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2016 Predictions, Part 1: Get Ready for the Talent Crunch, Cyber-Security, Cognitive Computing

December 4, 2015 by Jacqueline Prause

Will this be the year the Talent Crunch hits home? Will free IoT data networks turn your city into a data lab? What do you get when you cross a daily fantasy sports site with a social media giant?

We’ll soon find out, according to the experts who appeared this week on Internet talk radio program Coffee Break with Game-Changers, presented by SAP. Host Bonnie D. Graham asked 16 leading experts, academics, and business influencers what they see in their crystal ball for 2016. Each person was given just two minutes to share their predictions for what the next year holds for their industry, business, and technology.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. The challenge of the year will be: how do we get middle management to take on change? Companies are still driven by middle management.

– Otto Schell, Global SAP Business Architect and SAP CCoE Lead, GM

2. Instead of going for planned obsolescence, product designers are starting to create products that get better with age. Tesla and Nest provide examples.

– Mike Wittentstein, Founder and Managing Principal, Storyminers

3. We’ve already seen advances in mobile, analytics, cloud, and social media. What we’re going to see now is how these technologies come together to help us make better informed decisions. This will be brought about through cognitive computing and tools that understand unstructured data.

– Jennifer Engelhardt, Partner, IBM

4. Autonomous vehicles will certainly face headwinds. Obstacles and challenges will be legal, moral, standards-based, and infrastructure-based. There also will be tailwinds in terms of demand, acceptance, and safety. We will move progressively towards fully autonomous vehicles.

– Larry Stolle, Sr. Director of Global Marketing for the automotive industry, SAP

5. We will see an emphasis on cyber-security. The real game-changer will be the creation of communities that are gearing up around a common goal, like Anonymous recently. Discussions around the ethics of cyber-security will also heat up, and we’ll see new business models, vision, and creativity.

– Ingmar Christiaens, Partner in the Advisory practice, EY

6. Companies will place more emphasis on employee and manager development programs next year. With companies moving towards continuous feedback, both the manager and the employee need to be better prepared for that kind of change. Skill set transformation to support growth will also be an important topic.

– Elizabeth Duffy, Customer Value and Adoption, SAP SuccessFactors

7. We will see an increase in digital spend, and also a corresponding reduction in decision-making times. We will also see real transformational data emerge that connects our digital activity – social networking, social selling, and employee advocacy initiatives – to tangible business results and real business value.

– Hilary Carter, Founder of InTune Communications

8. We will see a trend in social commerce, whereby consumers can make purchases directly from a tweet, pin, or in Facebook with just a single click. You no longer have to click into a retailer’s e-commerce site and navigate around. More social networks will do this in recognition that consumers are really “living on social media.”

– Dan Berthiaume, Senior Technology Editor, Chain Store Age

9. We will see a continuation of the key trend toward redefining performance management and performance ratings processes. Most companies are taking a fundamental look at changing how it’s done in an effort to become more effective, but also to meet the demand of the Millennials, who really want to have feedback on a much more regular basis.

– Daniel Falvey, Global Executive Advisor, HR Strategy & Transformation, SAP

10. Unemployment is down to 5%, the lowest it’s been in eight years, which means a lot of people are going to be changing jobs. For those who are happy where they’re at, it will be a good time to negotiate, because it’s much less expensive to pay you a little more than to pay for a replacement. [Tip: What’s the first thing to say to your boss when negotiating for a raise or better package? Donovan suggests starting with “I was surprised to realize how underpaid I am.”]

– Katie Donovan, Salary and Career Negotiation Consultant, Equal Pay Consultant, Founder of Equal Pay Negotiations LLC

11. In 2016, the ethics of security and privacy are going to start looming – not just the technology issue, but we’re going to have to redefine what is a threat and how do we react to it. Is ethical hacking really ethical? Do we pay bounties to hackers who find vulnerabilities on systems, even though by doing so they break a lot of laws? Should we really compensate victims?

– Joshua Greenbaum, Principal and Founder, Enterprise Applications Consulting

12. Through cognitive computing and advanced analytics, the competitive advantage that used to be earned will be available for purchase. Injury prediction and prevention are the catalysts. Related benefits are enhanced performance. Real-time information will reduce the number of concussions on the field. Smart apparel, regulating the athlete’s core temperature, will give them better stamina and performance.

– Corrine Vitolo, Founder and CEO, SmartSports

13. Started by the Things Network in the Netherlands, we are having this amazing roll out of free city-wide IoT data networks – which are going to turn cities all over the place into IoT laboratories. We have got to get serious about global warming. and smart cities are going to be an important part of that solution. and these free data networks are going to be a key enabler of that.

– David Stephenson, Principal, Stephenson Strategies

14. Everyone needs to uber-ize their product, service, or business. If you don’t have an app, 2016 is the year to do it. You need to make your products and services easily accessible to your customers and vendors.

– Sandi Webster, Principal, Consultants 2 Go, LLC

15. Daily fantasy sports sites are going to be seen as the Napsters of the daily sports betting market. By the end of the year, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and maybe Twitter are going to have stakes in the ground and are going to start rapidly growing in this space. The analytics and social media giants are going to tap into a much bigger fan base that they have. The tech companies that are already entrenched in the sports field – IBM, SAP, and Atos – will provide the backbones and services.

– Patrick Heffernan, Practice Manager, TBR’s Professional Services Practice

16. Business networks will become the new driving force for changing the way companies operate. In order for companies to stay relevant, they will connect existing platforms and technologies to create new networks. This is where they will see the real value of the Internet of Things.

– Sana Salam, President and Founder, Sodales Solutions

You can hear the full show at SAP Game-Changers 2016 Predictions – Part I

Stay tuned for more predictions with SAP Game-Changers Radio 2016 Predictions. Part II will air live next Wednesday on December 9 at 11am EST/ 8am PST. Part III airs December 16. You can listen to both shows live here.

Photo source: Shutterstock

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