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This episode focuses on the macro forces shaping the technology of today and the future. Deloitte leader Bill Briggs and FedEx CIO Rob Carter show us ways to navigate the technology trajectory and invest in cutting-edge tech.
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Rob Carter: In 1864, President Lincoln passed the Pacific Railway Act, which set a standard gauge for the railroad at four foot, eight and a half inches. Today, if you go out and measure a railroad track, you'll see that, rail to rail on center, it is still four-foot, eight-and-a-half inches.
Tanya: For transportation, it was the beginning of a concept called dominant design.
Rob: Dominant design became a really important part of how we connected this country and unified the east and the west and the north and the south.
Tanya: And that fed the Industrial Revolution. Who would have thought that four feet, eight and a half inches would set the U.S. on a trajectory that means today we can not only imagine self-driving vehicles, but we’re starting to share the streets with them?
It may seem like technology is evolving so quickly you can’t possibly keep up. But that’s okay, because my guests are going to guide us through some emerging technologies that could answer questions you don’t even know you have.
I’m Tanya Ott and my guides for today’s deep dive into Tech Trends are Bill Briggs …
Bill Briggs: I’m the global chief technology officer for Deloitte Consulting, and I lead our emerging technology research incubation and help clients figure out how to take full advantage of all the advancing technology happening in the world around us.
Tanya: and Rob Carter. …
Rob Carter: I’m the chief information officer at FedEx Corporation. What that really means is we run a big global network, all around the world 7/24/365. There is technology that powers every airplane that flies, every truck that rolls, every package that ships, and the tools that our team members need to keep the world on time.
Tanya: Rob’s been with FedEx for 27 years and in the technology sector for even longer.
Rob: When I started in technology, there was a huge disparity in the types of technology that you deployed. IBM computers didn’t communicate with Burroughs Computers. Didn’t communicate with DEC VAX computers and on and on. Every network was different. Every compute infrastructure and operating system was different. But today, we see dominant design taking hold of computers as well.
Bill: I love it, because one of the things I spend a lot of time on is, even though it feels like there’s so much change happening in technology and all these different dimensions and it’s only increasing, at the same point, there are some of these larger macro forces that are closely tied to some long-lasting design principles and technology that actually hold true. It gives you some confidence that even though, every day, you can open up that TechCrunch or your analyst briefing [and see] all these new buzzwords and interesting things happening, we can map them to some more lasting [trends], we sometimes even call them the eternities, things around data, computer, and interaction patterns. It allows us to actually chart a path forward. I love starting out with the Pacific Railway Act! Interoperability is a very physical manifestation because it plays true today too.
Tanya: Bill, for about a decade now, the team at Deloitte has been tracking emerging technologies. I would love to have you get in the way-back machine and think back to those early years of the Tech Trend reports. What were you thinking about some of the technologies like a cloud or artificial intelligence? Did you think they were going to work? Did you think they were going to be profitable for companies?
Bill: It was a bold position when we started. It’s the 11th year that [we’ve] published. We said it needs to look out at 18 to 24 months. We were always trying to have that pragmatic view of prognostication, because part of it was, we need[ed] to show that these are real in the wild, and they mean something to folks that are going to be actually deploying them for operations, for customer engagement, for their business.
In that frame, things like Cloud and AI certainly were on the map. A lot of the conversations at that point where what are they? What do they really mean? How do we demystify them? What’s nice is you look at them, there’s been an evolution in all of these bigger topics. You take cloud—it continues to be a dominant design pattern. We’re talking now about how do we have autonomics, and we go into DevOps [the practice of development and operations engineers collaborating] and NoOps [an environment where software and software-defined hardware are provisioned dynamically] as things within the IT shop—How do we actually take full advantage of that capability? That’s something that Rob and I could geek out on. If we’re talking to Fred [Fred Smith, founder and CEO of FedEx] and the executive team, it’s more about what does it mean to you in terms of speed of responding to market conditions, demands, and altering the cost structure. And that has held true over the years. It’s less about the whats of the individual technology. Our goal is to change it quickly into a conversation about the so what? How do you apply it? And then the now what? Because it’s not a shiny object parade of wouldn’t-it-be-nices. I’m a big Beach Boys fan, but it’s really about what do you do about it to create material value?
Tanya: The pace of change has been pretty intense in those 11 years and it continues to accelerate, which has got to be both kind of exciting and overwhelming for companies. Rob, walk us through how FedEx has approached this sort of whirlwind pace of technology advancements. Can a company play in all the spaces? Do they have to plant a flag in one space or is it something in the middle there?
