How IT is remaking the world

Summary:McKinsey report outlines how social, mobile, analytics and cloud has become the new 'plastics.'

There are many forces reshaping the way we work and live these days, but they all have one thing in common: They are all the result of the transformative effect of IT.

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Image: Joe McKendrick/ZDNet

Such forces of change have recently been documented by Michael Chui and a team of co-authors from McKinsey Global Institute, who point to the way IT is transforming the world.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger provided his own take on the report, observing that "SMAC — Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud — has become the new plastics, capturing the future of IT in one word, or rather, one acronym. Just about everyone agrees that these are foundational technologies, like the internet 20 years ago, that every business must embrace."

Realizing anything as a service

Enterprises are participating "on both sides of the anything-as-service phenomenon — as consumers of services and as providers," the report says. "They should also consider how services can help them reduce capital assets and deploy money in other ways. Leaders should be thinking about creative ways to monetize their assets. At the same time, companies need to evolve their business models to prepare for more customers turning from buyers into renters."

The internet of all things

"Automated closed-loop systems that can carry out tasks independently based on incoming data, and which can be used to manage systems such as smart electric grids, are likely to be adopted more widely. They may be used to manage machines, processes, and even the health of human beings."

Big data, advanced analytics

"To make the most of the big data opportunity, companies will also have to understand data's role in decision making today, and what it could be in the future. They will have to learn how to use experimentation to inform their business decisions."

Automation of knowledge work

This creates many opportunities "to automate many tasks, redesign jobs, and do things never before possible even with the best human workforces. However, this will involve significant investment in technology as well as a change in organizational culture. Business leaders will have to rethink the way they structure their organizations when some knowledge work tasks can be automated."

Integrated digital/physical experiences

Enterprises "should rethink their strategies for incorporating new digital platforms (for example, smartphones and tablets) into their product design, the media they depend on to advertise, and the ways in which they collect customer feedback. They also have the chance to apply these tools to improve their own productivity, and re-imagine the physical experiences of employees."'

The social matrix

Enterprises "have unprecedented opportunities to improve the way their employees solve problems, collaborate, and interact with customers". Employees "can also re-imagine the process of solving difficult problems and embrace the opportunity to collaborate with the brightest minds outside their organizations."

McKinsey's entire list of 10 IT-driven shifts is available in a new whitepaper.

Topics: IT Priorities

About

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. Joe is co-author, along with 16 leading industry leaders and thinkers, of the SOA Manifesto, which outlines the values and guiding principles of service orientation. He speaks frequently on cloud, SOA, data, and... Full Bio

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