time.
Trend 3: Continued emphasis on networking and security.
Implication/opportunities: Everyone is threatened by security issues. So corporations and home users will have to be more vigilant about networking, protecting data and identify theft. We'll likely be more reliant on solutions that start at the operating system and are automatically updated. And, along with the move to telecommuting and web based applications, people will need easy-to-maintain identities or log-in personas so that it is easy to isolate users of one laptop/pc. I think we'll see more programs focused on identity protection - that make it safer to browse, shop, work online without exposing information about who you really are.
Trend 4: Mobility is a favorite area for Bill Gates, so we'll continue to see advances there.
Implication/opportunities: We are seeing more functionality and reliability in smart phones, and that is just a precursor of what may come. I'd expect that we'll see all sorts of devices that can be controlled remotely, provide navigation, customize our environments. Basically, the potentials are limited only by creativity ・and having people willing to try it. But, I think that as technology evolves, we are becoming more agile, so we are more open to, and even looking forward to, changes that would previously have seemed foreign.
Trend 5: Continued move to low cost support centers and tech workers.
Implication/opportunities: To be competitive, businesses will continue to tap into global resources to provide a growing range of services at a lower cost. They will need to do a thorough evaluation so that things such as call center services do not cost the business the loss of clients. We've probably all endured calls where the language barrier made it painfully difficult to understand instructions. Perhaps the call centers will have a "smart" device that better matches the technician with the caller. But, that's not the key point here. The issue is that we'll be seeing more areas of work and support being transferred to overseas offices. This will be relatively easy for programming, especially web based solutions. It won't just be large companies that utilize these lower cost services; small companies and even independent developers will establish contacts and build relationships so that they too can not only stay competitive, but can tap into this pool of expertise.
Trend 6: Early burn out and high stress life styles.
Implication/opportunities: You can see this coming, because we are already experiencing it. Things are changing so fast and at so many levels simultaneously, that technology workers can not keep up. It is overwhelming. Trying to stay on the leading edge in like being on a treadmill locked on 5 mph. You might be able to sprint, but there's no way to maintain that pace day in and day out. It isn't just the personal drive of the ICT workers that is pushing this pace. Businesses are trying to keep up and implement solutions, so they are making these demands of the staff. So, either people will develop tools and techniques for finding a balance and managing their lives or they'll feel excessively stressed and eventually burn out.
Look for more with Teresa in the next blog.
I also encourage you to share your thoughts here on these interviews or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.