Rob: We recognized quite a while back that the technology that got us here wasn’t going to get us to this new future that was so cloud-enabled and so flexible and so able to connect to resources everywhere around the planet. We began to look hard at the legacy technologies that we had and figure[d] out ways that we could refactor that technology base and make it significantly more modern and significantly more useful in this cloud-enabled world where everyone is looking to tap into resources, like shipping services, but also like computers, like telecommunications, and all of the things that maybe we used to do on our own.
An interesting legacy story for us is that Fred Smith said, “the information about the package is as important as the package itself.” And that was such a critical juncture in our company, to pivot to not just moving things, but moving things with information moving along with them. I believe, that was the beginning of the digital twin movement, because our story has for a long time been a tale of two networks, a digital network that represents the things that are moving on the physical networks that we operate that connect 98 percent of the world’s GDP. This digital twin concept caused us to build a lot of technology. In the early days, we connected our trucks with computers that allowed them to take their handhelds right out to the edge of interaction with our customers. There were no cell phones or mobility, so we actually bought up the 800-megahertz spectrum coast-to-coast and put radio towers out there. Not so that we can talk to the couriers that were out on the road, but so that their handheld computers could interact with the systems and provide visibility all the way out to the edge of interaction [with our customers].
Tanya: Bill, when you’re talking with company leaders and you’re trying to help them navigate this idea of the rapidly changing technology—Where do they get in? How do they balance it all as they’re thinking about it? What are the things that you have them think about?
Bill: I love to piggyback on Rob’s story there. The initial reaction is usually market- and customer-facing, which is fantastic because it’s how do we bring these together in ways that allow us to engage differently with our constituency: How do we take new products and services into the market, how we think about our business and our business model. That’s huge and is going to continue to dominate. But sometimes we don’t focus enough on the enterprise and how work gets done in core operations—say, how do we deploy technology in ways so we can fundamentally work differently and think about how we deliver against the engine of the enterprise. And the fact that this story of the enterprise optimization enablement, the digital twin being a feature, that helps with some efficiencies across logistics operation fulfillment. But it’s also one of the promises FedEx has had to customers in the market about a different level of confidence in tracking and visibility into the end-to-end delivery cycle: How those two aren’t separate beasts and how do we create, not an abstract promise, but very bounded and pointed things that we can do to materially meet an unmet need or shape a new ambition, by linking the customer market-facing with the ... you know, people don’t often start with, how does finance or supply chain or HR, those things being the front of digital transformation, but there’s so much power and potential there and they often link into outward facing–market facing.
Tanya: This leads us to the idea of where tech decisions live. For a long time, tech decisions lived in tech departments, but that’s evolved now to a space where it has to be C-suite decisions that are more holistic, looking at the entire organization. Does that mean that every top executive in a company also has to be a technologist?
Bill: We’re seeing the shift from 11 years ago. When we did Tech Trends it was for the CIO and the CTO and the IT department as the prime audience that wanted to understand what was happening and what it might mean. CIOs like Rob have become business leaders, respected and revered within the industry because of their ability to shift the dialog up into the C-suite and individual line-of-business owners and leaders, to really say, we ought to collectively understand technology enough to make sure we’re pushing the right ambitions forward. We’ve seen a lot of companies actually have formal, call it a tech fluency or a tech savvy initiative that’s typically sponsored by the CEO and sometimes even [extending] into the board to say, how do we make sure that we don’t have blind spots on potential? By the way, the CIO is still the one being looked at to drive not just the alignment, but probably instigate a lot of the change that needs to come because of the technology agenda.
Rob, if this was a video podcast, I could say this statement and see if you’re going to roll your eyes: The fact that every company is a technology company and that’s something that CEOs and boards tend to understand and appreciate—What’s your reaction?
Rob: There’s no question that in today’s world, technology is a C-suite discussion. We’re pretty fortunate at our company that our CEO has been an information architect for forever. We talked about the fact that “the information about the package is as important as the package” was something that was put into our DNA a long time ago. But having technology savvy, not just at the executive table, but at the board table, is particularly important for our company.
For example, in the year 2000, we established a formal committee of the board of directors known as the IT Oversight Committee. We’ve had legendary technologists on our board like Jim Barksdale, the guy that took Netscape public; Judy Estrin, a serial technology entrepreneur who did so much. Today, we continue to have technologists on our board. Chris Inglis, who was the deputy director of the NSA, a very noted cyber expert. This isn’t a subcommittee of the board. This is a full-blown committee of the board that looks not just at technology risk, but technology strategy and advantage and potential, which is what really has become the most important part of technology. It’s what is the potential that technology has to not just optimize your business but effectuate your customer and their ability to do business with you in an easier fashion and in a more productive way.
