Technology has changed the way we live and work in ways previously unimaginable. Innovation in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud technology, and Big Data enables us to run faster, jump higher, and dream bigger.
In my role at SAP, I see examples every day of how these technologies are making industries smarter, better, and faster. However, while efficiency gains are incredibly important, these technologies also open up opportunities for innovation as well as give room for creativity – both of which are key for companies that want to grow and succeed in today’s digital and technologized world. In my opinion, there are quite a few areas for which technological advancements are particularly important. It is these advancements that lay the runway to foster new ideas and propel businesses forward. The following are the areas I’m thinking of.
Automation of routine tasks gives room for exploration
Robotics and AI technology have been critical in helping businesses automate routine, monotonous tasks. While many have feared the implications of AI on the job market, we are seeing that AI and automation actually provide new opportunities for employees. Thanks to these new technologies, employees can spend a much larger amount of their working time focusing on advancing their own skills – which is not only great for the employees themselves but, in consequence, just as beneficial to their overall work quality. As I discussed in an interview with Cloud Computing News, technology gives us the power as a society to improve the value and skillset of each individual. By giving employees the time needed to focus on exploration and skills advancement, organizations can better than ever foster innovation and ultimately drive business success.
Democratizing access to data
Advances in data analytics and visualization have broken down the barriers that often existed between IT, on the one hand, and all other departments of an enterprise on the other. No longer than a decade ago, it could take IT departments weeks, if not months or years, to analyze data and deliver insights and reporting to the departments that had asked for it. Working on that data provided by IT would then consume yet another few weeks. This would be impossible today, given our quickly changing digitized world! We are lucky enough to have visualization dashboards and graphs today that make it easier for all of us to understand and work with data, but there is still room for more openness, and agile data flows throughout an enterprise.
We all know, and some of us use, natural language-processing applications like Siri and Alexa in our private lives: They are great in that they give us much easier access to information, for example by “reading” a recipe to us, or even by entertaining our guests with some soft jazz or jokes. In today’s fast-paced digitized business world, though, these voice-enabled devices have the potential to ease access to data. You can easily think of a CFO asking for real-time revenue figures during a board meeting, or an HR team looking at employee hiring trends ahead of an interview. No matter which business situation comes to your mind, data is becoming more accessible across the enterprise, at a faster pace than ever, no matter the data’s complexity. This newly won ease in using data opens up opportunities for innovation and creative thinking in every department and at every level. I’m absolutely convinced that innovation, paired with creativity, is key to succeed in the digitalized business.
Empowering flexibility, scalability, and innovation in the cloud
The digitalization of our economy has made digital transformation and cloud a must-have for businesses. Hosting technology in the cloud not only allows companies to scale their businesses easily and instantly, it also fosters an environment where organizations can explore new technologies and applications. It is the cloud that gives organizations the chance to think out of the box every day. Again, it is the cloud that makes it possible to try out newly developed innovations instantly, which – once the innovations have proved themselves successful – allows companies to push new solutions into the market and adapt rapidly. This is the flexibility companies need to beat their competitors and be (or become) market leaders.
Let me sum up my basic thoughts now: Advancements in AI, data analytics, and cloud are completely transforming how (and where) we work. With more data, time, accessibility, and convenience, we can much more easily connect, expand our knowledge, and keep drumming up new ideas that contribute to our business’ momentum. With cloud technology increasing teamwork, streamlining and uniting business goals, and crowdsourcing ideas that help make organizations smarter, you don’t have to wait long to see creativity skyrocket. As we all know, where there is productivity, efficiency, and creativity – success is only one step away!
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