CIO Talk

The business of business technology: a look back and a look forward

Ranil Herath, MD-International, DeVry Education Group
Ranil Herath, MD-International, DeVry Education Group

Technology has revolutionized nearly every industry, from filmmaking to healthcare to retail and beyond, leaving no business untouched. As businesses began going digital, they also saw increased efficiency, productivity and innovation. Just as the emergence of the internet allowed businesses to connect in new ways with their customers, and the emergence of the personal computer changed the office forever, tomorrow’s innovations are poised to move businesses in exciting new directions.


The advent of the internet impacted everything, from the way businesses communicate with customers and vendors, to their marketing, research and collaboration. The Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) — the precursor to the modern internet — facilitated some business functions such as transferring orders and sending invoices. It wasn’t until the modern internet (the World Wide Web) emerged in 1990 that connectivity really began impacting businesses by fostering easier communication, convenient marketing and advertising, collaboration, and telecommuting.

Similarly, e-commerce has had a huge impact on the ways that people buy and sell products. Before e-commerce, businesses had to use conventional forms of advertising and marketing, which limited their market scopes. Online selling expanded businesses’ reach by offering lower-cost online businesses as an alternative to brick-and-mortar setups, and allowing shops and businesses to run 24/7.


Current innovations are shaping the business world of today and preparing us for the landscape of tomorrow. The Internet of Things (IoT) — a network of connected devices that makes otherwise ordinary items “smart” — is poised to change the way companies make products and engage with their customers. The sensors built into IoT devices record data (Big Data) which businesses can then collect and analyse to use in their strategies and other plans.
While the IoT is ready to enter all industries, beacon technology is changing marketing and retail rapidly. These small radio transmitters use Bluetooth technology to send messages, ads and signals to nearby smartphones. This allows businesses and marketers to target customers in specific locations and direct them to certain products or areas.

One thing you can always be sure of when it comes to technology is that it constantly evolves. Some of the exciting predictions for the near future include:

•Big Data and the IoT Will Continue to Grow: Big Data is set to get some major upgrades including much needed developments in big data storage, which will provide revolutionary agility in IT. Intelligent systems, particularly smart homes, will grow rapidly in 2017. With a number of products already on the market for smart homes and many more expected to come, smart homes will become an affordable possibility for many.

•Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Will Become Major Business Disrupters: AR and VR are expected to spring into the spotlight in the near future. These technologies have the potential to revolutionize businesses by changing how people advertise, communicate and shop. For example, companies may soon be able to use VR and AR to visualize prototypes in a new way, while hospital or nursing home patients could use the technology to visualize relaxing on a beach.

•Mobility and a Mobile Workforce: Business technology has paved the road for a mobile workforce that works from home and shops from anywhere. An estimated four out of every five customers use their phones to shop.

Technology continues evolving at a rapid pace while becoming increasingly enmeshed in all facets of business. The technology revolution is set to change the way businesses operate, from stocking their shelves to interacting with consumers. Individuals with an understanding of tech developments are poised for success in the exciting future of business technology

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