Tanya: We talked about the pace of change and one of the outcomes of that is that technology that was a good fit for a company when it was initially deployed eventually—I don’t know if this is your words or someone else’s words but I really like the phrase— become sea anchors. They basically can weigh a company down. Let’s talk for a minute about legacy tech. Rob, you sort of hinted at that a little earlier in our conversation. It can sometimes seem a little bit risky to try to tackle the legacy tech, but it’s something that’s got to be done, right?
Rob: It’s really important that we recalibrate our risk meters as we look at the state of technology that we’ve deployed over the years. At big enterprises, technologies had a tendency to collect, and it’s collected through a series of waves of technology that were born prior to what the dominant design is today. If you had stayed on that narrow-gauge railroad and insisted that you weren’t going to participate in the common gauge railroad, the next thing that you would see is tumbleweeds rolling down Main Street. You become obsolete if you don’t keep up with the dominant design.
So when I say recalibrate the risk, what I mean is that too often we believe that the safe thing to do is stay still and to just utilize the technology we’ve got—mainframe technologies, etc. I would argue that the chance of a next-generation company starting up today and building a data center and filling it with those classes of legacy technology is absolutely zero. What that means is, that is not the dominant design anymore, and if you’re stuck with that technology, it’s going to be problematic going forward. And tumbleweeds are sort of rolling to you. We underestimate the risk of staying still at the same time as we overestimate the risk of moving forward. We have to move. We can’t stand still in enterprises today. We’ve got to refactor, rebuild, and redeploy technologies that live in the dominant-design world of cloud-enabled, cloud-native, better integrated to the world around us than the islands of technology that we built inside our company.
Tanya: Bill, as you have been talking with C-suite execs, technology folks about what their companies are actually doing, what are you hearing from them in terms of the appetite or the risk-taking when it comes to moving from those legacy technologies?
Bill: There is this starting point where there’s typically some institutional angst around the topic of an ERP [enterprise resource planning], replatforming or a core modernization, because in the past, it’s been told in a very self-contained story and they’re not easy. No one wants recreational open-heart surgery. So those who have lived through that pain, that they bring that is very real. But I like to flip it and say you have to tell the story about what that investment is going to enable, the core being the foundation of all the new capabilities you want to bring to market. And the ability to take advantage of emerging technology like AI and blockchain and cloud and soon quantum and the things coming behind it, and link those two narratives and almost debunk or demystify the fact that you have technical debt. That is just an exhaust of having technology investment over the years. Most executives that haven’t been given a little bit of a talk track about how to think about it, you immediately think the technical debt means malfeasance in a way, where your tech leaders and your people, your IT department, your consultants, your vendors have made bad decisions and built bad code. That’s almost never the case. It happens, but it’s a very small percentage. The vast majority of technical debt is [what] I call misfeasance of investments made at a point in time, sometimes with perfectly justified tradeoffs and it promises that will come back in the next release and do it better. That’s a big chunk of technical debt. Then what Rob described is another huge chunk, which is nonfeasance—things that were absolutely state [of] the art when they were done, it’s just that the times have changed and it can’t participate in the full potential of the technology landscape around us today. So you have to do something about it. In a way, it’s almost resetting the talk track around why it’s so important for growth and for competitive advantage. By the way, there might be some cost and efficiency plays at the outcome, but that’s very hard to justify in its own right. Anyone that says a cloud migration transmission project or a core modernization project is going to be an immediate cost neutral or cost negative, that’s likely a very optimistic posture. Let’s just put it that way (laughs). But the return is absolutely positive over time.
Tanya: That’s a great transition into the Tech Trends report, where you break down technologies into these four categories. You label them enablers, foundation, disruptors, and horizon next. And I’d love to go step by step through these. First of all, what are the enablers?
