Emerging technologies as a business opportunity for the Kosovo IT & BPO outsourcing companies
Top 5 Emerging Technologies To Watch in 2018
Today’s rapid pace of technological change has fundamentally transformed the global outsourcing scene, making outsourcing part of every successful company’s strategy. Properly developed, strategic outsourcing substantially lowers costs, risks, and fixed investments while greatly expanding flexibility, innovative capabilities, and opportunities for creating higher value-added and shareholder returns. Traditionally, the main driving factor behind IT & BPO outsourcing was cost-reduction. But lately, apart from cost-reduction, global companies outsource to access knowledge, talent, innovation and expertise that is available and ready to be put into use.
It’s a knowledge economy, and in knowledge economies global companies gain access to global capabilities and access global knowledge with the aim to stay current, innovate or transform their companies. ‘The need for access to talent will lead companies to think about outsourcing as a means of accelerating innovation and gaining competitive advantage. ‘This will lead to a transformation of the outsourcing profession where innovation will be valued much higher than pure cost savings’ in the words of Michael Corbett, Chairman of IAOP (2018). ‘Best in world’ knowledge sources are often located in the underdeveloped or developing countries and offer higher speed, higher value, more expertise, more integrated and more flexible services, than the company’s internal resources can offer.
The hunt for expertise is always in the new technological trends and emerging non-mainstream (non-mature) technologies. All these emerging technologies can be found in the entwining of people, devices, content and services as Gartner (2018) call it: the intelligent digital mesh. Intelligent on how AI is seeping into virtually every technology and with a defined, well-scoped focus can allow more dynamic, flexible and potentially autonomous systems (think of Tesla self-driving cars). Digital in blending the virtual and real worlds to create an immersive digitally enhanced and connected environment (think of Snap Inc. filters). Mesh in the connections between an expanding set of people, business, devices, content and services to deliver digital outcomes (think of Bitcoin).
The real power of outsourcing going forward is going to be that it increases an organization’s core capacity for change and growth (Corbett, 2018) and organizational transformation as an end result. This power for transformation will come mainly from emerging technologies which offer higher incomes, higher return on investment, higher innovation potential, faster scale-up and opportunity for leveraging niche markets and industries. There are several technologies in the forefront of human development that the IT & BPO outsourcing companies in Kosovo can keep an eye on and prepare the workforce as a mean of gaining a competitive advantage or even develop a core competence.
All these emerging technologies are recreating the world around us through the connectivity of people and things like self-driving cars, space travel, telehealth, smart cities, robotics, communication & social platforms, e-commerce, etc. All these technologies work over the Internet that is why the recent development of 5G network will further boost the development of other technologies, some of which are listed below:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) investment has grown 1,800% in just six years, from $282 million in 2011 to more than $5 billion in 2016, according to CB Insights. By 2022, one in five workers engaged in mostly non-routine tasks will rely on AI to do a job (Gartner, 2018) and robots will replace 800 million jobs till 2030 (McKinsey Global Institute, 2018).Through ‘machine learning’ it exhibits the ability to: learn and store knowledge; undertake analysis; identify patterns and make recommendations; sense and interpret the external world; and interact using natural language. Examples we see around us include face recognition at passport control, financial fraud detection, virtual assistants on your smartphone or via devices in your home, messaging chatbots on social media, content recommendations for our video streaming services and increasingly driver support in vehicles (PWC, 2018). Sofia, the humanoid, is the proof.
Virtual & Augmented Reality (VR & AR) by 2021, we will be fully into a transition period between separated and tightly blended physical and digital experiences in our work and lives (Forester, 2016). Virtual reality (VR) is about creating a totally new digital space whereas Augmented reality (AR) overlays information, graphics or audio content to the user’s experience of their real-world environment (PWC, 2018). Immersive reality is deeply involved in social media as well as gaming, education, retail, healthcare, tourism, and journalism. The game of ‘Pokemon Go’ and the ‘Snap Filters’ show the power that these technologies have in our everyday life.
Internet of Things (IoT) is identified by Forrester (2017) as a powerful tool in creating more valuable customer interactions and improving the customer experience. It has a huge application in homes as well as industrial facilities. It connects the consumer devices, gadgets, sensors with appliances in the web, in a word: physical assets in a digital network. The recent innovation ‘Amazon Go’ offers a new opportunity for the implementation of IoT where a lot of sensors are put into shelves to monitor the level of the stock and the tracking of consumers and payments.
The Blockchain is the hottest. It is Bitcoin’s technology endoskeleton (Deloitte, 2018) but it goes way beyond traditional currencies and traditional financial services. Offering unprecedented levels of accuracy, traceability, reliability and security to any number of transactions and interactions, Blockchain offers the potential to cut costs too (PWC, 2018) by being implemented in the large international transactions between multi-national companies. Apart from financial peer-to-peer services it may also be the foundation of new supply chains and votation platforms, identity, payroll and philanthropy.
Big Data/Data analytics applications enable data scientists, predictive modellers, statisticians and other analytics professionals to analyze growing volumes of structured transaction data, plus other forms of data that are often left untapped by conventional business intelligence (BI) and analytics programs (TechTarget, 2018). New intelligence emerges from the massive data sources which can be analyzed and systematized leading to better decision making. According to Deloitte’s 2015 CIO survey of 1,200 IT executives, analytics is both a top investment priority and the one that would deliver the greatest business impact.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), in the words of Google CEO Sundar Pichai, will be bigger than electricity or fire. This shows the dimension of change and the revolution ahead of us. Emerging technologies are always capable of challenging the status-quo such offering unprecedented outcomes and financial rewards for the companies that actively engage themselves in this new revolution. For the Kosovo companies, adopting these trends create a competitive edge within the global digital marketplace by fueling innovation, fostering new partnerships and alliances and attracting new investors which our economy so desperately needs.