INSIGHT: Microsoft NZ outlines 2040 vision for Kiwi businesses

Microsoft New Zealand National Technology Officer Russell Craig offers his views on what Kiwi businesses will look like in 2040…

With all the amazing technology that’s been developed over the past century, we’ve still not managed to invent a crystal ball to see what the business world will look like in 25 years’ time.

If we did, I expect it would become the bestselling gadget of all time.

Still, three dramatic technological shifts have occurred in the last couple of years which – if their global surge is anything to go by – provide us with a clear window on what the future of business may look like.

These are:

The way that people use technology has evolved

Mobile and touch devices are becoming the norm for employees, rather than desktop computers.

As we continue to pursue lives with greater connectedness and mobility across multiple screens and devices, there will be an equal sea-change in understanding of our workplaces as flexible entities.

Office “locations” may become a thing of the past, as telecommuting truly comes into its own.

The overwhelming shift in the business world into the cloud

No longer are we dependent solely on local hardware capability for storage or compute power, but can utilise the power of the cloud.

This will precipitate a business environment where it is increasingly easy to do business on a global scale.

Equally, doing business in such an “always on, always connected” world will present certain challenges, but also many new opportunities, both at home and abroad.

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The 3D printing revolution

Although still in its early development stages, this new technology will redefined how we manufacture and distribute goods.

As the technology continues to improve to the point where we can print a component instead of ordering one made elsewhere, the focus for many businesses will become exporting IP, rather than physical goods.

Of course, this will also have a significant impact on our current manufacturing industries, and the jobs that currently exist in those sectors may not in 25 years.

NZ in 2040…

For New Zealand business, these shifts in technology will converge with shifts in population.

Forecasts suggest that by 2040, half the population of New Zealand will be located in Auckland, and even more connected than we are now, as the “internet of everything” continues to advance.

Similarly, indications now are that New Zealand’s Asian population will continue to increase significantly.

This will parallel with greater trade engagement with our neighbouring Asian countries, even at the SME level, as the cloud continues to break down old paradigms of compute capability across business sectors.

Meanwhile, markets like Africa will be opening up even more as economic growth expands.

There’s no doubt that such dramatic change will be incredibly disruptive.

However, New Zealanders are without doubt some of the smartest, most connected citizens on the planet.

As a people we are true competitors on a global scale, frequently punching above our weight in both productivity and innovation.

For those Kiwi businesses that can embrace the technological shifts towards a flexible, mobile workforce, empowered by cloud solutions with devices to enable them to work better and faster, the future of business in New Zealand is certainly bright.

By Russell Craig - National Technology Officer, Microsoft New Zealand