Bill: What the whole point of this, just to put in a sentence of context, is when you do a trends report, the conflict, the tension between novelty and shiny objects, something that a Rob reading it hasn’t heard of before or thought of before, that is a very different promise than saying, “Here’s the things that we think should be at the front of your agenda in the next 18 to 24 months, the core investments that you should be making that are actually going to lead to material change.” And we wrestled with that tension over the years, so we decided to use the first chapter to look at those macro technology forces that have proven themselves over time. And we think they’re going to last. What’s nice is, you can actually start mapping some of the more interesting small or novel type of activities that are happening into those bigger buckets, which isn’t just a nice taxonomy for a research piece. It actually helps you get confidence about investing in areas because you see it as maturity and evolution and not these brand-new, out-of-nowhere concepts that come in. So in that macro forces framing, we try to basically say, the enablers are the pieces that are decade-plus and we continue to see investment. No one’s finished with the journey, but big topics like cloud and analytics and experience, which is that emphasis of human-centered design for not just customers but employees. It’s three big areas that a massive amount of advancement happened over the last 10 years continues to happen.
Tanya: The first category then is enablers. The next category is foundation, which like its title means, these are kind of the foundation of a lot of this.
Bill: And the point is not to take a step away from trends, because there are trends happening in the foundational areas as well. But they’re the pieces that don’t often get the frontline headline when we talk about emerging tech and tech trends. One of them is core modernization, which we had a great discussion on. One of them is the broader definition of risk, cybersecurity, privacy, and regulatory compliance. And now the ethics and morality of tech investments. And “just because we could, should we” being frontline to strategy. And the third one is the business of technology, which is really the idea of how does the IT department in the business evolve to be able to deliver against a very different landscape, with an emphasis on faster time of delivery to respond to market conditions and more agile, not just within IT, but with the business. That’s the up or delivery model of the technology organization to take advantage of all these advances today and what’s coming tomorrow.
Tanya: The next category is disruptors. Is that a word we’re still using? It seems like everybody [and] their brother uses the word disruptor or disruptive.
Bill Sure. We are. The point being, looking out the next five to 10 years, to the things that we think are going to be seen as inevitable as what cloud analytics and experience look like today. And those [are] blockchain, cognitive, which is how we talk about AI and advanced automation, and then digital reality, which is this intersection of augmented reality, virtual reality, voice, computer vision. Moving from point-click-type, which is the old way, we interacted with technology systems, we moved into touch and swipe, and now we’re getting into talk and gesture. The end state is going to be, the system knows who I am, what I’m trying to do, why I’m trying to do it. Which gets to the last column of, if we want to be really provocative, the horizon next. The three: the ambient experience is exactly what I just described. It’s saying we want to move from even these advanced ways to interact with systems to something that’s just more seamless and intuitive. There’s a great quote from Leonardo Da Vinci—people think it was Jobs, actually it’s Da Vinci—“The ultimate form of sophistication is simplicity.” In this case, the ultimate form of simplicity is transparency. And then we have the second of the three in this column, exponential intelligence, which is, really getting into broad, general-purpose AI and the capabilities that [it] represents. Quantum is the last, not as a replacement of cloud or traditional computing, but a great augmentation and new things we can do. Everything that’s happening we can plot pretty confidently into these big buckets. Some of them here and true. Some of them coming. All of them important. But again, they’re ingredients and the whole point of the exercise is how do we create recipes that matter for our business, our market?
Tanya: I do want to break this down, though, because to the untrained eye, all of these technologies can kind of seem to come out of nowhere, right? But you argue that they’re really predictable and we’ve had breadcrumbs along the way. So why did you give us an example of what led to one of those disruptor forces that you talk about, digital reality or cognitive or blockchain?
Bill: Cloud is a perfect example. If ten years ago you asked what was different, there would be some, especially with CEOs and CTOs, hearty debate about why are we even talking about cloud, it’s nothing more than logical partitioning from the mainframe on a more distributed and open level? Or, it’s nothing different than grid computing that has been around for a long time. Or, it’s nothing different than automated provisioning, which is something we’ve been working on. And the truth of that then and now is those are building blocks that have led to the broader cloud capability. What’s really interesting is how that’s moved up. Originally cloud was about, I have access to computing or networking or storage, the lowest-level building blocks. Now the cloud players are saying, we’re going up the stack into AI and blockchain and quantum and all these other capabilities on top of the core. But the fact that cloud is absolutely a sum of many parts, many of which have been around for a long time, is the truth. And it gives us confidence that these things don’t just come out of nowhere. And you could get on the same path with AI, with blockchain, with quantum even. The pieces that make up these macro forces are happening in front of us right now.
Tanya: So we’re pulling the thread through. When you look at those things that are in that horizon next category, which is the fourth category, you talk about ambient experience and exponential intelligence and quantum. Maybe you could give us a prediction on just one of those? How do we get from where we are now to that thing?
