I have seen the future in IT.

Due to some anomaly with the space-time continuum, I was sent to the future! I saw some key upcoming disruptions and was sent back to warn you all, so we can prepare for these disruptions now, before its too late. Oh, while I was there, I accidentally killed someone called Sarah Conner, hope that does not bite us in the @$$ later!

Everything that we find normal is GONE, and we better adapt or die!  The Microsoft Tech Summit I recently attended confirmed a few big changes in the not-so-far future that we better prepare for NOW.

1. The Intranet is no more.

Do you still use your intranet?  No, like really use it?  The intranet was a platform for collaboration, but these days, people use it to access their leave form, expense claim form, maybe the corporate telephone directory, see pics from the corporate function or to see the canteens menu and, well, that's about it.  We don't use it for collaborating, people are now collaborating via tools like MS Teams.

What makes tools like MS Teams good, is well, its just like SharePoint (YES! that's a good thing!).  what  I mean to say is that it is also a development platform.  So, while its a great starting point for forming communication channels within teams, you can also add some customisation and do just about anything.  You can develop some bots to automate you leave application and expense claim on a chat-based platform that feels more natural to your users.  It has great integration support with a large host of applications, it even has connectors that allows applications to send notifications directly to your channel with very useful, customisable card style views.

MS Teams now gives you whatever you wanted in the intranet in an interface that is intuitive and natural.   

The Intranet  had a good run but we have now outgrown it.  It will take a while for Corporate Communication to realize this, so this change will start off slow, but once the penny drops, Intranets will be like Netscape. 

2. Azure Functions, the missing link to everything! 

The SharePoint Framework is Microsoft s way of allowing us to customise SharePoint, its great and its getting better everyday.  But its a client side solution and there are things that we just wont be able to be via the framework alone.  

But wait, the framework can now call Azure Functions, and this baby is not as restrictive as the SharePoint Framework.  Azure Functions are serverless. "functions as a service" solutions that can work in the language of your choice, you can run it via triggers or webhooks and its a great solution for complex tasks like automation, enforcing governance, site provisioning or integration that just would have been impossible, or at least, very difficult otherwise. 

So Azure Functions will soon be known as the missing link that everyone didn't know, they always wanted. 

3. Skynet is becoming self-aware

AI is getting good, really good, scary good!  Its now easy to use and its a great value add that worth considering.  

While AI alone isn't that impressive.  IoT is betting big, this means that data collection of things that was impossible to collect data on before and now coming in fast. AI is at its best when it has lots of data to work with,  and Big-data is becoming even bigger-data!

This type of data leads to advanced analytics and is a great component of block-chain applications.  In fact, the environment is now perfect for decentralised applications to flourish and it wont take long for us to apply block-chain tech to applications that are now dependent on centralised organisations or teams like banks, lawyers, HR, accountants, government, etc.  It could be used to enforce contracts, pay salaries, calculate BEE status, manage benefits or training.  Its provides a trusted transactions that needs no central control.   

We will soon create token systems for things of value like diversity in company, water consumption, carbon footprint.  Block-chain tech, together with data collected from IoT, will allocate tokens when warranted which can be used to confirm certain characteristics without the need of central organisations to confirm.  

In the not-too-far future, all information will be centralised and contextualised and personalised and available in an intuitive and natural way.  We dont look for stuff anymore, we just get the right stuff, when we need it most.  

Money will lose its value as we find trad-able "value" in other things.  And people will lose jobs once Blockchain's "smart contracts" take over as the preferred way to handle tasks by being transparent and reliable.  

So the world is changing, if you are still doing things the way it was done 3 years ago, then you are doing things the old way and if you don't adapt now, it might be too late. 


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