CIO.com recently interviewed Wrike Founder and CEO, Andrew Filev, on the nine forces shaping the future of IT. The article identifies automation, collaboration, and agility as three of those forces -- and they're the very forces that inform and power our work here at Wrike.

But what exactly is changing in the current landscape -- not just in information technology, but across every industry? And what factors are already at play today that will influence how business gets done in the future?

Current Trends Affecting Work

The Growth of Cloud Services and SaaS

The growth of cloud services is one trend that's impossible to ignore. Gartner says the cloud services market will grow by 18% in 2017 to almost $250 billion, and SaaS (Software as a Service) applications make up a sizable part of that.

SaaS makes IT lives a little easier in some ways, but also presents new challenges. On one hand, it's easier and costs less to deploy than on-premise solutions, and it's also much easier for a business to scale the deployment as the organization grows. But IT has to find a balance with SaaS and determine how to empower employees without losing control of intellectual property and other data.

The Boom in Remote and Mobile Work

Another benefit of SaaS is the ease with which it accommodates remote work and mobile work, which are two huge factors defining work right now. These factors are leading many IT leaders to think not only in terms of cost and security, but also in terms of mobility when procuring and deploying new solutions for workers.

The Widespread Use of BYOA

BYOA (AKA Bring Your Own App /Bring Your Own Access) is another trend that IT has been facing since the rise and ubiquity of smart mobile devices.

In essence, BYOA is about workers moving away from typical corporate IT stacks and instead choosing their own array of apps, based on more efficient user experiences, functionalities, and the promise of synchronization across devices. And this all occurs without the consent of IT.

BYOA is now the norm for most functions within a business, and this is actually essential for a few competitive reasons: in MarTech alone, there are now 5,381 solutions, and BYOA lets teams field-test new technology on a small scale and deploy further only when it drives adoption and results.

Like anything, it has its good points. One being: mobile devices increase worker productivity and enable quick collaboration in ways that were once considered science fiction. On the other hand though, the ways that workers collaborate are not always optimized for speed or security.

A keen IT professional is someone who can recognize the opportunity to scale these solutions across a larger business so that these apps can increase worker productivity while complying with every security measure in place for the enterprise.

 

The Popularity of Automation

And finally, the big trend that has us all talking chatbots and self-driving cars.

Automation has a huge opportunity to improve IT and business in general. Its power lies in the ability to improve the repeatability and just as importantly, the predictability of work.

McKinsey estimates that for 60% of occupations, 30% of the tasks are "automatable" and 45% of those tasks can be automated using technologies already available today. Automating these tasks will allow workers to shift their efforts towards work that is more strategic, more cognitively engaging, and drives a higher ROI.

How Automation and Wrike Benefit AirBnB

A great example of automation increasing the capacity of a team to handle previously unmanageable volumes of work, is our customer AirBnB, who developed a new product called Trip Experiences.

For each of the hundreds of Experiences that AirBnB developed, there exists a templated, semi-repeatable process that must be followed, which includes everything from signing the host to writing copy, developing a landing page, and even producing a video to promote the Experience. The process is the same for each task, even if the content for each is unique.

Previously, the team used a massive spreadsheet to manage the process, but they soon discovered how impossible it was to make the system work at scale. This led marketing leaders and IT leaders to team up and search for a solution. And their search led them to Wrike, which allowed them to increase capacity and speed while reducing cost.

With automation, they can now trigger new tasks and automatically duplicate timelines corresponding with start dates, and even automate updates from different contributors. It has made work easier for everyone on the project.

As our CEO said in the CIO article:

Automation can produce more visibility, and faster communications. Together with automation, AI and work management are opening doors for improved processes within companies.

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