Bill: Sure. Quantum is the one that everyone agrees on the impact and the fact that technology’s maturing, and it will make a material difference in our world. The question becomes timing. There are massive advances happening on all of those simultaneously. Some within the same shop and some across startups and academia and the like. The fact that we’re already saying there are specific use cases that quantum will be able to solve that traditional computing couldn’t, or it can solve it in an exponentially different and better way, we have good examples of that. Life sciences on drug discovery or looking at complex systems in material science—those are all things that we know of, but we’re surface-scratching because we’re taking existing problem sets and saying how could quantum apply to them? We’ll see a whole new generation of problem statements and solutions as it matures. So the counsel isn’t that everyone should be standing up a thousand-person quantum team right now. But the flip side of it is, having folks within the organization so you have your own credible opinion of how real are the different components, how it might be applied, what it might mean, and be ready to scale that up as the technology piece mature is absolutely appropriate. Probably measured more in the individual people versus the departments of people.
Tanya: Rob, I want to bring you back into the conversation here, because when we’re looking at some of these horizon next things like quantum, for instance, how are you at FedEx thinking about, how you would apply quantum? What’s your thought process on that?
Rob: Quantum really hasn’t become an enterprise technology yet, but obviously it’s something that we have to look at that horizon and understand what that class of computing could do to the traditional ways that we seek solutions. Today you’d sort of roll that back to large scale AI and our ability to utilize these technologies in ways that help us operate more efficiently or help customers get their questions answered or do analytics that provide clairvoyance to things we didn’t even think of asking. So we’re seeing the early waves of that massive and high-performance computing wave show up in the business. But quantum is something that’s still out there on the horizon. My friend Bob Johansen at the Institute for the Future often says, “The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” So, that’s been true forever. When we first started interacting with customers, we were using things like America Online and CompuServe to allow them to dial in through their warbling modem and make a connection and track a package. Those connections would go to a big mainframe and return information for them. When we first stood up FedEx.com, the very first page of FedEx.com was a picture of a swooping package going across the screen with a small form that said, enter your tracking number here and you would type in a tracking number and of the internet it would go and connect with our back-end systems and provide tracking information. That won a Smithsonian Award for what was touted at that point, in 1994, as being the first business transactional website. At that point in time, most websites were doing nothing more than an about page or a message from the CEO. So technology has this way of showing up early but in an uneven way that then builds rapidly toward these incredible futures that we are now experiencing. At the same time, looking ahead to the potential of the future.
Tanya: Rob, I’m guessing it could be kind of easy to get fixated on some of these individual technologies or these trends. But is there a danger there?
Rob: We have a philosophy that says our goal is to be less wrong tomorrow than we are today. We just fundamentally believe you can’t be perfect in the technology choices or in the way that you deploy technology, but you can certainly be thoughtful about spotting the right places for investment, making small but mighty investments in things like blockchain and AI and IoT technologies that are going to be very important and are rapidly becoming more important.
Bill: The danger becomes being enamored with the technology itself. You have to understand the technology to be able to get to a credible “so what” of how it can be applied and when it can be applied. That’s the point. The quicker you can get to the now what? Which is, let’s take some of the potential and invest in a way that’s appropriately risk-modeled and scaled. What we find a lot is when we do visioning sessions, especially with business execs and in-line employees in different departments for companies, that once you actually bring these concepts to life and let them see them and understand how they could work, even if it’s within a completely different context and completely different industry, that show-versus-tell goes a long way to saying, could it do this, could it do that, and can we bring them together to solve problems that we’ve just always assumed were constraints that were permanent or limitations in the way that the world could work or our jobs could work? So that idea of the “now what”—how do you accelerate that experimentation and have a much more fact-based and confident investment to either scale it or not? And that last pieces is doing nothing on some of these areas can absolutely be strategic as long as it’s deliberately undertaken.
Tanya: Rob, as we’re sort of closing out this conversation, I’d love for you to talk about how at FedEx you’re looking at making these big investments in the macro forces that we’re talking about.
Rob: We have a strong belief that reimagining business on a regular basis and focusing on next-generation technologies has big payoffs. We’ve placed a few bets that are really important. We’ve placed some bets on blockchain, for example. When you think about what we do for a living, we create custody chains of information from the time we first take a shipment from a customer to when we deliver it to the end recipient. And we have a very strong custodial chain that moves along that path. We very much think that the future will expand those custodial chains for supply chains all the way back to the point of manufacturing. The reason that that’s so important is for the provenance and authenticity, of whether it’s pharma or whether it’s luxury goods or whether it’s food products, we believe that that heritage of products as they move along the supply chain is something people are very much going to want to know.
