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Deloitte’s 10th annual Tech Trends report: A decade of technological change reshaping businesses

In Belgium, AI and cloud computing drive business and government operations

Brussels, Belgium – 14 March 2019

Today, Deloitte released its milestone 10th annual report on technology trends, “Tech Trends 2019: Beyond the digital frontier”. The report explores how the convergence of new technologies with powerful technological forces is driving disruption across industries.

“Technology is not just an enabling function, it is the universal language of business today,” said Patrick Callewaert, Deloitte Belgium Technology Practice Leader. “As the pace of change quickens, technology now drives business strategy and pushes administrations to incorporate new ways of working.”  

Digital experience, analytics, cloud, core modernisation, cyber, business of information technology, cognitive, blockchain, and digital reality are nine macro forces that have driven a decade of disruptive change, and continue to do so today. Looking forward, new technologies such as serverless computing and intelligent interfaces will further propel changes in business and government.

“For Belgium, two trends are of particular interest: cloud computing and artificial intelligence. Within businesses, the adoption of cloud computing drives tech-enabled innovation, such as Industry 4.0 capabilities on top of ERP-systems to enable new ways of working. We’re also witnessing the rapid adoption of assisted intelligence using Robotics Process Automation, and augmented processes – or machine learning- using algorithms to facilitate human decision making,” added Callewaert.

Exponential growth for cloud computing

We’ve reached the next stage in the evolution of cloud computing, with technical resources completely abstracted and management tasks increasingly automated. Eurostat data show that together with Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Ireland, Belgium leads in this trend with at least 40 percent of businesses using either cloud infrastructure or cloud applications.

“According to The Belgium Cloud Barometer 2018, just over five years ago there was only 20 percent adoption; today, it’s more than 70 percent in Flanders and above 60 percent in Brussels. Increasingly, cloud-based services have been revolutionising large and mid-sized organisations and governments, and we see an increased adoption of the cloud also for core applications – such as financial systems, business intelligence or ERP across Europe,” said Christian Combes, Deloitte Belgium Technology Eminence Leader.

AI-fueled organisations

Leading companies are systematically deploying rapidly maturing technologies – machine learning, natural language processing, RPA, and cognitive – not just to every core business process, but into products, services and the future of industries. Those organisations’ view of artificial intelligence is moving from “Why?” to “Why not?”

The cyber imperative: integrating security in risk management procedures

The combination of software development, operations disciplines, and security protocols in order to emphasise communication, collaboration, and cohesion between the traditionally separate developer and IT operations is fundamentally transforming cyber, security, privacy, and risk management.

DevSecOps, or development, security, and operations, allows companies to transition risk management from being compliance-based activities into essential framing mindsets across the product journey. Recognising the need to provide customer trust, DevSecOps ensures security measures are embedded in the software development life cycle.

The Belgian government has increasingly invested in cybersecurity. Influenced by rising concerns among many citizens, cybersecurity has evolved from a regulatory compliance issue to a non-negotiable imperative.

Connectivity of tomorrow

Proliferating mobile devices, serverless computing, exploding volumes of shared data, and automation all require advanced connectivity and data-stream acceleration, including real-time data processing without latency.

Technologies like 5G and edge computing - where data is processed by the device itself or by a local computer instead of transmitted to a data centre - are expanding business’ reach to both the far corners of the world, and the smallest spaces in warehouses, retail stores, and other places. Advanced networking is the unsung hero driving development of new products and services and is transforming how work gets done.

Intelligent interfaces

Today, people interact with technology through ever more intelligent interfaces that combine the latest in human-centred design techniques with technologies such as computer vision, conversational voice, auditory analytics, augmented reality and virtual reality.

Phygital technologies reconnect with customers in a human way in the physical space, and this is what a Belgian public institution recently did: its reception area was equipped with physical robots and interactive touch screens, which provided answers to common FAQs, while collecting valuable information on visitors that could be used to retarget tailored messages.

Customer experience reimagined

To deliver the highly personalised, contextualised experiences that today’s customers expect, some chief marketing officers are engaging closer partnerships with their own CIOs.

Enabled by a new generation of marketing tools and techniques focused on personalised, contextual and dynamic experiences, CIOs and CMOs can illuminate and engage customer needs and desires most effectively.

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