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Top 10 Strategic Tech Trends for 2018 (via gartner)

tech, trends, AI, ai, internet of things, iot, cybersecurity, security, machine learning, deep learning

Source: www.gartner.com

Introduction  

With all the trends coming out for this year alone, I decided to look at strategic information systems planning (SISP) trends for a change.  It’s very interesting to see how they actually plan on possibly implementing these new trends that are coming out all the time.  Here’s the list… 

 10 Trends for Strategic IS Planning

AI and Machine Learning Immersion

  1. AI Foundations – This is considered to be the next big battlefield between vendors who build these systems until at least 2020.  AI is so popular and in demand that it can be no other way.  Now how to use AI is the next big question that needs answering by the vendors and the customers who buy it.  Artificial intelligence needs to be able to help make strategic decisions, enhance the business model and ecosystem, and drive user/customer experiences through to 2025.   Strategic planning in this aspect involves data preparation, integrations, creating new algorithms to run AI, new ways to train personnel how to use AI, and creating new data models.  Personnel involved here are data scientists, developers and business process owners who will have to work together closely. 
  2. Intelligent Apps and Analytics – Apps are beginning to implement AI in how they work.  They cannot exist without AI and machine learning capabilities.  Because of this, it is, in turn, changing how people and systems work together at the workplace.  It doesn’t replace people. It’s a strategic area where analytics uses machine learning to better automate data prep and finding and sharing insights.  People in the company using this are business users, operational workers, and citizen data scientists.   
  3. Intelligent Objects – These are physical things that use AI to operate.  Included here are self-driving cars, robots, and the Internet of Things.  Self-driving vehicles are already in use in agriculture and mining but will take more time spreading to other vehicles, like cars.  By 2022 more streets will become more user-friendly towards them, but more studies need completing. 

Blending of the Digital and Physical Worlds

  1. Digitial Twins –  It defines a representation of real-world entities and/or systems.  This deals with IoT for the most part.  If the twin is built correctly then it can really support improving business decision making processes.  The twin is linked to their counterpart in being able to better understand the state of the system, better responding to changes, improve operations and add more value to the company as a whole.  In the future, they will fuse together with their counterparts and AI type capabilities.  Consequently, people in the company who will use this are city planners, digital marketers, healthcare professionals, and industrial planners. 
  2. Edge Computing – This is where information processing, gathering and delivering content is put closer to the sources of information.  Companies need to begin using edge computing as it supports IoT, creating better connectivity, bandwidth, and functionality.  Cloud helps support this as it doesn’t need a central location.   
  3. Conversation Platforms – This is going to be the one that drives the next change with how people perform and interact with the digital world.  People can talk to computers and the system will be able to act on it.   If the person using the computer is confusing it, it can ask for clarification.  It’s becoming a primary design goal using with hardware, core OS features, platforms, and apps.  Developers need to work on the communication aspect of the platforms, as it’s still very difficult to make them work.  People need to speak very clearly about what they want, and it causes more frustration than anything else right now.   
  4. The Immersive Experience – Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality are all here.  For any benefits for business, they need to look at how it can help employees work better.  The design, training and visualization process is key to making this work.  When dealing with Mixed Reality, it’s creating some great technology that might actually be good for the work environment.  Tools already developed and in use includes Head Mounted Displays (HMD) for VR and AR, smartphones and tablet-based AR and environmental sensors. 

Exploiting Connections

  1. Blockchain – This technology is rapidly spreading everywhere, not just for the cryptocurrency.  The blockchain is a disruptive technology as it changes how business is ran, for both startups and enterprises.  The only problem here is that blockchain technology is more promise right now as it’s immature for the next two or three years. 
  2. Event Driven – This includes anything from recording an electronic purchase at your website, to a recording when a plane lands.  Anything action completing dealing with the company is an event.  Because of this IoT, cloud computing, the blockchain, memory data management, and AI are included here.  With these platforms, its ability to find and analyze events more thoroughly grows.  As a result, people involved here include IT leaders, planners, and architects. 
  3. Continuous Adaptive Risk and Trust –  This deals, for the most part, cybersecurity.  There have to be real-time, risk and trust-based decisions and adaptive responses.  Basically, the company needs to embrace opportunities and manage the risk involved with having digital business actions completed.   

