5 new and existing technologies for business leaders to watch

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To make these five emerging technologies commonplace in the next five years, business leaders will need to play a more active role in their management, integration, and governance.

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A new study released Tuesday by software vendor Pegasystems and iResearch says business leaders need to take stronger accountability for the governance, integration, innovation, and adoption of five emerging technologies if they want to successfully incorporate them into their organizations.

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“If you want a real competitive advantage, you have to take an active, deliberate approach to adopting new digital technology now,” said Don Schuerman, Pegasystems’ CTO, in a statement. “Technology keeps advancing and is not going to slow down for organizations to catch up. Business leaders who are willing to embrace emerging technologies … will be the most likely to come out on top over the next five years.”

The study, Tech trends: Future-proof 2025, examined the evolution of five technologies—artificial intelligence (AI), hyper-automation, extended reality (XR), extended edge, and distributed cloud—over the next five years.

The study found:

Governments are poised to fill the AI governance gap: Even though 65% of respondents said today’s AI governance is not up to the task, 27% of respondents said they have no designated AI governance leader in their organizations, and only 25% have C-suite policies. Although they would not prefer it, in five years 75% of respondents expect the government will be largely or fully responsible for AI governance. More than half (53%) are concerned government regulation will stifle innovation.

Successful integration will be key to hyper-automation: More than half (52%) of respondents said the COVID-19 pandemic has forced them to identify more opportunities to infuse automation into their businesses; particularly in the areas of workflow and case management. The study also found that 61% of respondents expect adoption of workflow and case management automation to increase dramatically over the next five years. A comparable number (64%) see this same automation trend playing out in supply and distribution chains over in the same timeframe.

For automation to become a reality, 58% of respondents said legacy system integration will be critical. Forty percent cited compatibility with third-party technologies as their biggest concern. 

Extended reality (XR) will add new dimensions to customer experiences: Even though XR is an emerging consumer technology trend, only 35% of business leaders said it is having any impact at all on their businesses today. Five years from now, 30% of respondents said XR will become essential to customer engagement, while 52% believe XR will eventually become a competitive differentiator.

Distributed cloud and extended edge could maximize application effectiveness: Remote and mobile work trends have made cloud a high priority for 73% of respondents. And more than half (51%) said providing users with mobile and remote functionality will drive extended edge technology adoption. 

To achieve its full potential, 41% of respondents said AI, automation, and machine learning need to mature as technologies. Today, only 22% rated their distributed cloud technology as intelligent or mature, while 18% said the same of extended edge technology.

Methodology 

iResearch surveyed 1,350 C-level executives across seven different industries in 12 countries. Respondents work in the areas of customer service, IT, marketing, and operations, and represent companies from Asian-Pacific (APAC), Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), and the Americas. 

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