Belgian businesses need to embrace disruptive digital technologies for successful business innovation

Mobility, social, analytics, cloud and cyber represent five imminent technology forces for business innovation

Brussels, 28 March 2012 - Digital technology trends are converging to reshape the marketplace and trigger a fundamental shift in the needs, desires and expectations of customers and employees in a postdigital ecosystem. Today marks a watershed moment in the evolution of business technology. Deloitte's 3rd annual Tech Trends report identifies five emerging technology forces – mobility, social business, analytics, cloud computing and cyber intelligence – that provide the opportunity for businesses to accelerate performance. These trends were also discussed during the Annual Deloitte Technology Innovation Event in Brussels, which gathered over 200 professionals from the Belgian IT scene.

A poll conducted during the Annual Deloitte Technology Innovation Event threw up some interesting statistics. The vast majority of attendees – 97% – agreed that mobile applications are part of their future business, although over half (56%) agreed that their company does not yet have a mobility strategy, with slightly more (68%) indicating that their company has allocated a budget to build mobile applications in the next 12 months.

Although many companies are investing in focused initiatives to address each of these disruptive technology forces individually, an integrated postdigital strategy exploiting the combined power in the five areas will be more effective, states Deloitte. Christian Combes, Partner Deloitte Consulting, Technology Services Leader, comments: "Technology platforms should be designed to support and inform complex human interactions and to narrow the gap for clients, consumers and employees between the current and future applications of social, mobile, cloud, analytics and cyber intelligence". According to Deloitte, the post digital ecosystem presents significant opportunities to elevate the digital agenda and influence business performance:

According to Google, the value of the Belgian digital economy is substantial; €8.6 billion, or 2.5 percent of GDP – compared to other Belgian sectors. However, this is significantly smaller than the leading European Internet economies such as the United Kingdom or Sweden with respectively 7.2 and 6.6 percent of GDP. Deloitte therefore recommends both government and businesses to work towards policies and strategies that will enforce the strength of Belgian's digital economy.

In this new post digital ecosystem, a fundamental shift in the needs, desires and expectations of customers and employees can be perceived. People are no longer a market segment; their individual needs and preferences are gaining increasing importance. Also, the (online) activities organisations undertake are increasingly visible outside the four walls of a traditional office. Deloitte identified five emerging technologies that will be the main driving forces in the post digital future:

  1. Social Business: organizations need to re-think how they interact with their employees and consumers and start socializing with communities who know what they want and are not afraid to share it as is illustrated by Johns Hagel III co- author of "Power of Pull" and Founder of Deloitte's Center for the Edge: "Most companies are still trying to figure enterprise 2.0 / social business technology out. They neither know what it is about, nor how to adopt it".
  2. Hyper-hybrid Cloud: Cloud-based and cloud-aware integration offerings are expected to continue to evolve, and many organizations face a hybrid reality with a mix of on-premise solutions and multiple cloud offerings. The adoption of cloud computing is widely accepted, and both business and IT departments are involved. However, the potential of cloud computing is not yet fully leveraged and many organisations limit their "cloud move" to the most obvious areas. The challenge becomes integration, identity management and data translation between the core and multitenant public cloud offerings, and offering lightweight orchestration for processes traversing enterprise and cloud assets. Christian Combes indicates: "Even though cloud computing is still in its start-up phase in Belgium, Deloitte expects organisations will further expand their cloud sourcing and vary the models they use as the technology matures and offerings become more clear."
  3. Enterprise Mobility Unleashed: Mobility is helping many organisations to rethink their business models. Consumer-facing mobile applications are only the beginning. Christian Combes; "with the explosion of mobile use cases, organisations should make sure solutions are enterprise class: sure, reliable, maintainable and integrated to critical back-office systems and data".
  4. Digital Identities: The digital expression of identity is growing more complex every day as individuals take a more active hand in managing their own digital identities. Digital persona protection is becoming a strong area of cyber focus. Deloitte offers platforms which lower the barriers for online communication and enable organisations to have protected online access to sensitive information.
  5. Data Goes to Work: Organisations are finding ways to turn the explosion in size, volume and complexity of data into insights and value. This is occurring across structured and unstructured content from internal and external sources. This is expected to complement but not replace long-standing Information Management programs and investments in data warehouses, Business Intelligence Suites, reporting platforms and relational database experience. Christian Combes: "Advanced analytics are only used by 20 percent of the Belgian organizations, primarily in the area of financial analysis and forecasting; therefore leaving a significant opportunity to better understand individual needs and preferences of individuals and increase business performance".

Information technology is changing the way businesses are run. Designed and delivered well, IT is both an enabler and a shaper of corporate business strategy. Deloitte Belgium addresses market demands for technology-based business enhancements, as well as secure and effective IT operations. Christian Combes: "Our Technology experts provide advisory, implementation and security services related to end-to-end or function specific innovative technology-enabled transformation projects. We help our clients to create and sustain value at the intersection of their business and technology strategies."

About Deloitte Tech Trends

To download the full report, please visit www.deloitte.com/us/techtrends2012 For the past three years, Deloitte's annual "Tech Trends" report has identified the 10 trends anticipated to have an impact for CIOs in the coming year and beyond. The predications are based on insights from Deloitte's technology subject matter specialists, input from some of its largest clients and discussions with industry analysts and alliance members.