How will information and communications technology (ICT) look like 10 years from now? This was one of the questions I posed during an online talk with ICT executives and professionals from different parts of the world.
To answer this, we need to consider that in 10 years, the millennial technology worker will have occupied leadership roles in the corporate information technology (IT) organization. Professionals under him or her will primarily be Gen Zers.
Any IT executive will agree that IT professionals belonging to these two generations are fast learners, troubleshooters, and critical thinkers. They can easily adapt to situations and are open to trying out new things.
Both generations will also be major consumers and customers. They will look for seamless digital experiences that are coupled with the use of new gadgets and applications. They will demand digital services from consumer goods companies as well as from business-to-business firms.
Apart from the generational shift, we will also need to consider technology advances and their adoption, which have been truly fast-tracked under the pandemic.
In 10 years’ time, almost all business data will be stored in the cloud rather than in traditional company data centers. Cloud computing will be ubiquitous in forms such as Software-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service. Everything-as-a-Service will create a dynamic corporate IT that is malleable and highly conducive to innovation.
IT networks will also be dynamic and chiefly optimized for resilience and business continuity to better support larger risks coming from climate change, pandemics, cybersecurity threats and the near-total adoption of remote work. Developed countries will have adopted remote work as an employee right while the rest of the world will practice it widely.
Developed and developing countries will be using 5G wireless networks that deliver bandwidths in the gigabits-per-second range and low-latency connections. This will power Internet of Things devices such as smart refrigerators, watches, fire alarms, door locks, bicycles, medical sensors, security systems and so on.
Advances in artificial intelligence, robotics and automation will greatly improve efficiency and productivity at the expense of menial roles such as those in customer service and manufacturing. Jobs that are nonexistent today will fill the void in these skill areas.
Virtual reality and augmented reality will be common in businesses such as warehousing, employee training and simulations. The metaverse will have reached maturity, with applications in real estate, financial services and retail.
Cryptocurrency use in society and in business will be widespread, driven by adoption due to the generational shifts. Much of the financial system will be decentralized.
With all these changes, corporate IT will shift from traditional siloed and process-driven departments to customer-centric, agile and adaptive business units that will drive innovation across organizations. The next generation internet, Web 3.0, will have experienced fast advancement and adoption.
After hearing and synthesizing all of these, I wondered how our country was preparing for the future of ICT. The government will either adopt policies to prepare or the country will remain in the dark ages. It is urgent that policymakers think 10 years ahead when crafting laws instead of their standard six-year terms in office.
The author is the founder and CEO of Hungry Workhorse Consulting, a digital and culture transformation consulting firm. He is a fellow at the US-based Institute for Digital Transformation and teaches strategic management in the MBA Program of De La Salle University. The author may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.