McKinsey Offers 2008 Tech-Enabled Business Predictions

Loraine Lawson

Nothing, but nothing, is going on this week. So, it must be time for year-end technology predictions.

Most of these predictions are pretty obvious. I mean, predicting Web 2.0 will be a blazing hot technology in 2008 is about as risky as saying the new year will bring more troubled times for Britney Spears.

That's right: I'm looking at you, Computerworld. (Actually, I'm being a wee bit unfair. The article is about technologies IT should embrace in 2008 to get ahead. It's dead-on with the list -- integration, 2.0, unified communications -- but you won't find any surprises there, except possibly the term "ideation.")

I compulsively read these articles, and I've written a few, so I'm not judging. Well, OK, yes: I am judging, but my judgment comes from a place of sympathy and hypocrisy.

So without disclaimer, I would like to recommend this predictive piece, "Eight business technology trends to watch," published on, but written by McKinsey Quarterly.

There are three things I really like about this piece:

  1. It actually looks ahead, instead of just rehashing trends we already know will be big in 2008 because they were big in 2007.
  2. It doesn't focus on technology trends, but on emerging business trends made possible by recent technological innovations.
  3. The articles uses real, albeit unusual, examples of ways organizations have deployed technology or leveraged changes in technology to transform the way they do business.

The best example is distributed co-creation. The example given is Loncin, a Chinese motorcycle manufacturer. Loncin issues broad specifications for products, but lets its suppliers work out the details with one another. This actually works better and reduces costs more than the traditional approach. And it's made possible, the article notes, by open-standards- based computing.


There's no need to rush to embrace Web 2.0 just because everybody else does. New technologies will either work for your company or they won't -- and predictions of what's big in the coming year wont' change that.


Its more useful to consider how that new technology will be applied to create innovative business practices. And that's exactly what this excellent article offers.

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