There is a sea change afoot concerning how the C-suite executive will need to position its firm for the acquisition and adoption of emerging technology. Nicolás Jodal, co-Founder and CEO of GeneXus, believes that companies no longer have the luxury of waiting to see which emerging technologies mature to the point of widespread implementation, before embracing them. Instead, businesses need to make preparations for the deployment of these technologies, as they are emerging. Also, rather than being able to merely focus all resources on a single technology, the new norm is, and will continue to be, to prepare for the integration of several new technologies, simultaneously, within an ecosystem.
Speaking directly to how and why a business might now, as opposed to previously, prepare for eventual maturing of an emerging technology, Mr. Jodal points to artificial intelligence (AI).
”Up until now, we [companies] stored only the data we knew that we would need in the future, but from now on, we need to collect data without really knowing how or even if it may be needed at future point”. – Nicolas Jodal, CEO,GeneXus
He points out that this is because AI utilizes neural networks and algorithms, many developed by the machine itself through deep learning, that are far more sophisticated than what man has been capable of – and many of these algorithms and neural networks, developed by the machine itself, are so sophisticated that not even the developers who deployed them understand how the deep learning systems created these algorithms and networks. To create these neural networks and algorithms, the machines need data – lots of it – so that it can pick through and find the most obscure relations.
Thankfully, Mr. Jodal notes, GeneXus customers don’t need to become engineers or data scientists to learn how exactly AI works, they just need to know that it works. “The good news is that, in the GeneXus community, we don’t need to know about deep learning or neural networks in order to use this algorithm,” says Mr. Jodal. This is owed to GeneXus, a low-coding integrated development environment (IDE), developing algorithms and neural networks autonomously, after the user has merely specified business processing rules in natural language, and provided access to the reams of data the system needs.
That GeneXus is a low-coding solution, with a very shallow learning curve, makes it an ideal fit for fulfilling the need of businesses to commit to intense exploration and development of multiple technologies, before they fully emerge/mature. And as Nicolas says, “Things change too fast so we have to learn by doing”, which becomes much easier to do when you can learn how to leverage a technology for an organization, without learning the most tedious aspects of the technology itself.
Along with AI, Jodal believes that management should be aggressively preparing their operations for the inevitable, widespread adoption of blockchain. He contends that from a business perspective, the overwhelming focus has been on the power of a decentralized ledger, which cannot be altered, and how that instills trust that previously was attained through an independent, third-party in a transaction. That capability has garnered the most press, but from a development perspective, the real power is the ability to merge and encapsulate disparate data formats in a single, clean and usable blockchain. Anybody who has ever imported data from one system to another knows that it often requires a good bit of scrubbing, if it can even be merged/imported at all. With blockchain, all marries nicely, and that will avail untold possibilities. Here again, Jodal notes that GeneXus is an ideal tool for blockchain, as working with multiple, disparate file formats, platforms and applications has been a hallmark of GeneXus.
The internet of things (IoT) is the third technology that Jodal believes managers should be preparing their staff to adopt. He noted that this has progressed further than the other two technologies, with sensors everywhere, capturing all manner of data, and will continue to become even more prevalent. However, what has been missing in this domain, Jodal believes, has been the capacity for autonomous behavior by connected sensors/devices. Until now, most have merely fed data to a user, who then predicates a decision based on that input. With IoT, devices now take action based on input of sensors. (The Dos and Don’ts of Deploying Enterprise IoT)
For an example that almost can identify with, Mr. Jodal said this about autonomous vehicles: “Previously, drivers decided to brake or accelerate, depending upon reading from speedometers or visually observed conditions, routes were determined by the operator based on maps and general knowledge of area. Now, it is the machine that does all of that and vehicles are merely the first of many “things” that will behave in this manner.” This need for integration of multiple, disparate sensors is ideal for GeneXus, as Jodal points out again that it falls right in their wheelhouse, offering a low-code solution to accommodate the varying equipment and platforms. (The Digital Journey: How to Implement and Survive a Digital Strategy)
Mr. Jodal is convinced that executives who hope to lead the market in their respective realms, will need to master all of these technologies, before they become mainstream and demanded by customers, as it will be too late, at that point. One philosophical example he uses for inspiration is that of the oxygen masks in airliners. As he says, “Even with his beloved son sitting next to him, if those masks dropped, I must first affix my own mask, before attempting to help my young son with his, or I may pass out before I can get my own mask or maybe my son’s mask on.”
Managers must do the same with these technologies — their organization’s employees have to become confident using these technologies before they can truly (and with positive results) engage their customers with them.
To learn more about how executives and IT managers can lead digital transformation efforts strategically, join us in Dallas, May 31, where Mr. Jodal and the entire GeneXus executive team will be hosting a full day symposium on this topic. Get more info and RSVP to attend below.