Summary 

Strategic information systems planning is very complex.  There are so many different areas needing planning in the next five years in order to keep up with all the new technology.  Most are in its infancy, but it’s growing fast.  Better start planning now! 

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Information Technology Trends 2018 (via comptia)

IT trends, trends, it, IT, information technology, technology

Source: www.comptia.org

Introduction

This has to be one of the most detailed lists of information technology trends for this year from Comptia.  I love Comptia!  It has treated me very well when I take classes in computer systems, programming and such.  Anyways, back on subject.  The trends talked about here are focusing on areas where there are higher expectations in business value, security, transparency and equal access.  

3 Key Points 

  1.  The IT sector projections are that it’s to grow 5% this year 
  1. Evolving tech labor market will create both challenges and opportunities 
  1. There’s a balancing act of incrementations and transformations 

12 Trends of Information Technology to Watch 

1.  Open Source Concepts – Allows more people to create in more inventive ways.

  • Able to build more applications using blockchain, natural language, and context-aware algorithms 
  • Use cases include drones, robotics, and 3D printing 

2.  Cloud Keeps on Growing – Presently for non-critical use. 

  • Moving data on to where companies can store and use any program in the Cloud 
  •  The system is rebuilt to maximize cloud characteristics 
  • Companies have to change policies and workflow which will be more difficult than dealing with implementing the Cloud itself.  Something to consider.

3.  Internet of Things – These types of devices are really making an impact in the business world.  

  • There are many benefits for using these devices, but companies aren’t considering system connectivity and optimization, plus IT responsibilities 

4.  Artificial Intelligence –  This is the one to focus on. 

  • The one most likely to change the IT environment 
  • Requires computational resources which found in the Cloud 
  • Algorithms allowing learning through making new products or services 
  • The contextual awareness which can come from IoT devices or big collections of data  

5.  Cyber Security – Incidents are occurring more and more. 

  •  It has to change to meet the challenges that attackers give them 
  • More and more advanced methods of attack to face down 

6.  IT May No Longer be Given the Benefit of the Doubt – Tech is so pervasive that we don’t know where it begins or ends. 

  • Because of how beneficial tech is to us, when something flops we usually give the benefit of the doubt 
  • Signs are showing that we’re now beginning to hold technology accountable for mistakes that happen unlike before
  • Questions dealing with security, privacy and screen time issues come up all the time now 

7.  Insights Economy – Learning about customers wants and needs. 

  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence are driving this and supporting it 
  • Pattern recognition, predictive analytics, natural language processing, and computer vision is what supports the new insight economy  

8.  Upgrading Digital Expertise in the Boardroom – Got to have people who are tech savvy so they can run things smoothly 

  • Tech initiatives include infrastructure, mobile environments, data, and integrations 
  •  Have to have the feel for the tech landscape in the boardroom 
  • Cybersecurity and data governance will be followed, not just known like before

9.  New Collar Jobs Increasing – How does technology work in different industries? 

  • IoT is making new jobs, new categories of learning and technologists 
  • Learn both hard and soft skills, not just a four-year degree  

10.  Online Marketplaces – Friend or Foe of the Traditional Market 

  • Online stores are changing the market in all sectors 
  • Brick and mortar stores just have to make some changes to keep up, along with looking out for new challenges, but it can be done 

11.  Subscription Prices Harder to Figure Out – How will you price your products and/or services? 

  • Make sure to learn Accounting Standards Codification 606 which came out in December 2017 
  • PSA tools like ConnectWise can possibly help with that

12.  As-A-Service World – That’s the tech landscape in a nutshell.   

  • New technologies are beginning to intrude into the as-a-service world 
  • More and more customers are using as-a-service and expect much from it.  Companies have to make sure that they are really up to date and not just talking.   

