Future-Proofing Your Business
The pace of change in technology is accelerating, with systems, models and processes evolving almost overnight. For business leaders, this makes greater innovation possible, but it also presents real challenges. Learn how you can use technology to stay relevant, disrupt and streamline your own business, and potentially avoid being disrupted yourself.
Technology is disrupting the business landscape, enabling new business models and driving strategy and more agile ways of working. Organizations around the world are being pushed to embrace the latest technological advances—from application program interfaces (APIs) to blockchain—to remain competitive as clients demand better digital experiences. But as a business leader, how do you build tech fluency and how should you prioritize different emerging technologies?
At JPMorgan Chase, we believe one of the best ways to stay ahead in today’s rapid-paced, disruptive business environment is to have our technologists and tech thought leaders partner with product owners and heads of business. Our most senior leaders have a responsibility to keep up to date with new technology. At the same time, our technologists are encouraged to think with a commercial, client-centric mindset—so both employees and clients can benefit from an integrated and connected approach to technology at work.
Faster technological innovation is translating into faster business disruption, which will impact your business strategy—so it’s vital to have a grasp of emerging technologies. At JPMorgan Chase, this is a real priority for the Operating Committee. We’ve taken our leaders to the West Coast to visit companies that are on the front line of technological disruption. Every month we also showcase an emerging technology to the committee to help inform their thinking. We’re not just looking at how it might change our business strategy, but also how it could influence many of the companies with which we partner.
When thinking about how innovative you want your company to be, it’s important to consider your tolerance for risk too. New technology can have some risk associated with it, so it’s critical to be thoughtful about risk tolerance and how you manage that risk as you apply new technology to your business strategy. Talent is another deciding factor, and not just technology talent; building digital fluency throughout your business is key if you’re trying to stay ahead.
Technology to Watch
With so many buzzwords, new ideas and products, it can be hard to know where to start. If you want to solve a business problem by providing better insights and more predictability, artificial intelligence or a machine learning algorithm can help with that—but you need the data first. We’ve seen huge advances in gathering, storing and getting the information you need quickly from Big Data through cloud computing. Combining technologies like Big Data, cloud and machine learning can help deliver insights much faster.
APIs can help you serve customers the way they want to be served. If you want to deliver an embedded, end-to-end experience to customers, APIs really help do that. For example, if one of our treasury services clients with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system wants to execute a payment, an API will let them directly connect to our payment infrastructure from their ERP system.
At JPMorgan Chase, we have also done a lot of work in blockchain distributed ledger technology. Our first production application, the Interbank Information Network, was created to act as an ecosystem that allows us to connect with banks in a safe and secure way.
Quantum computing is another area we are exploring, which will become more mainstream in the not-too-distant future, as it can radically speed up certain financial models. Over the last year, around 1 percent of companies have budgeted for some quantum capabilities. By 2023, this is projected to reach around 20 percent of companies. We’re also keeping an eye on edge computing, or computing that’s done at or near the source of the data. It will come into greater focus with the adoption of 5G.
How to Prioritize
When thinking about what technology you need to prioritize for your business, education around existing and upcoming capabilities should come first. After that, consider the business strategy. What are the critical difference-makers of your business? This should help inform where you choose to invest.
Having the right talent to match the investment in new technology is also essential. You need a combination of technologists that want to create the next version of a technology and those that understand how to apply that technology to your business. For smaller or midsized firms, having deep technical expertise on the team is a real asset. You may not have your own data centers and will likely use third-party software or service providers. Having strong technology talent can make sure the technology you outsource really fits into your ecosystem.
Cybersecurity is a threat to every business, so educating and investing in technology that protects your business is key. Think about keeping up to date with emerging threats and using technology that helps you understand what the response would be if an incident were to occur.
Top Tips for Future-Proofing Your Business
Here’s what you can do now to stay ahead:
Keep going back to your strategy and look at where you can have the biggest impact with new technology.
Have a thoughtful process and be open to working with smaller, emerging companies. Do thorough research into what capabilities you need to integrate into your ecosystem and who is best placed to meet those needs.
Create a tighter connection between technology teams and business leaders. Have a look at how technology is impacting other industries and how consumer trends could translate into commercial trends.
Hire talent with both niche and general skill sets. Think about how your talent strategy aligns with the delivery of your products and services.