The Road to Digital

On March 16, Sand Hill East hosted a select group of financial and technology executives at the Barclay Innovation Center in NYC for networking and a provacative presentation about the role key megatrends will play in the digital transformation of businesses. At the event, Andy Brown, CEO of Sand Hill East, presented an overview of his take on Technology Megatrends: The Road to Digital. At the core of Andy’s delivery was a sense of urgency for industries and leaders to take note of the reality and relevance of ten key technology trends to businesses of all types. These trends are changing everything, and most certainly will change the competitive landscape for nearly every industry in some way in the future.

Tech Megatrends & Digital Transformation

  • Software wins “All the World’s an App”
  • Mobile wins “Always Connected”
  • The 5Ws “Analytic Data Trails”
  • Social wins “Always Informed”
  • My Device My Life “Wearing the brand”
  • Skills-as-a-Service “Virtualize Expertise”
  • Integration “Plug‘n’Play, not Plug‘n’Pray”
  • Security “Encrypt to Survive”

For each trend Andy illustrated innovation and investment underway in the form of examples including highlights of some of the startup innovation at play as well as the investments of players like Google, Amazon, Apple and others. Citing Clayton Christensen’s seminal work ‘The Innovators Dilemma’ Andy talked about how every industry has a ‘digital catalyst’ – an innovator that through some unique technology, process or use of data has (Uber) or is in the process of (Tesla) transforming an industry. These players start out often being seen as a passing trend or science experiment by the established ‘core’ of their industry is, but then they emerge with something that is not only unique in their own market, but potentially disruptive and highly valuable across a much broader competitive landscape. Often, by the time the established market leaders fully understand the threat, it is usually far too late for them to catch up. The upside is new services, better processes and more efficient execution. On the down side markets are often disrupted, skillsets commoditized or rendered unnecessary, and jobs are lost.

Andy also spent some time talking about how quantum computing recently made a number of significant advances. Specifically, Google and NASA Ames’ D-Wave is 100 million times faster than anything today. This means you could complete in seconds what would take thousands of years via digital compute. This level of innovation, combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning leave few limits to what could suddenly be managed by computers . Big investors in the space include Amazon, Google, NASA and IBM.
In closing, he focused on both the innovation and the work yet to be done in the area of security. He emphasized that perimeter defense is dead, and the urgency to focus on protecting the data being paramount. “Encrypt to survive,” was his clear recommendation.

The Power Beyond the Trends

The real power of the trends, however, is the cumulative impact of these changes as a whole and how innovative businesses will apply them to survive and thrive in their industries. As these forces increase and combine we will see market and societal changes far greater than those wrought by either the industrial revolution or the advent of the internet.

There are plans to have a similar session this summer in San Francisco and possibly Chicago. If you are interested in hearing about the future sessions, subscribe to our blog here where updates will be shared.