Summary 

There are huge changes that are coming and your company needs to keep up or be left.  There are new markets coming to play that can be taken advantage of.  For example, there’s authentication-as-a-service, analytics-as-a-service, artificial-intelligence-as-a-service, drones-as-a-service with many more coming along.  To keep up with all the changes invest in training for new skills, workforce development, and many more areas to be able to take better advantage.  Time to start planning for the future. 

 

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5 ways companies are using big data to help their customers (via VentureBeat)

big data, enterprise data, analytics, data analytics, data modeling, data science, data modeling, data model, data, data science, data scientist, data management,

Five ways companies are using big data to treat customers more like individuals — and build better long-term relationships so those customers happily buy more and more

Source: VentureBeat

Review

As we all remember, back in the day you could go to the store and the clerk would know you personally.  They would ask you how you are and how your family is. It was a very personal relationship you would have, therefore creating loyalty between you and the store.  It has been lost for a while when stores started to sell online.  There were no programs to make your shopping experience more personal or enjoyable.  You just went online to search and buy.  Big data helps to build relationships again as it can help companies offer better service to customers if used.   Here are the five ways that big data helps online stores to treat their customers more like people instead of just numbers.

5 Methods to Use Big Data

  1. Prediction – Big data can help analyze past behaviors of customers to build a more personalized experience for them. This in turn creates satisfaction for the person and increases purchases.
  2. Excitement – This is more for wearable technology. FitBit and other companies spew out the data they gather to their clients, which makes the client more interested and excited to see improvements.  This is completed in other industries too, not just the health industry.  There are apps to help track finances too and make people excited to invest more.  Showing the data makes the client happier.  It can show them where they need to work to improve themselves too.  It’s a good tool for the customer to use.
  3. Improvement – Customer service is just as important as effective marketing and product development. Big data can help in all these areas too.  Representatives can answer questions more quickly and effectively when the correct data is in front of them.  This way the customer doesn’t feel like they are being badgered.  The data helps as the customer has so many ways to get a hold of companies now than before.
  4. Identify – Find the difficulties customers are having to improve their experience. It’ll make for happier and more loyal customers.
  5. Reduce – This deals with the health care industry for improving quality of patient care. It helps to cut cost and improve treatments.

Summary

Big data helps companies now to understand their customers better.  This helps agencies give better services and build relationships again, in a more modern way.  Just consider all the possibilities.  I would think about switching over myself if I had a bigger company and could afford it.

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84% Of Enterprises See Big Data Analytics Changing Their Industries’ Competitive Landscapes In The Next Year (via Forbes)

big data, data science, big data analytics, analytics, data modeling, data management, smart data, data mining

87% of enterprises believe Big Data analytics will redefine the competitive landscape of their industries within the next three years. 89% believe that companies that do not adopt a Big Data analytics strategy in the next year risk losing market share and momentum. These and other key findings are from an […]

Source: Forbes

I just thought that I would share this article.  It has some great statistics on why Big Data is now considered essential for any type of competitive growth.  For example, only 13% use Big Data analytics in predictive modeling, while only 16% are using the information that they find to improve processes.  If you were to use Big Data analytics, image what kind of growth your business could have…

I love studies as they always show the numbers to help strengthen their arguments.  Just wanted to share this with you all.

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Data Modeling Trends in 2018 – DATAVERSITY (via DATAVERSITY)

data modeling, data science, data scientist, data, data security, ai, machine learning, deep learning, big data, Big Data, enterprise data, data management, internet of things, iot, smart data

The Database Management and Data Modeling landscapes have evolved much in the past few years, from the traditional relational model to now include non-relational models as well.