We also believe that the Internet of Things is a critical investment for us. We’re making investments. We have many patents. It’s been a very busy patent filing season for us around IoT in transportation. But we’ve got a lot of sensor-based logistics where we put sensors and technology into shipments and allow them to be monitored all the way through the journey. Not scanned at individual points in time, as has been the legacy of tracking, but a journey that’s visible and transparent and recorded. Now, managing the data and the information that comes off of these kinds of sensors is a big deal. The sensor itself is the easy part. How do you take all that machine exhaust that comes off of literally millions of sensors at some point and manage that through to being useful information for customers and operational efficiency? But we very much believe that these classes of investments are going to pay off significantly and that that’s the future that we’re working our way toward.
One of the most important tenets of innovation for us, though, is what we call the two wings of innovation. We believe that if you only attempt to innovate internally to a company, it’s like a one wing bird, it doesn’t fly and it kind of flaps around in a circle. You have to embrace partners and leadership and thought from the outside and products from the outside of your company as the second wing. That’s what really allows innovations to soar and for you to make progress toward your goals.
Bill: A very visceral picture of the one-wing, floundering bird.
Rob: We’ve long been a company that believed in analytics and managing data and we apply it operationally and we allow customers to apply it to their world as well. But the journey that we’ve been on has been from empirical data that lets you see accurately through an analysis of what happened in the past, to real time information which allows you to fairly carefully and closely examine what’s going on in the present, to then predictive technology and analytics that lets you peer into the future with important algorithms that will allow you to see what’s likely to happen next. Finally, what we call clairvoyant technology, which is not a question that we even knew to ask, but one that gets revealed inside of the information as it collects that that identifies patterns is super important.
Bill: I love that turn of phrase. I promise that the next 10 times I use it, [it] will be direct attribution before I appropriate. That’s great.
Tanya: Bill and Rob, thank you so much for this conversation. It’s one of many coming on Tech Trends. We’re going to be diving deep into some of these other issues as well.
Tanya: That was Bill Briggs, the global chief technology officer for Deloitte Consulting, and Rob Carter, the chief information officer at FedEx Corporation.
Bill and Rob gave us a lot to think about. The macro forces they discussed are the underpinnings of the 2020 Tech Trends. And we’re going to take a much deeper dive into the tech trends in upcoming episodes. Scott Buchholz, chief technology officer for the government practice within Deloitte Consulting LLP, is going to be our guide. Scott, tell me what you got coming up.
Scott: We’ve got a lot of interesting things coming up. Several of the trends for this year are actually in response to persistent challenges, and others represent new opportunities or evolving opportunities that are likely to drive significant change in enterprise technology. The trends that we’re going to be talking about include ethical technology and trust, where every organization is being disrupted by technology and every interaction, every choice represents an opportunity to gain or to lose trust.
Next is finance and the future of IT, where we’re looking at the relationship between the CIO and the CFO, how we finance innovation and emerging technologies, and how we think about governance and controls both inside IT and in finance, accounting, and procurement as we move forward in this new agile world.
Tanya: Another topic that you’re tackling, Scott, is going to be digital twins, which is where we’re sort of bridging the physical and the digital within an organization.
Scott: Yes. Digital twins are virtual simulations. What we’re seeing is, as the capabilities have increased over the years, that they’re moving out of the manufacturing into other industries. Basically, the ability to create a virtual simulation and interact with physical reality and vice versa is a really interesting trend.
Human experience platforms [is next]. What we’re starting to see is a combination of things. One is, people are designing systems for the complete human, perhaps not just what the organization wants, but what the human being wants, the constituent, the employee, the customer, or what have you. The other half of this is that technology is increasingly able to, in real time, detect and respond to human emotions using things like voice stress analysis and computer vision.
Tanya: You also are doing something with architects.
Scott: Yes. So within IT, what we’re finding is that architects are some of the most underutilized resources in a number of organizations. And we see people getting increasingly thoughtful about how they deploy some of their most experienced senior technical resources.
And last but not least is horizon next, as we look beyond our typical 18- to 24-month horizon to try to see what’s out there in terms of emerging technologies, not just for the next two years, but for the next five and beyond. And how you can actually take that collection of maybes from the future and work backwards to today to figure out what you should be doing to anticipate those in the futures.
Tanya Great, Scott, I can’t wait to have those conversations
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