Tech trends 2016: innovating in the digital era

21 March 2016

In a business climate driven by powerful digital forces, disruption, and rapid-fire innovation, every company is now a technology company. Whereas technology was traditionally confined largely to operations and execution, its digital expression now informs all aspects of business, from ideation to delivery. We witness daily how it drives product design, upends venerable business models, and rewires competition.

The ascendance of exponential technologies to a place of strategic primacy has occurred within a turbulent context. Globalization is driving borderless growth across established and emerging markets. Barriers to entry are being lowered, if not demolished. In this climate, new entrants focused on niches, specific functions, and overlooked domains can make meaningful impacts on a global stage traditionally dominated by the world’s biggest players.

At the same time, customers are demanding evolved methods of engagement that are personalized, contextual, and tailored for individual usability and utility. Likewise, the very nature of employment is evolving as new skill sets become bargaining chips. Talent scarcity complicates efforts to rethink operating and delivery models across functions and domains.

To help make sense of it all, we present Deloitte’s seventh Technology Trends report, our annual in-depth examination of eight trends that are likely to disrupt businesses in the next 18–24 months. From blockchain and augmented reality to the Internet of Things and the socially responsible applications of technology, these trends embody the macro forces fueling innovation: digital, analytics, cloud, and the changing role of IT within the enterprise. We balance our coverage of each trend by also considering the implications of cyber risk in the areas of security, privacy, regulatory mandates, and compliance. We intentionally examine cyber risk not as a separate topic, but as an enterprise discipline embedded in the planning, design, and realization of each individual trend.

The theme of this year’s report is innovating in the digital era, which is inspired by the opportunities today’s CIOs—across industries, geographies, and company sizes—have to shape tomorrow for every corner of their organizations by transforming “business as usual.” These leaders are in a rare position to imagine a future, and then harness innovation to build it responsibly from the realities of today.

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Bill Briggs, Deloitte Consulting LLP, 2016, Tech trends 2016: innovating in the digital era, Deloitte University Press, viewed 26 October 2016, <>.

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