Source: DATAVERSITY

Review of Article

Advantages of Data Modeling

  1. Provides clear framework for development projects
  2. Enables high performance
  3. Corrupt datasets are found quickly and cleaned before using
  4. Offers tested models for building software
  5. Outlines scope and risks during development
  6. Includes detailed documentation which helps with future maintenance

New Trends

  • Wide variety of machine facts to include Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Scale and speed of data increasing along by machine learning
  • Demand of aggregated data is increasing
  • Public, private on-site Cloud storage
  • Huge amounts of data collected into what is Data Lakes (unchanged data) for data scientists to analyze later
  • Automated data modeling (algorithms)
  • Predictive modeling with advanced machine learning
  • Semantic data models

SQL Database Trends 2018

  • Adoption rates will differ as companies due to security concerns
  • Cloud adoption
  • AI capabilities are increasing
  • SQL Servers for Linux
  • There are new schedules for software updates (handled by the vendors themselves, not Microsoft like before)
  • Use of Data Vaults

Summary

It sounds pretty exciting doesn’t it?  So many changes to look forward to trying out for your business.

 

 

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What is ERP? A guide to enterprise resource planning systems (via CIO)

ERP, upgrade system, business, strategy

A very interesting and in-depth article about ERP and why you should consider using it.  A very good read that gives a lot of good information.

The Article

ERP combines software systems from departments like finance, human resources and warehouse management.  It combines it into a single, integrated software program running off a single database.  This way the various departments can more easily share information and collaborate. It’s a tall order, but that integrated approach can have a tremendous payback if companies install the software correctly.

Source: CIO

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The Evolution of The Computer

evolution, computer, technology

I just love learning how things began.  It’s so interesting to see how computers came to being, isn’t it?  Hard to believe that in the early 1600’s the word computer was first used.

Even though there’s proof of the ancient Greeks having a form of computer which is awesome.  It’s fun to see how far technology has progressed.  Computer technology will always change.  It’s the nature of the beast.  What are you going to do to keep up to date with all the updates?

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Defining IS 4 Primary Functions in Business

IS, IT, business functions, business information system function, information systems, information technology

You can define business by four primary functions: 1) Marketing and Sales, 2) Production 3) Accounting and Finance and 4) Human Resources (HR). It is all about finding ways of supporting your business operations and management.

Marketing and Sales IS

Information systems go towards planning, promoting and selling the products or services. They support decision-making through:

  • Planning
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

This is the entire marketing IS where it has to draw on many sources of results to find information. Completing marketing research helps focus on finding answers supporting decision-making. Marketing subsystems help support decision-making. The decisions are then integrated with the sales forecast and marketing plan, comparing sales results.

The Subsystems

  • Product subsystem – The planning of introductions of new products
  • Place subsystem – Making the product available to the customer at the right place and time
  • Promotion subsystem – Supports both personal selling and advertising
  • Price subsystem – Contain industry prices and help set up pricing goals
  • Sales forecasting – Forecasting and developing a full marketing plan comes with planned marketing and outstanding orders

Components for information systems for accounting include:

  • Accounts receivable
  • Accounts payable
  • Payroll records
  • Inventory control
  • General ledgers

They rely heavily on online databases and reports custom-built. Essential functions of financial systems are:

  • Financial forecasting and planning – Predicting funds coming into and out of your company long-term. Using cash-flow models help find needs of funds locations along with where they’re coming from.
  • Financial control – Budgeting and Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Funds management – Managing liquid assets for high yields with lowest degree of loss risk
  • Internal auditing – Auditing reviews and shows independent appraisals of your accounting, financial, and operational procedures.
  • Human Resources IS support through providing information to the HR office. It has grown immensely over the years to keep up with needs to adapt to new laws and regulations.

Giving access to stakeholders including:

  • Employees of the HR department
  • Personnel of your company wishing to see their records
  • Workers wishing to see open positions and benefit plans
  • People taking computer training classes for work and completing evaluations
  • Managers can rate their subordinates and make decisions
  • Executives creating tactical and strategic planning

Other databases include:

  • Applicant databases
  • Position inventory
  • Skills inventory
  • Benefits databases
  • External databases

Conclusion

As we can see, all these different information systems have to work together smoothly to give superior results for your company. If not, it is bound to disappoint your customers. They expect timely delivery of products and services, perform QA to their own standards and flexible credit terms to name a few. Information systems offer support integrating business processes, cutting across functional lines to do it. In turn it makes everyone happy, from business partners to customers and suppliers.

