The Future is Here

  • Article

HSBC UK’s Head of Technology Sector, Roland Emmans, explains why Technology change and what is dubbed the 4th industrial revolution matters to every business.

Today’s fast paced technology landscape, where we are seeing so many revolutionary developments such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation technologies and wider disruption from new entrants, can seem daunting to businesses. Certainly, the sheer pace of change is a source of anxiety and concern for many of our clients. However, huge opportunities are arising from an unprecedented change in society and technology.

I meet with over 250 tech companies in any given year, from fast growth start-ups to some of the UK’s largest multinational tech firms. Consistent priorities centre around talent management and retention, and harnessing AI and data to better manage your business or understand your customer needs. The ability to innovate and disrupt your own business model is also high on the agenda.

How should CEOs respond to the disruption and all its implications for P&L, staffing, recruitment – and ultimately their growth strategy – while operating their business today?

Events, like the dedicated tech sector conference we held in London this October, also help to provide a forum for our client companies, where they can voice concerns or offer their take on the future.

In truth, the future is already here. The ‘4th industrial revolution’, as many are calling it, is turning data into the new oil. The global possibilities of a hyper-connected world – where billions of people have instant access to knowledge and are connected by mobile devices with unprecedented processing power – are unlimited. On top of these developments are the emerging technologies and possibilities of AI, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles and 3D printing, amongst others.

These changes are happening, here and now, and they are transforming our clients’ businesses, their customers, their markets and their staff. The biggest challenge – and choice – is how we respond to these changes. Change is not a new thing – it is the pace and breadth of change that is the most marked difference of today.

Wired to be creative

This challenge requires both creative solutions and lateral thinking of the kind that saw Henry Ford’s invention of the automotive assembly line. We can easily see how the car dramatically changed the lives of those who were distracted by their own quest for faster horses, rather than seizing the opportunity of a horseless carriage.

But tapping into this sort of creativity is a tall order for CEOs who are busily concerned with what is happening at the coalface of day-to-day operations. Leading thinkers such as Nick Jankel make the case for nurturing our natural emotional state; one that provides time and space to focus on how to adapt to the opportunities presented by AI, automation and disruptive business models.

It is ultimately of real benefit for business owners – and their teams – to find that time to create imaginative solutions that will advance their growth strategy or afford fresh perspectives. Ask the three youngest members in your firm the three things they would change, you may be surprised with what they say.

Tech is democratising society

Decisions being made in the boardroom are one thing – yet the wider transformation happening outside our clients’ premises is in itself fundamentally changing the way we live and work. The empowering technology of a smartphone now gives a teenager in Africa access to a global resource of education, entertainment and disruptive entrepreneurial opportunity. No wonder, then, that the average lifespan of a US firm on the S&P 500 has plummeted over the last four decades – now forecast to be only 12 years by 2027.1

We are here to help

I am acutely aware that the life of a CEO can be a lonely one. We want to help to facilitate an environment where you, as business owners, can benefit from a healthy collision of thoughts as you approach the future.

Taking the time to slow down and reflect can sound somewhat of a cliché, but all the evidence suggests that developing a different way of thinking is good for business. We would encourage you to be proactive rather than fearful, as you consider the inputs required to achieve a different outcome.

Do get in touch and let us know how we can help you embrace technology for the future. Whatever your challenges, it’s happening now and the support is there.

Contact us

How can we help you today?