Enterprise 4.0: The Top 10 Tech Trends That Will Transform 2017

01/30/2017 07:58 pm ET Updated Jan 31, 2018

If you are like me you are running hard to keep up with the latest innovations in tech, what's next for business and how the enterprise will navigate change. I am working to keep my clients and my myself Future Smart. I am learning new things everyday about how tech is changing business models, strategy, markets and society.

Enterprise 4.0 is the next evolution of business. If you consider that there have been four stages of business where innovation has made a difference, then maybe you too can see this coming. You can see where we are going as a global civilization based on the use of innovation to enhance the productivity of work. Innovations have been getting smarter and more productive in delivering value.

Enterprise 1.0 was the industrial revolution born in the late 1800's when automation, such as the automobile was first made, the emergence of mass production in factories became a game-changer. Enterprise 2.0 was led by the integration of early automation into rethinking work roles and processes. More sophisticated automation led to more productivity. This was still prior to computers being invented and even automation such as robots being used throughout the factory and organization, as occurred in the next stage of Enterprise 3.0.

The use of computers and robots in Enterprise 3.0 was a central game-changer that after Post-World War ll led to a world of prosperity, progress and productivity increases. Quality of life increases and globalization, ecommerce and mobile communications created a different type of enterprise--global, digital and based on the emerging knowledge economy.

Enterprise 4.0 is the next stage of the evolution of global business and the global economy. This wave will be characterized by artificial intelligence, robotics, analytics, data, prediction, knowledge engineering, virtual reality, the blockchain and digital web innovations like IoT. This parallels Industry 4.0 that relates to factory automation but goes beyond the factory into all aspects of the global economy.

Challenges unique to Enterprise 4.0 such as the role of talent, AI economy, social responsibility, new jobs and global trade will make this evolution of business difficult to accurately predict the outcomes--but predict we must. We are facing a New Future of challenges we have never faced before. Will there be a future of work and jobs for humans if we automate every work process?

I forecast that Enterprise 4.0 will become a significant transformation in global business culture and economics; one in which fundamental issues related to work, jobs, education and global competition will be disrupted. No one is ready for this change. As my job is a futurist well, I am doing my part to give you a heads up.

This is both exciting and paranoid as Andy Grove the former CEO from Intel used to say, only the paranoid survive. That may sound spooky but true. Now I understand his mindset that led him a decade plus ago to be paranoid. He was keeping an eye on the future from his perch at Intel. He ran the future of Moore's Law, Gordon Moore was just down the hall at the company. We all live in the world shaped by Moore's Law--faster, cheaper, smarter tech is everywhere.

Enterprise 4.0 will redefine business strategy. You are going to have to embrace fast these top ten trends, drivers of Enterprise 4.0, that will rock our world in 2017. And I do mean disrupt because if you have taken a deep dive and looked around what you will find is that most of your competitors have embraced two or more of these trends. Are you playing catch up or leading the crowd? That is a leadership choice.

If your in the enterprise space, small or large, local or global, legacy or startup--you have to move move fast as I have been telling my clients. Explore, adapt, be agile, innovate faster or else be left behind. Innovation is the only competitive advantage. Right about now your saying " I knew this so?" Well here it is. These trends are not about the technology but about the trends that the technology is shaping.

Enterprise 4.0 is about these tech trends and more. Here is my hit list of what tech trends are coming and why you should pay attention, maybe rethink your strategy, business value proposition and mission. Xerox doesn't make copiers anymore. They morphed. Kodak is out of the picture--really. Apple's computers are not where they make all their profits.

Many companies have missed the trends that realign and transform the marketplace. But you don't want to miss Enterprise 4.0. So listen up. Here is your strategy review for what's coming this year. Don't wait to embrace the future. Be smart. Be Future Smart and embrace with agility what is coming fast. Enterprise 4.0 is a comprehensive shift in the reality of business.

Here is a short list of what to watch for that will transform 2017.

1. AI Everywhere
Deep learning, machine intelligence, neural networks are transforming every business process. The enterprise will be transformed by AI--knowledge engineering transactions will shape every business this year. Get ready.
2. Virtual Reality Markets
We are going to see that virtual reality, VR will dominate a new category of economics of entertainment, advertising, gaming, fintech, health care, training, retail and become a marketplace that is next for every enterprise. Embrace it now.
3. The Blockchain Gets Real
Have you noticed how many different blockchain solutions there have emerged for using digital contracts, digital currency and authenticating identities using this innovation have emerged recently? Get ready for banks, tech, health care and even central banks using the blockchain tech.
4. The Predictive Enterprise
Every enterprise is a predictive enterprise--they just haven't realized it yet. Your ability to predict your customers needs, understand the market, predict trends will make the difference in your success. How good is your predictive intelligence?
5. A Quantified World
The amount of digital info about people, about their behavior, locations, places, health, needs, desires is petabyte crazy it is so large. We are capturing and quantifying on our phones everything about everyone. What is the future of privacy in a Quantified World?
6. The Data Tsunami
The data tsunami is the tidal wave of information, from DNA, social media, entertainment, customer mining, emails, that we need to prepare for to do our jobs, run our companies make our lives relevant and be competitive.
7. Internet of Smart Things Wakes Up
Every object will have an IP address, an antenna and be online. Sensors tied to the cloud will turn on every thing making all things connected and smart. Things taking to things, M2M will be over 100 billion by 2020. What will our cars say to our toasters about us?
8. Personalized Medicine Breaks Out
Most medicine is disease care. We will learn to prevent, predict illness and enhance wellness when medicine becomes personalized. Consumer genomics meets evidence based medicine meets digital mobile health care and AI early diagnostics. You want to live forever?
9. CyberHacking Reality
We have to get a reality check on our reality. We have to understand who is who. Who or what is real or fake. Who is hacking our media, government, elections, health care or economy--what is real and who is not?
10. Talent Wars: The Future of Work
From jobs to work processes, robots to AI, the future of work--talent, work roles, responsibilities are on a collision course with the enterprise this year affecting retention, culture and loyalty.

If you don't think these tech trends could disrupt your industry, market or organization then you have not been paying attention. We are all swimming in the same ocean. We may not need to learn to grow fins, web feet and maybe breath differently to survive and thrive but we have to adapt. I can say that 2017 will come fast and require agility, learning and adaptation.

Enterprise 4.0 is coming fast. Innovations that were outside the mainstream like VR and the blockchain will become the way we compete. Get ready for the future today.