Internet of Things, Computing Everywhere, Tech Security Dominate 2015 Trends

By Aliah D. Wright Jan 20, 2015
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Shrewd c​​​hief information officers this year will be considering how to monetize the Internet of Things, harness “big data,” plan strategic network investments, better manage employees who compute from everywhere, and increase safeguards on data, according to varying 2015 technology trends reports analyzed by SHRM Online.

Sifting through predictions from Forbes, Deloitte, Gartner, Verizon and other sources, SHRM Online discovered that many trend reports for 2015 mirrored each other. For example, in What's in Store for HR in 2015? a trends piece written for HR Magazine by Josh Bersin, the principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, Bersin predicted companies will be taking advantage of new tools in HR technology. Those tools will address key HR concerns such as integrated network recruiting, social recognition tactics and candidate relationship management.

In a blog post, Jeremy Ames, founder of Hive Tech HR and a member of the Society for Human Resource Management’s Technology and HR Management Special Expertise Panel, wrote that “companies will ask themselves ... Which of our systems have become archaic while we watch our competitors gain an advantage? What trends of the past two years have we observed but not reacted to?”

Ames said smart companies will shift their attention from what they don’t have to “focus on what they can be doing better.” If they can, “there is a good chance they’ll create the processes and find the tools to make it happen.”

Here’s a roundup of the top five predictions for HR technology.

  • Computing Is About to Be Literally Everywhere.

    By 2018, Cisco predicts, 95 percent of people worldwide will connect to the Internet from a smart device. Information technology and research company Gartner states that companies in 2015 will see “an increased emphasis on serving the needs of the mobile user in diverse contexts and environments, as opposed to focusing on devices alone.”

    “Phones and wearable devices are now part of an expanded computing environment that includes such things as consumer electronics and connected screens in the workplace and public space,” said Gartner vice president David Cearley in announcing Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015 in a press release. “Increasingly, it’s the overall environment that will need to adapt to the requirements of the mobile user. This will continue to raise significant management challenges for IT organizations as they lose control of user endpoint devices.”

    Companies will also need to pay attention to whether their websites are mobile-friendly and ifthey’re keeping up with their employees’ expectations of new technology in the workplace.

    “On the face of it, new technology sounds like a good idea,” Tim Payne, a partner in KPMG’s People Powered Performance Team, told Forbes magazine, “but the challenge will be whether organizations can adopt new technologies quickly enough to satisfy employee need whilst ensuring everyone is able to get the most out of it. Failure to do so may create conflict in the workplace with some people feeling empowered and others left behind.”

  • The Internet of Everything Is Gaining Momentum.

    Watches don’t just reveal the time anymore. Many calculate the wearer’s heart rate, relay text messages from phones and can contain tons of other information. Google Glass will change how people interact with the world, finding answers to questions or relaying information in real time through the Internet—and these are just two examples of the Internet of Things (IoT).

    In 2015, Verizon predicted in its Enterprise Technology Trends for 2015 report, adoption of technologies and services related to the IoT will increase, particularly within the small and medium business markets, and in larger organizations that were not early adopters.

    Because companies will need to develop policies that address how employees interact with work-related information that can be relayed by these devices, HR professionals will need to understand how this technology works—before it’s smaller than a watch or a pair of eyeglasses.

    “Right now, wearable tech is big, obvious and clunky,” Jessica Miller-Merrell, CEO of Xceptional HR and founder of Blogging4Jobs, told SHRM Online last year. “Keep in mind that in five years it will be undetectable. The best defense for an employer is one that trains and helps employees understand how to use the tech responsibly in the workplace before it’s too small for the eye to see.”

  • Predictive Analytics Will Make Sense of Big Data.

    Data—the ability to gather it, manage it and make sense of it—will continue to enhance business performance and affect how employees and employers live and behave. Using data to figure out “how products and services are being received and how assets are being used will be a key priority for the C-suite in 2015,” Verizon reported. Companies that incorporate “advanced and predictive analytics programs into their connected infrastructure will be best positioned to improve operational efficiencies, identify new revenue streams and better serve their customers in the data economy,” according to the report.

    Gartner predicts such analysis will go a step further.

    “Every app now needs to be an analytic app,” Cearley said. “Organizations need to manage how best to filter the huge amounts of data coming from the IoT, social media and wearable devices, and then deliver exactly the right information to the right person, at the right time. Analytics will become deeply, but invisibly, embedded everywhere.”

  • 3-D Printing May Bring Jobs Back to the U.S.

    Gartner predicts that the number of 3-D printers shipped across the globe will grow 98 percent in 2015. “3-D printing will reach a tipping point over the next three years, as the market for relatively low-cost 3-D printing devices continues to grow rapidly and industrial use expands significantly,” it reported. Companies that use 3-D printers to manufacture products closer to their point of consumption and acquisition will no longer need to outsource that chore. As the Harvard Business Review pointed out, companies may very well need to prepare to bring jobs that have moved east to China back west to these shores. And HR may be tasked with leading the way.

    Once businesses decide to bring those jobs back, it will be up to talent acquisition teams to source and recruit to meet the demand of 3-D manufacturing, Ames told SHRM Online in an interview. “Where those [employees] come from would depend on the skill sets required, but I’m thinking we have enough industries that have suffered in recent years, as well as graduates that need jobs, that [HR] will be able to come up with the resources.”

  • Network Reliability and Innovation Are Now Key to Business Success.

    “The growing demands of data, cloud, video and mobile solutions require enterprise networks to become more agile and scalable, without compromising performance,” Verizon stated. Allied Telesis, a Japanese-based telecommunications company, agreed. In a news release, the company said that “security solutions will become more heavily integrated to guarantee the security of data and the privacy of users across the entire infrastructure” in 2015.

  • The Fight against Cybercrime Will Intensify.

    Speaking of security, it seemed as if there was a data breach almost every other week in 2014. In its trends report, Verizon stated that, in part, the conundrum surrounding how to fight cybercrime is directly correlated to the proliferation of devices, an increasingly complex threat landscape, extended computing environments, and machine-to-machine connections.

    “A holistic, integrated, multilayer security strategy will be critical for mitigating risk and establishing trust between devices, networks, people and systems. But what will be even more important is the adoption of a proactive risk-management strategy aimed at detecting crimes—quickly and efficiently—using advanced big data analytics. This will be a make or break proposition for enterprises safeguarding their data in the coming year.”

    Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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