 

 

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8 Competitive Advantages

strategic information planning, systems planning, strategic planning, business planning

Strategic Information Systems

Strategic information systems (SIS) are used to support and shape business competitive advantages. SIS is defined by its way to be able to change how business is conducted. It is not classified by structure, functionality of areas, or support systems. Anything that is used to change goals or processes of companies add competitive advantage, therefore becoming strategic information systems.

Competitive Strategy

The competitive strategy is how the company is going to compete in the future. What the goals will be, and new plans and/or policies needed to implement everything. The advantage is being able to measure cost, quality and speed over competition. SIS assists businesses gain the advantage through adding to strategic goals of organizations. It is also measured through the increase in performance and productivity, therefore making them more powerful than the competition.

The digital economy is affected all the time as changes in technology occur. This causes change in business models in order to keep up. The core business isn’t changed to keep up with the digital economy even though it feels like it has. For the most part, businesses use the tools offered by the Internet, but nothing else.  There are two questions to ask here…

Where does my competitive advantage come from in my business and industry?
How can information technology and the Internet help?

How is SIS Looked at Now?

Most companies consider SIS more of an outwardly focused tool. It aims at increasing direct competition and is visible to all. Now it is more used internally. It focuses on employees’ productivity, smoothing business processes, and helping to make strategic decisions and isn’t visible to all.

Role of IT in Strategic Management

  1. Innovative Applications
  2. Competitive Weapons
  3. Changes in Processes
  4. Links with Business Partners
  5. Cost Reductions
  6. Relationships with Suppliers and Customers
  7. New Products
  8. Competitive Intelligence

How To Use The Internet As a Tool

The Internet is the most important tool in competitive intelligence.  It is so easy to look up information on the competition. The information that is gathered then can be analyzed further by what is called intelligent agents and data mining.  Both deal with software products to help them do their job. Here are some ways to do research on the competition:

  • Review Competitor’s Web Sites
  • Analyze Related Electronic Discussion Groups
  • Examine Publicly Held Financial Documents
  • Market Research on Your Own Web Site
  • Use Information Delivery Services like My Yahoo
  • Use Corporate Research Companies

Conclusion

There are numerous other ways to gain competitive advantages over your competitors. The key is to gain and maintain a sustainable strategic advantage that can be held for years to come. It is suggested that people, technology and shared risk and responsibility will help keep the advantage now. It is so difficult to otherwise as there is so much innovation occurring now.

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4 Elements of Information Systems

customer, system, business, information, process

The use of information technology (IT) has dramatically increased in the business world in the past decade.  It has been acknowledged that information systems (IS) is a very important step to compete and grow.  There are four elements of IS that new systems need to work correctly.

4 Elements

  1. Customers – The main function of IS is to be able to better support the end user or customer. This is both internal and external.  Externally it could be an online shopper who wants to buy from a website.  Internal customers would be something like employees or one department in a company who needs supplies from another department.  IS was developed in order to better support external customers.  Also something to focus on is flexibility supporting internal customers.
  2. Products and Services – This deals in data transformation. The IS has to work well in any industry.  It helps prepare many types of services and/or products based on design.  Customer expectations have to be satisfied in order to be considered successful.
  3. Business Processes – Improvements to processes directly influence performance. It provides relevant information to the company.  This improves said company’s processes by adding or removing steps as needed.
  4. Communication Technology and Computers – This is the central piece of the information system. They have to be able to deliver efficient business processes and make the customers happy.  This is done through either delivery of product or services rendered.  Technology helps to improve communication through email and chat internally.  Externally it provides a good website that people will enjoy visiting.  Information can be accessed much more quickly which increases the competitive edge.

Why Use IS?

Information systems helps improve relations between customers and the business, or business to business relationships.  The question is, which type of system does your company need?  A lot of questions to consider before making the leap to upgrading