“Keep in mind that a trend may directly or indirectly impact the interactions between people, businesses, IT departments or technology markets, and the tasks and operations they perform,” says Searle. “Virtual reality, augmented reality and virtual personal assistants (VPAs), such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa, are trends that have had a direct impact. This is because these trends have changed the way we interact with devices and businesses.”
“Cloud computing and mobile technology trends have also had a huge, direct impact on businesses, IT departments and the technology market. They have forced a complete overhaul of application strategy, which now bases applications on software as a service (SaaS) and extends them onto mobile devices via apps,” Searle says.
Read more: Master the Art of Trendspotting in 4 Steps
Consider the degree of maturity of a technology trend
There are multiple factors that influence an organization’s ability to respond to a particular technology trend and the technologies that relate to it, including cost, regulation and privacy considerations, usability and societal response. The extent to which these factors affect an organization’s response to a technology trend varies according to trend maturity.
For example, emerging technology trends carry much higher risk, security and privacy concerns. As a trend grows, factors such as cost and risk decrease in importance, while other factors, such as implementation activity and usability, increase.
“Eventually, a trend becomes more mainstream and gains a stronger social and cultural response, while increasing adoption means authorities need to provide more regulation relating to the trend,” says Searle.
Next steps after identifying tech trends to watch
When responding to a technology trend that appears on their trendspotting watchlist, you can do the following:
- Ignore the trend, as it is unlikely to be relevant to your organization’s business model and strategy.
- Monitor the trend periodically to see if its potential impact or maturity has changed. In addition, you can explore potential impacts and applicability into modernization and innovation efforts on a continued basis.
- Mitigate the impact of the trend, or prepare but prepare for how it might negatively affect your business and industry even if you decide not to adopt it.
- Adopt the trend and apply it in business, actively factoring it into projects given its potential and business value.
- Leverage the trend to reinvent the business model because it has a very clear relevance to concrete and current business needs and opportunities that could deliver significant competitive advantage and enable your organization to be the disruptor, not the disrupted.
Spotting technology trends before the hype and understanding their nature from the organization’s perspective before responding to them is crucial.